Stefan Duerr has delivered a speech at the meeting on establishment of a scientific and educational centre (SEC) in Voronezh oblast. Tatiana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation for Social Policy, chaired the meeting held in the capital of the Black Soil Region.
In his May decree, Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, outlined the plans for creation of a network comprising 15 scientific and educational centres in the country. Concerted efforts of universities and businesses are meant to be the basis for these institutions. Their establishment is one of the objectives of the national project ‘Science’. Today, Voronezh oblast is laying the groundwork for its participation in a competition for the creation of such a centre in 2020.
‘The important thing about the world-class scientific and educational centres is not only the fact that their emergence is prompted by a particular regional entity, but that the main focus of the initiative is the investment from businesses which benefits the regional economy’, says Tatiana Golikova. ‘It is the synergy of the opportunities opened up by science and education and the response businesses have to them. However, it is a well-known fact, that private companies are unwilling to invest money if it does not pay off. High motivation, profit generation, further commercialisation and setting up of production facilities are the key factors to get them on board. For this reason, the products and the areas of business you will be choosing before the competition is announced should be thoroughly evaluated.’
Mikhail Kotyukov, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, said that the issues of integration of science, education and industrial production were discussed citing the example of establishing one of the five agrobiotechnoparks under the national project in Voronezh oblast. He pointed out the enormous potential developed by the oblast authorities. However, in some aspects, agricultural industry has greater perspectives than scientific and educational systems. Nevertheless, successes of the Voronezh universities cannot be overlooked.
‘On the one hand, enterprises have some traditional bonds with agricultural institutions and universities. On the other hand, there is definitely considerable room for growth in terms of technologies, provided that the interaction between technical universities and conventional ones is organised for development of agro-biotechnologies at the highest level’, says Mikhail Kotyukov.
Stefan Duerr, President of EkoNiva Group, mentioned in his speech that the company has had a training programme in place for some time now.
‘The programme comprises interaction with higher educational institutions and vocational educational institutions, scholarship programme, practical training — over 1000 students have done it in 2019’, says Stefan Duerr. ‘Both students and company employees are taught in the company’s own training centre. Our specialists regularly advance their professional skills. Our programmes — Academy of Livestock Farming and Academy of Agronomy — are widely known in the domestic agricultural sector. This educational activity produces tangible results: 275 young specialists have been employed by the holding over a span of two years — 2018 and 2019’.
He emphasised that EkoNiva has used scientifically-driven production practices almost from the very beginning. In particular, the company has the latest software and innovative machinery at its disposal. It invests money in specialised studies and cooperates with research institutes.
President of EkoNiva Holding brought into focus the paramount importance of the attention the government pays to the issues of integration between science, education and industry and expressed his appreciation to Tatiana Golikova and Mikhail Kotyukov for organising a meeting on this subject.
Stefan Duerr pointed out that it is essential for agricultural science to actively interact with the enterprises operating in the relevant economic sector.
‘Agriculture in Russia has yet to catch up with the pace of the world’s leading countries in the field,’ says Stefan Duerr. ‘The reason behind it is that it mostly ‘lives in a world of its own’. At the same time, there are numerous scientific developments, including high-tech ones prepared by technical institutes or designed in research and development enterprises, which help us a lot in our job’.
Efficient cooperation between science and business will trigger a significant breakthrough in the industry and let the Russian agricultural science take the lead. Being number one in the space industry today, the country can become the leader in agriculture too.
Above all else, the President of EkoNiva Group put forward a promising framework for the participation of the agricultural holding in public-private partnerships in Voronezh oblast.
By Yana RYABINSKAYA