The meeting of Dmitry Medvedev with President of NRC "Kurchatov Institute" Mikhail Kovalchuk

Dmitry Medvedev: Mr. Kovalchuk, I signed an Order of the Government (link in Russian) to fulfill the international obligations of our country regarding participation in the Convention on the construction of the European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility to make a target contribution in the relevant parameters. I mean your participation in this project for the period from 2018 to 2022. The fund allocation with a breakdown by year is made in the budget. I hope this will contribute to the solution of important scientific problems, the participation of NRC "Kurchatov Institute" in this project and the achievement of international goals that have been set for the project.

Mikhail Kovalchuk: This is a landmark action, because we have become part of the international landscape in accordance with the decision of the Government. We became full-scale partners at XFEL European X-ray Free Electron Laser, ESRF European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, FAIR Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Europe GmbH, ITER International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in Southern France.

Dmitry Medvedev: It is actually important that we are not considered as some kind of parasites. This is full-scale participation.

Mikhail Kovalchuk: In Soviet times, we built, invested a lot of money in a capital business, and the benefits were not derived from this. Now in the XFEL project we are the largest partners, as our intellectual contribution is there. The whole world has implemented an idea that was invented by Russian scientists. Our financial contribution now is the second after Germany. We are co-owners of this facility. You have created a full opportunity to conduct research, to obtain results.

Dmitry Medvedev: Very well, we will continue to try to stimulate this kind of activity so that our country and its leading research centers fully participate in the most serious international scientific projects. 

Mikhail Kovalchuk: When we entered into these projects, we had a not very favorable background. Then a lot of people said: why invest money there? But then we had some kind of lull here, and there we were in demand and, first, it showed how strong we are at the world level. And secondly, we, together with the world community, have created the best facilities that now exists in the world. And since we legally possess this - the intellectual property rights belong to us, - today the Government, the President has begun a program to build a network of megascience facilities near Moscow, in Novosibirsk. First, we carried out R&D abroad for our own money and for the money of the world community, and now, together with the world, we have come here, roughly speaking, with drawings already.

Dmitry Medvedev: This is very good, especially since you and I understand perfectly well: science has no boundaries, there is no point in closing. And if in relation to commercial products, goods we need to focus on import substitution, then in science import the substitution is a controversial story, because you just need to absorb all the achievements, all scientific ideas that exist, and go on some breakthrough solutions that will serve for humanity, our country, our people. Therefore, let us continue to build our work in this direction.

Mikhail Kovalchuk: In this regard, I want to say about genetics. Integrating into the world we return back enriched, together with the world, creating these facilities now. This is necessary in order to develop fundamentally new technologies. These are breakthroughs for decades, a key challenge, and the basis for this is genetics, new genetic technologies. This is a new agriculture and a new medicine, and a new microbiological industry. And in this sense, I think, all this is now taking shape - after you have signed all this - into a coherent picture.

Dmitry Medvedev: Our country has certain debts to genetics from a certain period - it is still well remembered by all. Therefore, let us develop this direction too.

Source (in Russian):