RAS President gave an interview to the TV channel Rossiya 24 at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum. Amongst other things, he spoke of regional governors’ contribution to the development of science, lessons learned from the pandemic, and practical application of science.

“We communicate with governors and discuss regions’ science and innovation development issues. I believe our regional policies must use a science and innovations ranking for regions, not just to be able to say that one region has become innovative while another one has not and never will. What’s important is the dynamics. We need to see how this rating works to advance the regions. Recently, we’ve been using various platforms, including the Federation Council, to discuss if we should think of the future and include science and innovations development as one of the KPIs for governors. None of the 20 KPIs currently used to assess governors’ performance mention the word science. It’s just not there. But if we want to build a sci-tech future for our country, we need something like that. Not just in general, on the federal level, but also as an incentive for regions. You know how strong the governors’ role is in regions. Yes, we can say that universities are controlled by federal authorities while businesses are independent, but nothing important in regions is done without the governors..,” Aleksandr Sergeev says.

On lessons from the pandemic: “With regards to lessons, a very important lesson from the scientific viewpoint and in general, in terms of the attitude of society and authorities to science, is that we managed to respond so fast because we had had a scientific, fundamental groundwork that allowed practical scientists to find a solution quickly. We say that we had all those platforms, which we used to create the vaccines. We knew how to work with them. Once the genome of the coronavirus was decoded – we got that information as early as January last year – it became clear which platforms could be used for such practical application. And it did work out. But what if we and the world had not been well prepared for this entirely new threat? That might has happended...So, the first lesson coming from that is: there has to be high-level groundwork. This groundwork is fundamental science”