Статьи журнала "Современное образование"

Aliya Sembayeva | Keep going. Science Foundation opens new opportunities

An interview with Aliya Sembayeva, the Vice Chairman of the Board of the JSC “Science Foundation”
The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan carries out systematic work on achieving the status of a scientific and technological player in the foreign policy arena, which requires a comprehensive strategic initiative based on the development of innovation, science and technology. And an important role of the Science Foundation is taken into account in the promotion of Kazakhstan's scientific and scientific-technical achievements, which last year was officially established by the National Coordination Center of the European Union Framework Programs on Science and Innovation in Kazakhstan. Aliya SEMBAEVA, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Science Foundation, tells us about how this work is carried out.

Aliya Muratovna, the Science Foundation has been determined as a coordinator of European programs in our country. It also relates to the “Horizon Europe” program. What opportunities does it open for Kazakhstan’s scientists?

– Yes, indeed, since April 2023, the Science Foundation has been designated as the National Focal Point for the Horizon Europe program in Kazakhstan. This program is a public order for research and innovation projects from the European Commission, covering a wide range of fields in research and innovation activities. The total budget for the 2021-2027 program is about 100 billion euros. Executors of orders can be both organizations within the European Union countries and associated countries, as well as non-associated countries such as Kazakhstan.
The participation in this program enables not only to attract international funding, but also to become a co-developer of advanced technologies in solving global problems. The time has come to expand its horizons beyond the borders of our country and strengthen Kazakhstan's position in the international arena.
The Ministry's policy is aimed at encouraging our scientists and scientific organizations to work within international consortia.

As the experience of developed countries shows, international cooperation is an indispensable aspect of the science and innovation management system. We are also actively working on synchronizing our mechanisms with best foreign practices and programs, such as the EU Framework Programmes on Science and Innovation. The Science Foundation builds systematic work on international cooperation on projects in the field of science and innovation.

The National Focal Point aspires to strengthen its competencies by playing a key role in supporting international cooperation and partnerships in science and innovation. The next one - two years will be a pilot year to understand and build the strategy.

Last year, the Science Foundation received training from the European Union and participated in official meetings in Brussels. A number of information sessions were also organized for scientific and business organizations, partnerships were established with project coordinators in the fields of industry and infrastructure, and networking events were held for industrial and scientific organizations in the field of critical metals.

– How can universities, scientific research institutes and centers participate in the Horizon Europe program?

– The conditions for participation in the program are similar to the mechanisms funded by the government, such as grant, program-targeted, and technology commercialization grants. There are tender documents, a defined application form, and a designated process for project submission and selection.

“The Horizon Europe” program aims to support research and innovation, especially in the field of new mining and processing technologies, substitution and recycling technologies, including low-carbon technologies and processes.
In this term, universities and research institutes as drivers of knowledge should prioritize cooperation with international organizations.
This requires analyzing and selecting projects of international relevance, developing cooperation with current partners to jointly apply for international programs.

In addition, it is necessary to attract competent personnel and create conditions for them to get involved in international grants.

The program is also open to businesses, industry organizations and startups.

– In 2023, another competition for grant financing of commercialization of the results of scientific activity was held. How did the competition go, were there many applications covered by commercialization?

– The amount of governmental funding for the commercialization of new technologies is growing significantly every year. The Committee of Science under the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan held a competition for grant funding of technology commercialization for 2023-2025 between June 1 and July 10, 2023.

It is noteworthy that twice as many applications were submitted compared to the 2022-2025 competition, about 320 applications (152 applications in 2022). Undoubtedly,
this says about an increasing interest of the scientific community and business in the commercialization of scientific developments, as well as about the need of business in innovation.
The National Scientific Council selected 76 projects, signed 72 contracts, which are currently at the stage of active implementation (4 winners refused to participate in the project at the contracting stage for various reasons).

Most of the projects relates to the field of agro-industrial complex and processing of agricultural products (about 30 projects). 10 projects are about digitalization, 9 – about processing industry, 6 –about ecology, 5 - about healthcare, a few projects are about other fields.

Such projects like the production of domestic stationary batteries of increased reliability by a team of scientists from the Institute of Physics and Technology; production of carbonized coal, coal briquettes and carbon nanotube-reinforced coal sorbents by scientists of the Institute of Combustion Problems; production of domestic elite seeds of spring wheat varieties by agricultural specialists of the A. I. Baraev Scientific and Production Center for Grain Farming and many others also generate an interest.

– Which universities have submitted their applications? Are there any small private universities, or does the lack of sufficient laboratory facilities limit their participation? If there were rejections at the application level, for what reasons?

– Yes, in fact, the universities actively took part in the competition. The majority of applications were received from K. I. Satpayev Kazakh National Research Technical University (8 applications), Saken Seifullin Kazakh Agrotechnical Research University (4 applications), Kazakh National Agrarian Research University (3 applications), Almaty Technological University, Central Asian Innovation University, Sarsen Amanzholov East Kazakhstan University (2 applications each), Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, S. D. Asfendiyarov Kazakh National Medical University, D. Serikbayev East Kazakhstan Technical University, Ilyas Zhetysu University named after Zhansugurov, Abay Kazakh National Teacher Training University, Manash Kozybaev North Kazakhstan University, Khalel Dosmukhamedov University and International Engineering and Technology University in Atyrau (one application each).

As we can see, both large leading universities and private regional ones have received grants for commercialization. There are no requirements for the level of laboratory bases in the conditions of the competition. It is important to have completed research works on the results of scientific and (or) scientific-technical activities, registered in the National Center for State Scientific and Technical Expertise, and ensuring the necessary level of co-financing with the involvement of a private partner, as well as the compilation of a qualitatively processed application on the portal. So the conditions for all universities and scientific research centers, as well as other subjects of scientific and scientific-technical activity, having the appropriate accreditation, are equal.

– Which regions are leading in the number of applications?

– The leader in the number of applications is Almaty - 185 applications out of 320 (57.8%), 68 applications (21.25%) were received from Astana. The number of applications from Shymkent rose from 8 applications in the previous competition up to 15 and in Akmola region - from 4 to 9 applications.

– How do you assess the current results of the Science Foundation's activity on commercialization of scientific projects?

– According to the results of all held grant funding competitions until 2022, 140 and 152 projects were launched, 15 of them went into export. These are quite good results, considering that the contracts with these grantees did not include specific obligations to achieve a certain level of sales.

Nevertheless, we cannot be satisfied with the results we have achieved; higher indicators are desirable. Therefore, the grant agreement from 2022 onwards includes a clause in the grantee's obligations to ensure the achievement of a certain volume of marketed products or services and a 10% sales level of the grant amount at the end of the project, and in the competition announced for 2024-2026, this requirement is increased up to 15%.

– Do you think that investment in scientific projects that participate in competitions fully meets the expectations of the state, participants and the population of the country?

– I consider that
investing in the commercialization of technologies is of great importance and is an important element of the country's development. It enables not only to promote scientific research, but also to create innovations that contribute to the economic and social development of society.
Projects supported by the Science Foundation contribute to the development of Kazakhstan’s science and high-tech industries, which can significantly affect various sectors of the economy. This process also helps to create jobs, attract investment and improve public welfare. In this regard, it is important to continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of projects, to ensure transparency and openness in the process of selecting projects for funding. And work in this direction is underway.

Questions asked by

Alexander PETRUKHIN


АННОТАЦИЯ

«Ғылым қоры» АҚ Басқарма төрағасының орынбасары А. М. Сембаева қазақстандық ғылыми және ғылыми-техникалық жетістіктерді коммерцияландыру және ілгерілету бойынша қандай жұмыстар жүргізіліп жатқаны туралы, атап айтқанда, ҚР ҒЖБМ еліміздің университеттері мен ғылыми-зерттеу институттарының ғылыми жобаларын гранттық қаржыландыруға өткізетін конкурс туралы әңгімелейді. Өткен жылы Ғылым қоры ресми түрде Еуропалық одақтың Қазақстандағы Ғылым мен инновациялар жөніндегі негіздемелік бағдарламаларының, атап айтқанда «Horizon Europe» бағдарламасының ұлттық үйлестіру орталығы болып тағайындалды.
Magazine articles - Modern Education (Kazakhstan)
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