Steps Into the Fu­ture

Be­laru­sian and Rus­sian sci­en­tists and man­u­fac­tur­ers are work­ing on about 40 joint sci-tech pro­grams and projects

Economy of Belarus - - CONTENTS - Alexan­der NIKO­lAYEV

Be­laru­sian and Rus­sian sci­en­tists and man­u­fac­tur­ers are work­ing on about 40 joint sci-tech pro­grams and projects

Pay­offs Above All

The key chal­lenge to­day is to get max­i­mum pay­offs from the Union State pro­grams, em­pha­sized the Union State Coun­cil of Min­is­ters at a ses­sion in Moscow. This can be achieved by im­ple­ment­ing joint pro­grams and re-fo­cus­ing on the in­no­va­tive projects. Re­search cen­ters, en­gi­neer­ing com­pa­nies, and

Some of the pro­grams and projects have been dis­cussed at the re­cent ses­sion of the Union State Coun­cil of Min­is­ters in Moscow in au­gust. the key area of at­ten­tion was, nat­u­rally, econ­omy. of course, it is im­pos­si­ble to over­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of his­tor­i­cal, geo­graph­i­cal and other fac­tors in the in­te­gra­tion of the two states, but they can­not be com­pared to co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms that only the Union State can boast. the Be­larus-rus­sia joint ac­tion plan to mit­i­gate the im­pact of the global fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic cri­sis is a case in point. this pro­gram is cred­ited for giv­ing a pow­er­ful boost to the bi­lat­eral trade. in 2010 it to­taled $28 bil­lion, up 18.9% over 2009 when the trade shrank from $34 bil­lion to $23.4 bil­lion. While rus­sia’s ex­port to Be­larus which is dom­i­nated by en­ergy prod­ucts and raw ma­te­ri­als ex­panded by 8%, the im­port from Be­larus soared by 46.1% due to sup­plies of ma­chines, equip­ment and food­stuffs. the sup­plies of ma­chin­ery, equip­ment and ve­hi­cles rose by over 50%. how­ever, rus­sia’s in­dus­try ben­e­fited from that, too, as Be­larus’ in­dus­trial giants MAZ, Belaz, and Minsk Mo­tor Works in­creased the pur­chase of rus­sian ma­te­ri­als and com­po­nent parts.

in­dus­trial enterprises should unite their ef­forts to form a sin­gle sci-tech space in the Union State.

At present, over ten new Union State pro­grams have been pre­pared. The bulk of them are now un­der­go­ing do­mes­tic ap­proval pro­ce­dures in the two coun­tries. One of them is “Stan­dard­iza­tion SG” set to run in 2011-2014. The pro­gram en­vis­ages the for­ma­tion of an in­te­grated sys­tem to stan­dard­ize and cer­tify space­crafts and tech­nolo­gies. The rel­e­vant le­gal frame­work will be brought in com­pli­ance with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, while the or­ga­ni­za­tional frame­work will se­cure the proper main­te­nance and reg­u­la­tory con­trol over the ex­e­cu­tion of joint space projects.

The ex­perts are con­vinced that this will ad­vance joint space projects and ex­pand the ex­port of the re­lated ser­vices. Ver­i­fi­ca­tion of con­form­ity is es­sen­tial for the suc­cess­ful com­mis­sion­ing and op­er­a­tion of the Be­larus-rus­sia Earth re­mote sens­ing de­vices.

Es­ti­mates have re­vealed that the eco­nomic ben­e­fits from stan­dard­iza­tion are equal to about 1% of the coun­try’s GDP. Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the scale of the stan­dards de­vel­oped by the Union State, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of one state stan­dard will gen­er­ate nearly $1.5 mil­lion.

An­other Union State pro­gram, “Promis­ing semi­con­duc­tor het­erostruc­tures and de­vices (Pra­men)”, en­vis­ages the de­vel­op­ment and ap­pli­ca­tion of the most ad­vanced semi­con­duc­tor de­vices based on het­erostruc­tures. Semi­con­duc­tor het­erostruc­tures are the ba­sic ma­te­rial for mak­ing state-of-the-art elec­tronic de­vices. They find ex­ten­sive use in the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, power en­gi­neer­ing, mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices, medicine,

trans­port and the pro­duc­tion of spe­cial-pur­pose de­vices.

As is known, the Be­laru­sian govern­ment has ap­proved this project in June this year. It was top on the agenda of the Au­gust ses­sion of the Union State Coun­cil of Min­is­ters. How­ever, re­cent years have seen a set­back in the de­vel­op­ment of semi­con­duc­tor nano-elec­tron­ics both in Be­larus and Rus­sia be­cause of the lack of the nec­es­sary tech­nolo­gies. The pro­gram en­vis­ages the de­vel­op­ment of modern mi­crowave tran­sis­tors, lasers, and promis­ing tech­nolo­gies, which will give a pow­er­ful im­pe­tus to pro­mot­ing mi­cro­elec­tron­ics, op­tron­ics and mi­crowave elec­tron­ics. The pro­gram is ex­pected to ramp up com­pre­hen­sive co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Be­laru­sian and Rus­sian sci­en­tific or­ga­ni­za­tions in or­der to cre­ate cut­ting-edge semi­con­duct­ing so­lu­tions based on mi­crowave de­vices. The pro­gram will set a foun­da­tion for start­ing im­port-sub­sti­tut­ing pro­duc­tion, in­clud­ing joint ven­tures.

On the part of Be­larus, the prod­ucts stip­u­lated by the pro­gram will be de­signed and meant for BELOMO – Vav­ilov Minsk Me­chan­i­cal Plant, pri­vate com­pany LEMT, Pe­leng, Be­laruskali, So­lar-ls, Be­laru­sian State Univer­sity, and B.I. Stepanov Physics In­sti­tute of the National Academy of Sciences of Be­larus.

Be­larus and Rus­sia pos­sess enough po­ten­tial for the in­dus­trial and sci­en­tific in­te­gra­tion in mi­cro­elec­tron­ics. There­fore, a joint cor­po­ra­tion in this field may be­come a re­al­ity in the near fu­ture.

Be­larus and Rus­sia will pro­ceed with joint projects in su­per­com­puter tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing the SKIF-SOYUZ pro­gram. The pro­gram is aimed to de­velop and com­mer­cial­ize ser­vice-ori­ented sci­ence-in­ten­sive tech­nolo­gies based on promis­ing su­per­com­puter plat­forms. The pro­gram is de­signed for cre­ation and ex­per­i­men­tal op­er­a­tion of a high-per­for­mance in­for­ma­tion and com­put­ing space tech­nol­ogy in the Union State, and de­vel­op­ment of ex­per­i­men­tal mod­ules and units for high-per­for­mance SKIF com­put­ing sys­tems of the “fifth par­a­digm model”, the spe­cial­ists ex­plained.

The SKIF NE­DRA draft pro­gram is aimed to en­hance the en­ergy se­cu­rity of the Union State by de­vel­op­ing and utiliz­ing high ca­pac­ity in­for­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies that can be use­ful in ge­o­log­i­cal ex­plo­ration and min­ing.


Be­laru­sian and Rus­sian sci­en­tists are work­ing on a unique biotech­nol­ogy. A to­tal of Br1.5 bil­lion has been al­lo­cated for the Be­laru­sian part of the joint pro­gram in dairy in­dus­try waste pro­cess­ing. The pro­gram is de­signed to run till 2012. The In­sti­tute of Meat and Dairy In­dus­try at the Re­search Cen­ter for Food­stuffs of the National Academy of Sciences of Be­larus (NASB) is in charge of the de­vel­op­ment of re­source-sav­ing equip­ment. This is just one of many joint projects in agri­cul­ture.

As part of the pro­gram, the In­sti­tute has de­signed ad­vanced equip­ment for pro­cess­ing whey, which is now be­ing in­tro­duced into in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion. Ac­cord­ing to deputy di­rec­tor for re­search of the In­sti­tute Oleg Dy­mar, the Union State project was launched a year ago. The main pri­or­i­ties in­clude the de­vel­op­ment of new ma­chines for the pro­duc­tion of bev­er­ages and

paste­like prod­ucts based on whey, man­u­fac­ture of dry con­cen­trate milk fat and whole milk sub­sti­tutes based on it, and, most im­por­tantly, de­vel­op­ment of man­u­fac­tur­ing meth­ods of waste-free sep­a­ra­tion of raw milk. The pro­gram is car­ried out in co­op­er­a­tion with Rus­sian ex­perts.

Other joint projects in agri­cul­ture and, in par­tic­u­lar, in biotech­nol­ogy, in­clude the pro­gram Bel­ros­trans­gen-2 for 2009-2013. Ac­cord­ing to first deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Re­search Cen­ter for An­i­mal Breed­ing of the NASB Aca­demi­cian Ivan Sheiko, this pro­gram opens up a new era in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try – the use of an­i­mals-pro­duc­ers. Its goal is to de­velop tech­nolo­gies to pro­duce a new gen­er­a­tion of medicines and food­stuffs, and start up pi­lot plants. Work on the Be­laru­sian part of the pro­gram is ex­e­cuted by the biotech cen­ter at the Re­search Cen­ter for An­i­mal Breed­ing.

Lacto­fer­rin will un­doubt­edly be one of the most pop­u­lar drugs in the 21st cen­tury. For sev­eral years Be­laru­sian and Rus­sian sci­en­tists have been work­ing on this mul­ti­func­tional pro­tein that has an­ti­cancer, anti-al­ler­gic and an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties. They man­aged to breed the world’s first an­i­mal with a built-in gene of hu­man lacto­fer­rin.

Now sev­eral trans­genic goats live at the farm near Zhodino. Sci­en­tists call them “biore­ac­tors” and con­sider them al­most as sav­iors of hu­man­ity. By the way, ex­cept for a strip on the col­lar, they are no dif­fer­ent from or­di­nary lo­cal goats: they eat beets and car­rots, hay and mixed feed, and, of course, vi­ta­mins. Yet, the sci­en­tific and in­dus­trial po­ten­tial of the un­usual goats is wor­thy of a fic­tion novel. The cost of one gram of the drug reaches $2,000 to $3,000.

Hu­man lacto­fer­rin is a nat­u­ral an­tibi­otic, the max­i­mum amount of which can be found in the milk of nurs­ing moth­ers. It pro­vides an­tibac­te­rial pro­tec­tion to an in­fant who does not have its own im­mu­nity. Ma­ter­nal lacto­fer­rin sup­ports weak im­mu­nity of an in­fant. But now chil­dren of­ten grow up on ar­ti­fi­cial feed­ing and, as a re­sult, they get sick a lot. In this sit­u­a­tion, trans­genic goat milk will be the first choice for ba­bies. This prod­uct is also rec­om­mended for adults with weak­ened im­mune sys­tems. You can ex­tract pure lacto­fer­rin from it and make unique pro­tein-based oint­ments and var­i­ous kinds of drugs, in­clud­ing anti-can­cer drugs, food ad­di­tives, and even cos­met­ics.

This is a real break­through in sci­ence. One liter of “live” goat’s milk con­tains up to five grams of hu­man lacto­fer­rin. To­day a va­ri­ety of the sub­stance has al­ready been cre­ated in sev­eral coun­tries, but only in Zhodino they ob­tain high­qual­ity ac­tive pro­tein from goats. Thus, the Dutch have bred the trans­genic cows but the per­cent­age of lacto­fer­rin in their milk is very low. Amer­i­can and Ja­panese sci­en­tists have re­ceived the sub­stance from rice but the “vegetable” pro­tein is not sol­u­ble in water. It is also grown in bac­te­ria, but it is im­pos­si­ble to pu­rify the pro­tein 100%. In ad­di­tion, many of these drugs cause al­ler­gies in hu­mans: bac­te­ria are sim­ply not work­ing on the ge­netic level. So, at this stage of re­search the goats are an ideal op­tion.

We would like to note that this is not only about the pres­tige of the national sci­ence, but also about bil­lions of rubles of net profit. Thanks to the de­vel­op­ment of the new biotech­nol­ogy, pro­duc­ing a num­ber of im­por­tant drugs will be 25-30 times cheaper than buy­ing them abroad. Man­u­fac­ture of unique baby foods can be­come a sep­a­rate in­dus­try.

The Re­search Cen­ter for An­i­mal Breed­ing of the National Academy of Sciences of Be­larus has al­ready started the con­struc­tion of a new ex­per­i­men­tal biotech­no­log­i­cal com­plex for pro­ducer an­i­mals. Two projects are slated to be com­plete in this five-year pe­riod, namely, con­struc­tion of a spe­cial farm for 250 trans­genic goats and 500 head of young stock and a pi­lot pro­cess­ing mod­ule, where sci­en­tists will be able to ex­tract the pro­tein and pro­duce food with lacto­fer­rin.

Con­struc­tion of the farm for the trans­genic an­i­mals is al­ready in progress. By 2015 the farm is ex­pected to have 200 trans­genic goats. By the end of this year,

Br2 bil­lion will be uti­lized to con­struct the build­ing. The work on out­fit­ting the farm with the tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment will start in 2012. All in all, Br5 bil­lion will be as­signed for the farm project. A to­tal of RUB500 mil­lion has been al­lo­cated for the Bel­ros­trasgen-2, which is al­most 10 times as much as the fund­ing for the first pro­gram.

But the prob­lems on this thorny path still re­main... In the com­ing years Be­laru­sian and Rus­sian ge­neti­cists will be pol­ish­ing the tech­nique of main­tain­ing the al­tered genes in an­i­mals. It turns out that the trans­genic pro­tein is washed out of the sys­tem of the an­i­mals by the fourth or fifth gen­er­a­tion.

And yet, ac­cord­ing to sci­en­tists, it is nec­es­sary to be­gin work­ing on the orig­i­nal gene struc­tures. Af­ter all, the time has come for new projects, which seemed un­re­al­is­tic not long ago. One of them is de­vel­op­ment of an ef­fec­tive agent for the treat­ment of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases, the so-called prouroki­nase, or a prepa­ra­tion for bind­ing ra­dioac­tive sub­stances. Life it­self has proven that biotech­nol­ogy is not the fu­ture. It is the present day al­ready.

At the On­set of Milk River

The new Union State pro­gram “Mixed Feed” can be­come a real break­through in cat­tle breed­ing as well. Con­stantly grow­ing global food prices push farm­ers to look for ef­fi­cient ways to boost pro­duc­tion. To­day one can make a good profit on meat and milk pro­duc­tion, es­pe­cially if one can pro­duce more and spend less. How­ever, so far pro­duc­tion of well-bal­anced mixed fod­ders has been a weak link in the Rus­sian and Be­laru­sian cat­tle breed­ing. Grain ac­counts for up to 60-80% of mixed fod­ders with only 20-25% left for en­riched ad­di­tives re­spon­si­ble for weight in­cre­ments and milk yield in­creases. Thus, this fod­der is more ex­pen­sive and less ef­fi­cient.

In Euro­pean coun­tries mixed fod­ders con­tain only 20% of grain and the rest is made of the above­men­tioned en­riched ad­di­tives. There­fore, the milk yield and weight in­cre­ments are at least 1.5 times higher at Euro­pean farms, which, in turn, in­creases the com­pet­i­tive- ness of their prod­ucts on the global mar­ket. This is why the Union State ur­gently needs to launch pro­duc­tion of min­eral and pro­tein-en­riched ad­di­tives that are now be­ing im­ported from abroad. This is the ul­ti­mate goal of the Union State pro­gram “De­sign of im­port-sub­sti­tut­ing equip­ment for pro­duc­tion of well-bal­anced mixed fod­ders based on re­source- and en­ergy-sav­ing tech­nolo­gies” or “Mixed Feed” in short. Be­sides, ow­ing to im­port-sub­sti­tu­tion Rus­sia and Be­larus will save a huge amount of for­eign currency on im­port. Suf­fice it to say that to­day the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Food of Be­larus spends about $220 mil­lion on im­ported ad­di­tives.

The draft pro­gram was de­vel­oped by the National Academy of Sciences of Be­larus in co­op­er­a­tion with the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Food and co­or­di­nated with the Min­istries of Fi­nances and Econ­omy, as well as the State Com­mit­tee for Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy of Be­larus. Although this is a brand-new pro­gram, sci­en­tists and prac­ti­tion­ers of the two coun­tries have enough ex­pe­ri­ence in de­sign­ing and pro­duc­ing mixed fod­der equip­ment.

The pro­gram was or­dered and co­or­di­nated by the Min­istries of Agri­cul­ture of Be­larus and Rus­sia. The main con­trac­tor from the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion is For­mash, that from Be­larus – Sci­en­tific and Prac­ti­cal Cen­ter for Agri­cul­tural Mech­a­niza­tion of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter, the pur­pose of the pro­gram is to de­sign and put in op­er­a­tion re­source-sav­ing tech­nolo­gies and equip­ment for pro­duc­tion of pro­tein- and vi­ta­mi­nen­riched ad­di­tives from lo­cal raw ma­te­ri­als and by-prod­ucts of food pro­duc­tion. Tech­no­log­i­cal lines that are be­ing de­vel­oped by the Cen­ter will be used to pro­duce mixed fod­der by agri­cul­tural com­pa­nies and fac­to­ries sub­or­di­nate to the grain prod­ucts depart­ment of the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Food. There are plans to set up mul­ti­pur­pose easy-to-as­sem­ble mixed fod­der plants with the pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity from 2 to 50 tonnes of mixed fod­der an hour. It is also note­wor­thy that the new equip­ment will be twice as cheap as the im­ported one.

The next step is to find a re­li­able fund­ing source. Ac­cord­ing to the es­ti­mates, about RUB230 mil­lion will be needed to im­ple­ment the new pro­gram in the next three years. The re­turn on in­vest­ments

is ex­pected in a few years and the ben­e­fits will be in­com­men­su­rate with the ex­pen­di­tures. The fod­der pro­duc­tion costs will go down by 10-15% and the share of grain in mixed fod­ders will be cut by at least 20%. It will be pos­si­ble to boost mixed fod­der pro­duc­tion by al­most one fourth with­out spend­ing money on grain cul­ti­va­tion. The en­ergy con­sump­tion per one unit of prod­uct will de­crease by 15-20%. But the most im­por­tant thing is that the daily weight in­cre­ment of cat­tle is ex­pected to av­er­age 800-1000 grams and that of hogs – at least 600 grams. Just like in Europe…

Time is Worth More Than Money

The Union State is mainly fo­cused on high-tech de­sign and de­vel­op­ment projects. I would like to re­mind the read­ers that about 40 joint pro­grams and ini­tia­tives are at present un­der­way. Tens of high per­for­mance and of­ten unique ma­chines have been made for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor alone. Jointly de­vel­oped tech­nolo­gies are in­creas­ingly used in new fields. Many joint projects un­der the Union State pro­grams have proved ef­fi­cient in other in­te­gra­tion for­ma­tions, in­clud­ing the EURASEC and the Cus­toms Union.

To­day the Be­laru­sian-rus­sian eco­nomic and sci-tech co­op­er­a­tion needs an additional boost. It is nec­es­sary to cre­ate an en­cour­ag­ing environment for the im­ple­menta- tion of joint projects as well as to sup­port busi­ness ini­tia­tives. In a sit­u­a­tion when the in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial mar­kets are go­ing through hard times and the global econ­omy is fac­ing great risks, it is nec­es­sary to use all the ben­e­fits the in­te­gra­tion can give.

How­ever, there are still bar­ri­ers in this area. Ex­tremely com­plex pro­ce­dures of get­ting ap­proval for the Union State pro­grams can re­sult in sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion of their num­ber. It is the rea­son why the list of tech­ni­cal pro­grams funded by the Union State bud­get shrinks ev­ery year. Po­ten­tial con­trac­tors are scared away by the ne­ces­sity to go through end­less red tape. There are cases when it took up to five years for the pro­grams to be ap­proved. Take, for in­stance, the “Stem Cells” pro­gram which could not get fund­ing for sev­eral years. For­tu­nately, its ini­tia­tors were pa­tient enough to push the mat­ter through and the Union State in­cluded the pro­gram into the 2011 bud­get.

Union State MPS have re­it­er­ated that Be­laru­sian-rus­sian projects get bogged down once sub­mit­ted to the Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties. As a rule, Be­laru­sian gov­ern­men­tal agen­cies re­view the doc­u­ments much faster. It is no sur­prise that the red tape made the list of projects pend­ing ap­proval quite long. Un­less the ap­proval mech­a­nism is sim­pli­fied in the next two or three years, many of the pend­ing projects will drop out, which would be quite un­for­tu­nate.

Syn­the­sis of new-gen­er­a­tion dry bac­te­rial con­cen­trates for the dairy

in­dus­try at the In­sti­tute of Meat and Dairy


Sci­en­tists view these trans­genic goats al­most as sav­iors of hu­man­ity

Bi­o­log­i­cally ac­tive

liq­uid ad­di­tive “Biosyvorotka - LB” is pro­duced by the In­sti­tute of Meat and

Dairy In­dus­try

Lead­ing re­searcher at the Live­stock Ge­net­ics Lab­o­ra­tory of the Re­search Cen­ter for An­i­mal Breed­ing N. Zhurin and re­search as­so­ci­ate M. Ko­valchuk ex­tract DNA from tis­sue sam­ples of pigs

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