|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
Российские физики Александр Гуревич и Анатолий Караштин представили экспериментальное подтверждение теории о том, что причиной молний являются космические лучи - высокоэнергетические заряженные частицы из космоса, взаимодействующие с каплями воды и частичками льда в грозовых облаках.
Статья «Runaway Breakdown and Hydrometeors in Lightning Initiation» опубликована в журнале Physical Review Letters.
All lightning on Earth may have its roots in space, new research suggests.
Lightning flashes on Earth about 100 times per second, but what triggers lightning in thunderstorms remains mostly unknown. Especially odd is the fact that decades of analysis suggest electrical fields within thunderclouds have only a tenth or so of the strength needed to spark a lightning bolt.
More than 20 years ago, physicist Alex Gurevich at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow suggested lightning might be initiated by cosmic rays from outer space. These particles strike Earth with gargantuan amounts of energy, surpassing anything the most powerful atom smashers on the planet are capable of.
When cosmic rays slam into air molecules, they can make them spit out huge numbers of electrons. This shower of electrons would collide into still more air molecules, generating more electrons. All in all, cosmic rays could each set off an avalanche of electrons, a chain reaction Gurevich calls a runaway breakdown.
However, to kindle lightning, initial calculations suggested very high-energy cosmic rays were needed. These are relatively rare - thunderclouds should each see only one a day, not enough to account for the amount of lightning occurring daily.
The answer to this mystery might lie in how thunderclouds possess vast numbers of electrically charged water droplets and ice nuggets, which Gurevich and his colleagues call "hydro meteors." In such energetic surroundings, cosmic rays 10,000 to 100,000 times less energetic than thought could generate the cascades of electrons needed for lightning. Such cosmic rays hit Earth about as often as lightning flashes on the planet.
Gurevich and his colleague Anatoly Karashtin at the Radiophysical Research Institute in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, analyzed radio pulses from nearly 3,800 lightning strikes detected in Russia and Kazakhstan. The nature of these pulses suggests they may be created by the kind of electrons one would expect to see in the runaway breakdowns from cosmic rays.
If correct, this work "could resurrect the notion that cosmic rays are involved in lightning initiation, an idea that has been questioned in recent years," said physicist Joseph Dwyer, a professor at Florida Institute of Technology, who did not take part in this research.
To help confirm or refute this idea, simultaneous measurements of the showers of energetic particles produced by cosmic rays and the radio pulses from lightning are needed, Dwyer explained. "Such experiments are already being done at several places," Dwyer told OurAmazingPlanet.
Gurevich and Karashtin detailed their findings May 2 in the journal Physical Review Letters.
© 2013 NBCNews.com.
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Российские ученые негативно отнеслись к принятому в прошлом месяце постановлению о новом порядке получения зарубежных научных грантов. Грантодателей обязали каждый раз получать разрешение на свою деятельность от Министерства образования и науки РФ и доказывать, что финансируемая работа не нарушает никаких российских законов. Ученые считают, что такой образец бюрократического рвения окончательно отпугнет международные фонды.
Russian researchers are up in arms over a government decree issued last month which turns the process of issuing research grants into a bureaucratic nightmare for international foundations. The decree introduces new regulations according to which any organization that wants to award grants to Russian researchers must obtain permission from the Ministry of Education and Science for every grant.
"No self-respecting grant-giving agency would deal with Russia on such conditions," says Andrey Tsaturyan of Moscow State University's Mechanics Research Institute.
Under the new decree, organization's will have to apply to the ministry for every grant and complete a bulky set of forms that include the bank details of the organization and the would-be grantee, the subject of the research, the purpose of the support, and so on. If the project to be funded is not in line with the main priorities of basic research and R&D in Russia approved by the government, the ministry may decline the request and the organization will not be allowed to award the grants. Tsaturyan believes that most painfully, the new regulations will affect research in medical sciences and humanities as the physical sciences are now rarely funded by international foundations.
The new regulations have raised serious worries among the researchers. Evgeny Onishchenko of the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences thinks the decree is an absurd and very dangerous example of bureaucratic zeal. "The fact that an application will be required for each specific grant will cause bureaucratic hurdles," he says. In his view, the demand that the research subject must fit in with officially approved research priorities is ridiculous. "The government should be happy that someone supports research that is not a government priority," he says.
Onishchenko hopes that researchers' protests will lead to the new rules being either strongly amended or totally revoked. In any event, he says, bearing in mind the government's current xenophobic attitude, "One can expect persecution of those scientists who do the research in collaboration with foreign colleagues."
Tsaturyan, who also co-chairs the Council of the Russian Researchers' Society, an informal association of researchers seeking to revive the scientific community, is even more pessimistic.
"Effectively, the decree introduces a total ban on foreign grant funding of research. If organizations know that each time they award a grant to a Russian candidate they will have to request permission and risk refusal, they will just stop giving us grants. They will just turn their back on us and walk away," he says.
The decree does include a list of agencies that are exempt from the rules. According to Tsaturyan, this list was originally compiled in the 1990s to exempt foreign grants from taxes and customs duties.
"The list used to be very long but now it is replaced by another one, which consists of only 13 agencies, including IAEA [the International Atomic Energy Agency], a few U.N. organizations, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, etc., that is, bodies of which Russia is a member. There is no serious scientific foundation on this list," he says.
© 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.
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«Перспективы России как космической державы» - очерк из сборника «Toward a Theory of Spacepower», выпущенного Национальным университетом обороны США. Полные тексты статей сборника доступны на сайте университета.
Achievements in space exploration and utilization are that part of its Soviet heritage that the Russian Federation views with great pride and satisfaction. In 1957, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was the first nation in the history of the world to put a satellite in space, and in 1961 it followed with the first manned space flight. During the Cold War, Soviet spacepower was second to none - in some respects behind and in others ahead of that of the United States.
expanding the commercial, economic, scientific, and defense usage of outer space
expanding international cooperation in the civilian exploitation of space
ensuring Russian access to outer space
preserving the Russian position at the cutting edge of space technological development.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, due to a protracted economic decline and depression, Russian space potential and activities have suffered greatly. The end of the Cold War added to this decline since during the decades of arms race and confrontation, Soviet space activities had been closely associated with military purposes and requirements. (In fact, the first Sputnik was a byproduct of the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles [ICBMs], which were needed to negate U.S. strategic nuclear superiority stemming from its geographic remoteness and forward-based aircraft and missile deployments in Europe and Asia.)
After 1991, the sharp decline of the defense and space budgets and disintegration of scientific centers and industrial cooperation, exacerbated by the loss of assets of other former Soviet republics that were newly independent (the foremost being Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan), led to a virtual collapse of Soviet spacepower. The only exception was the commercial space launching program, which largely utilized Soviet/Russian converted ICBMs retired from service (such as START-1, Dnepr, Zenit, and Rokot). This program provided at least some revenue that saved Russian spacepower from total demise during the 1990s.
Nonetheless, by the beginning of the current decade, Russian space activities were badly undercut. Overall Russian space assets decreased 150 percent during the 1990s and in 2004 consisted of 96 satellites (70 percent military and dual-purpose), of which 65 percent were beyond service lifetime (33 military and 29 civilian and dual-purpose). The American space constellation consisted of 415 military and civilian satellites. The U.S. space budget ($16.4 billion) was 20 times bigger than Russia's ($0.8 billion). In contrast to the 12 or 13 U.S. radioelectronic and electronic-optical reconnaissance satellites, Russia had only 1 in orbit at any given time.
Obsolete naval communication satellites Molniya-1T, Molniya-3, and Parus could not be replaced by the new Meridian-type craft due to shortage of funding. Out of eight needed missile attack early warning satellites (71X6 and 73D6), only three were in orbit. The Russian global navigation satellite system (GLONASS) consisted of only 14 instead of 24 satellites, which were not enough even for the permanent coverage of Russian territory. Hence, Russian combat aircraft, including strategic bombers, had to rely on the U.S. analogous global positioning (NAVSTAR) space system. Likewise, the Russian Northern Fleet had to receive ice condition information from Canadian Radarsat-1 spacecraft.
During the last several years, Russian spacepower has been gradually recovering from the crisis. Presently there are 99 Russian satellites in space (70 percent military and dual-purpose). New vintage satellites were placed in orbit (Meridian, new type early warning, communication, and reconnaissance systems), and the number of GLONASS satellites was increased to 17. New space launchers are under intensive development (Angara, START-1, Soyuz 2-1B). The Plesetsk space and missile launching range is undergoing broad modernization (for Angara and Soyuz 2-1B vehicles). With the Angara launcher, Plesetsk for the first time will be able to reach geostationary orbit and loft superheavy loads in space. Space Forces (a separate branch of the armed services) is withdrawing from Baykonur range (in Kazakhstan) and curtailing its assets at Svobodniy range (in the Far East) to a minimal scale. The personnel level presently is 50,000 military and 25,000 civilians and is not being reduced any further.
Altogether, Russia (by joint efforts of Space Forces and Roskosmos) is conducting about 25 space launches annually for its own needs. A new space command and control site was commissioned in Armavir to make up for the two sites left in Ukraine (Yevpatoria and Dunayevtzy). Missile early warning radars of the Missile-Space Defense (part of Space Forces) were modernized in Pechora, Irkutsk, Balkhash (Kazakhstan), and Lekhtusi (Belarus). A new rapid-deployment radar system was tested successfully near Saint Petersburg. In addition to the electro-optical space monitoring station in Nurek (Tajikistan), a new site was commissioned in Karachaevo-Cherkessia (North Caucasus).
The Federal Space Program
The Russian government sees spacepower as one of the most important attributes of authority and prestige of a nation in the world today. In fact, Moscow believes that a country cannot claim the status of great power without developed space assets and activities - both civilian and military. Space systems are interpreted in Russia as orbital groups of spacecraft and land-based command-control and information relay sites, as well as space launch ranges, launchers, and support infrastructure. In the course of the few last decades, those systems and facilities have become the most important - in some cases, the crucial - resource in supporting military, socioeconomic, commercial, and scientific activities of the world.
The Federal Space Program approved in November 2005 envisions $12 billion in outlays until 2015. The program and other official directives postulate the following goals of Russian space activities:
In order to achieve these goals, Russia must fulfill the following tasks:
maintenance and development of a modern and effective space constellation
deployment and exploitation of the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) consisting of 5 modules (presently Russia is mostly engaged in transportation)
providing of Russian contribution in the COSPAS-SARSAT system (2 satellites)
development of advanced variable mission space launchers (Angara) and modernization of the existing ones (Proton, Soyuz-2)
maintenance of the civilian space range at Baykonur and civilian-military range at Plesetsk
improvement of the quality of satellites (extending maximum service lifetime from 2 years to 10-12 years)
reforming space industries (presently consisting of 112 enterprises and 250,000 employees to be concentrated in 3 or 4 holdings)
further increasing Russia's share in the world commercial space launch market (presently 40 percent, compared to 30 percent for the United States, 16 percent for China, 6 percent for the European Union, and 2 percent for India).
Russia is heavily dependent on international cooperation in space exploration and exploitation, both as a donor and as a recipient, as well as a delivery service manager. Presently approximately 180 countries participate in space activities in some way. At least 40 of these are associated with the use of outer space information and support for military systems and forces, and 19 nations have scientific and industrial potential for manufacturing their own spacecraft. In various orbits, there are currently more than 700 space satellites of civilian, military, and dual purpose types, among those about 400 American and 100 Russian, including the International Space Station.
By the level of budget allocation, Russia is lagging far behind the leading spacefaring nations. The United States is firmly in first place, followed by the European Union (through the European Space Agency [ESA]), Japan, China, Russia, and then India. At the same time, the space plans and ambitions of Russia, and its remaining scientific-industrial potential and infrastructure, are much greater than its current budgets would imply.
Hence, Russia has a major interest in expanding its role in international space cooperation. Furthermore, Russia's role in world trade is much too dependent on its export of raw natural resources, which is characteristic of developing countries. Besides trade in arms and nuclear materials and technologies, cooperation in space activities is one of very few high-technology export items that Russia can pursue in the near- to mid-term future. That is why this trade channel is so important to Russia both from the angle of status and prestige and in view of the revenues it brings to its underfunded space programs and assets.
For Russia, the most valuable international projects are the following:
the International Space Station, with the United States and many other foreign states (Canada, Japan, and 17 member-states of the ESA)
a big unfolding space antenna (Roskosmos and Energiya with ESA and Italy)
microsatellites (150 kilograms) for Earth sounding (Roskosmos with EADS-Astrium)
advanced Manned Transportation System (based on modernized Soyuz launch vehicle for orbital and Moon flights)
cooperation with ESA and France on the launching complex for Soyuz 2-1T from Kourou space range in French Guiana
cooperation with ESA and India on new space navigation systems
long-term international projects of flights to Mars and Venus.
Russia's attitude to recipient nonspace nations in the Middle East, East-South Asia, and Latin America is motivated by commercial and political interests. Moscow's cooperation with spacefaring nations is a combination of the donor-recipient model. The main partners are ESA (foremost France, Italy, and Germany), the United States, Japan, China, India, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Brazil.
In addition, Russian willingness to provide launch and satellite services to some states is motivated by its interests, which initially shaped its 1999-2000 proposals on the global system of control over missile and missile technology nonproliferation. That initiative was formally introduced at the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference and envisioned provision of space services to states refraining from developing their own missile capabilities and abiding by the Missile Technology Control Regime.
Military Space Requirements
Russia's military space requirements and programs are different from those of the United States. Having very limited, if any, conventional long-range power-projection capability (or long-range precision-guided weapons), Russia does not heavily rely on space systems for its conventional operations. Only reconnaissance and communications systems are of some value. In contrast to the USSR, Russia's faraway naval deployments are not conducted on a permanent basis, except when on infrequent naval exercises.
As for strategic forces, Russia deploys only 1 or 2 ballistic missile submarines at sea at any given time, and its heavy and middle-range bombers fly only during rare exercises. These would surely benefit from better space communication and navigation capabilities, but those capabilities are not crucial.
However, Russia's dependence on missile early warning satellites is truly decisive. Due to financial problems and mistaken decisions on a strategic modernization program in 2000-2001, Russian strategic forces are becoming more vulnerable. Russia's ever smaller number of submarines and bombers is not survivable in bases and on airfields. Its mobile missile force is shrinking because many more obsolete SS-25 ICBMs are withdrawn than new SS-27s are deployed. Its silo-based ICBMs (including new SS-27s) and fewer mobile SS-27s in shelters increasingly depend on launch-on-warning (LOW) to maintain deterrent capability. On top of all this, out of eight big missile early-warning radars, five are deployed outside of Russian territory (in Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan) and cannot be relied upon in time of a hypothetical crisis involving a strategic nuclear threat.
Russian official and unofficial attempts from 2001 to 2005 to come to an agreement with the United States to cut strategic forces to lower than 1,700 to 2,200 warhead levels (Moscow 2002 Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty) to reduce U.S. counterforce capability, or to jointly lower the readiness for launch status of strategic forces (for the same purpose), proved to be futile.
Hence, Russia has a heavy and growing reliance on the LOW concept and early warning satellites. The fact that this system does not have a much higher priority in Russia's space and defense program reflects Moscow's relaxed attitude toward the probability of a confrontation with the United States and its allies and a huge lack of coordination in Moscow's strategic forces, programs, posture, and support systems. Nonetheless, it is not an acceptable justification: strategic posture is such an important element of national security that internal contradictions are not to be looked at with complacency. Development and deployment of space weapons, particularly those of antisatellite class, would greatly exacerbate this instability against the background of the U.S., Russian, and potentially Chinese strategic postures.
All in all, it may be stated flatly that Russia has great interests and ambitions in outer space, both civilian and military, but those interests are confined to unarmed craft. This position stems from both Russia's overwhelming dependence on international cooperation in outer space and the severe shortage of funding for defense in general and military space programs in particular.
Hence, Russia has an extremely negative view of development and deployment of space weapons of any kind (deployed in space or designed for attacking space objects). In contrast to the USSR, which was the first nation to deploy operational ballistic missile defense (BMD) and antisatellite (ASAT) systems in the 1970s, Russia has neither the resources nor the perceived strategic requirements for pursuing space weapons. Russia would see any such development and deployment as a major provocation and a threat to its security and national interests. Moreover, Russia's future attitude toward other states and their treatment as partners or opponents will be heavily affected by their posture with respect to space weapons. In this sense, new U.S. Air Force space doctrine and various Pentagon statements on the subject are universally seen in Russia with great concern and hostility.
Only some major provocation might change Russia's policy on the issue. One is a potential U.S. deployment of space-based ASAT systems, threatening Russian early-warning satellites (which are deployed not only at geosynchronous orbits but also partly at Molniya-type highly elliptical orbits and pass at low altitude over the south polar zone). As a system for retaliation or for a direct attack on U.S. space-based ASAT craft, Russia might contemplate reviving its direct ascent ASAT systems or resuming its land-based laser program with inherent antisatellite potential.
Another trigger may be a massive U.S. deployment of space-based BMD intercept or support systems, which would threaten Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent capability. Undoubtedly, Moscow's first choice in both cases would be an asymmetric response: enhancing satellite survivability, reducing reliance on LOW, or developing BMD penetration systems. However, if that would not be enough or turn out to be too expensive, Russia may eventually go for space weapons of its own.
Apart from routine commercial competition and disputes around places in geostationary orbit and radio communication frequencies, the real conflicts in space may stem from attacks on or interference with another state's spacecraft.
In many cases, some violation of the standard operation of an individual space system may result in almost-total failure of the normal functioning of military, commercial, and other systems and structures. The hypothetical deployment of the means of destruction or interference of various physical natures, threatening spacecraft operations (foremost, that of early warning satellites) may in a crisis situation lead to a high level of strategic instability, encouraging reliance on a preemptive nuclear strike.
At the same time, a significant escalation in the number of some types of reconnaissance satellites could undercut the survivability of certain strategic forces (primarily ground-mobile missiles and missile submarines at sea) and devalue their deterrent capability, thus putting a premium on a first disarming strike or launch-on-warning - thus also leading to dangerous strategic destabilization. Both such satellites and orbital antisatellite systems provide a high incentive for the development of antisatellite weapons of various basing modes. Such is one of the most significant facets of the dialectics of strategic space systems interaction.
Apart from a number of research and development projects of the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1950s and early 1960s, the first ASAT system was developed and deployed by the Soviet Union. It was a co-orbital satellite-killing vehicle guided by radar and infrared sensors developed in the Kometa design bureau. The launcher was a modified SS-9 (RS-36) and SS-18 (RS-36M) heavy ICBM system. The first test in space was conducted in 1968, and tests continued until 1982. Several launchers were deployed at Tyuratam (Baykonur) space range in 1979. The Soviet ASAT was capable of intercepting satellites at altitudes of up to 1,000 kilometers, but it was a slow action system with dubious effectiveness. When the United States responded with its own ASAT system based on the F-15, Moscow changed its position and came forward with the proposal of a bilateral moratorium on ASAT testing, which was turned into a unilateral moratorium in 1983, observed by the USSR/Russia since then.
There is some evidence that Russia experimented with a direct-access ASAT system similar to the American one and based on the MiG-31 fighter-interceptor, and prepared to deploy some direct-access SS-19 (Ur-100UTTX)-based ASAT systems at Svobodniy test range. But neither was ever tested or deployed. The Soviet first-generation A-35 Moscow BMD system, deployed in the 1970s, had some collateral ASAT capabilities, as does the follow-on A-135 system presently deployed. However, both rely on nuclear intercept; hence, their effect would be suicidal for Russia's own satellites.
The history of negotiations on space (including antisatellite weapons) in the 1980s proved the great difficulty of creating treaty-based limitations on space systems. Currently, for a number of reasons, the political and international law environment (foremost, a collapse of the 1972 ABM Treaty after U.S. withdrawal in 2002) for such negotiations and agreements is even less favorable, despite the end of the Cold War 15 years ago. In fact, the U.S. Ground Based Interceptor (GBI)-type BMD system under deployment is already an effective ASAT system for destroying satellites at up to 1,500 kilometers altitude. The only thing missing is a global deployment to provide for fast interception at various orbits and testing against a target satellite.
Defining Space Weapons
Besides political and strategic obstacles to effective negotiations on space weapons, there are legal problems with the definitions of such systems. It seems that the preferable definition is as follows: space weapons are means of destruction and disruption of functioning of space objects, specifically developed and tested for this purpose in any basing mode; and means of destruction of any target of any location, if such means are developed and tested for deployment at Earth orbits (that is, designed to perform at least one revolution around the Earth). Hence, space weapons are distinguished either by their designated targets (space objects) or by their own basing mode (at Earth orbit).
A simpler and less strict definition of space weapons could be a weapons system (means of destruction) that is a space object or is designed to destroy space objects. However, many types of weapons or destruction systems have multiple uses, and their development, testing, and deployment cannot be directly limited by international treaties. These types include, for example, laser, kinetic, electromagnetic, particle beams, and other weapons of similar type (except nuclear weapons, which are prohibited from being deployed in space, albeit without verification procedures, by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and from being tested by the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty).
Many systems, intended for other missions - offensive ballistic missiles of various types if fused for space burst, fractionally orbital bombardment systems, maneuverable satellites, and manned spacecraft - may have collateral capabilities to destroy space objects.
Of particular importance are strategic antiballistic missile systems of any type of deployment (basing mode) that have implicit antisatellite potential, especially against low- and medium-altitude (up to 1,500 kilometers) satellites. It might be possible to only impose a ban on testing strategic antimissile systems against space objects, somewhat limiting their combat effectiveness in this role. Such limitation would be ineffective against nuclear antimissile interceptors, although the United States does not develop or deploy such systems, while Russia has a limited number around Moscow with low-altitude range. U.S. interceptors of GBI type designed to hit missiles at mid-course multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle-dispensing phase would be theoretically able to use the same guidance systems against satellites at low- to mid-altitude orbits. Still, some dedicated tests against satellites would probably be needed to be sure of their effectiveness for such missions.
To bolster responsibilities of spacefaring nations and to formalize the bounds of those responsibilities, it might be possible as a first step to develop and voluntarily accept a code of conduct in space activities (CoCSA). Its goal would be to ban activities aimed at destroying or interfering with the functioning of space systems, as well as constraining development, deployment, and use of weapons systems intended for such actions.
This kind of ban would naturally operate under peacetime conditions, but it may lower the technological and operational capabilities of states for destabilizing actions (and consequently for triggering uncontrolled escalation) under conditions of crisis or even armed conflict. Some of its regulations could be adhered to even in times of war (in a manner similar to the non-use of chemical weapons in World War II). The CoCSA would have to impose a ban on testing, development, and employment of all means of destruction of space objects, on means of disrupting their functioning, as well as of all weapons (means for destroying targets) of space-basing mode (that is, deployed on Earth orbits). As a code, it would not need a refined verification system, counting rules, or limitation definitions. Its effectiveness would be mostly political as an agreement on intent, but it still would have a marginal utility (like The Hague Code of Conduct with respect to missile nonproliferation).
In the longer term, under favorable political and strategic circumstances, the CoCSA could become important as a basis for legally binding agreements, which would capitalize on its most important and practical points and depend on availability of tangible definitions and verification capabilities.
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15-16 мая в Москве прошла первая международная научно-практическая конференция «Биотерапевтические препараты. Современные вызовы и регуляторные практики. Подходы к гармонизации». Конференция организована Международной федерацией фармацевтических производителей и ассоциаций (IFPMA) и Ассоциацией международных фармацевтических производителей (AIPM) при поддержке Министерства здравоохранения РФ, Федеральной службы по надзору в сфере здравоохранения и Российской академии медицинских наук.
Beginning an international scientific and regulatory conference takes place in Moscow to enhance regulation of biotherapeutic medicines. The conference, Biotherapeutic medicines: regulatory challenges and current practices - approaches for harmonization is the first international expert meeting of its kind to take place in Russia, according to IFPMA.
Participating in the conference are leading experts from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, several European national regulatory agencies, and industry. They will discuss current challenges in regulating biotherapeutic and biosimilar medicines and exchange best practices.
The conference is organized by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) in cooperation with the Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (AIPM). It is held with the support and participation of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, the Russian Federal Service for Healthcare Supervision, the Eurasian Economic Commission, the State Duma Committee on Health Protection, and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.
Ahead of the conference, AIPM Executive Director Vladimir Shipkov said, "Due to the complex nature of biotherapeutic medicines, harmonized regulatory standards are needed to best serve the interests of patients and healthcare systems throughout our region. I hope this conference will contribute to the establishment of a regulatory system for biotherapeutic and biosimilar medicines in Russia based on global best practices and established regulatory procedures."
Biotherapeutic medicines are larger and more complex than chemically-synthesized small molecule medicines. Derived from living organisms, their characteristics and properties are typically dependent on that organism and manufacturing processes and conditions. These medicines have benefitted more than 350 million patients worldwide in treating both widespread diseases as well as rare diseases.
Because these medicines' complexity poses important new challenges for regulators, the conference focuses on challenges in manufacturing biotherapeutics, evaluation and registration of biotherapeutic and biosimilar products, immunogenicity and safety monitoring, interchangeability, and pharmacovigilance.
IFPMA Director General Eduardo Pisani said, "Biotherapeutic medicines open new possibilities for medicines and offer cures for some diseases that were previously considered untreatable. With more than 200 biotherapeutic medicines now registered and many others in the pipeline, science-based, harmonized regulatory approaches are needed. This conference is an important platform for sharing regulatory best practices among leading Russian and international experts."
© 2007 The FINANCIAL, Business News & Multimedia. All rights reserved.
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Medical Daily / May 20, 2013
Russian Spacecraft Returns With Mostly Dead Crew, Newts Survive
An international team of scientists ran an experiment on animal-astronauts to find out the effects of long-term weightlessness
Российский биоспутник «Бион-М» вернулся на Землю, проведя на орбите месяц и полностью выполнив намеченную программу исследований. Из находившихся на борту «астронавтов» (от грызунов до микроорганизмов) лучше всего себя чувствуют гекконы и улитки.
Although scientists gave assurances that experimental animal-astronauts would return home to Earth alive, more than half of the 45 mice (and all of the eight Mongolian gerbils) died during a space mission that launched in April. The 15 newts are doing fine.
Scientists are blaming the low survival rate on equipment failure and "the stresses of space." Launched in separate containers, the animals were allowed to mingle during the flight.
Yet it turns out their deaths had been intended all along.
Lost in Space
Scientists expected the mice, gerbils, geckos, and other creatures to survive the plunge through the Earth's atmosphere; but in order to run tests and get the data they need, researchers had been planning to "humanely euthanize" the animals, Nicole Rayl, project manager for NASA's portion of the mission, told SPACE.com.
The surviving animals (which also included "snails, some plants, and microflora") have been moved from the landing area in Orenburg to Moscow for further testing. "This is the first time that animals have flown in space for so long on their own," noted Vladimir Sychov, deputy director of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems, the agency conducting the experiment.
The animals orbited for a month at an altitude of about 357 miles, which is much higher than the International Space Station's orbit of 250 miles. Most organisms, including humans, undergo physical changes in prolonged microgravity. Astronauts and cosmonauts undergoing multi-month missions on the International Space Station follow a rigorous exercise schedule intended to stave off microgravity-induced health problems.
Intended to study the biological effects of long-term weightlessness, the modified Bion-M life sciences satellite was equipped with internal cameras so that scientists could monitor the animals during flight. In addition, sensors tracked the heart rates and blood pressure of the mostly furry crew. Scientists monitored a variety of health metrics for the animals while the spacecraft beamed down information about the health of the animals and the conditions inside the capsule. The low survival rate among rodents "was to be expected," according to Sychov.
Although the US and the Soviet Union (later Russia) have launched long-duration manned space flights and amassed data on the subject since as far back as the early 1960s, detailed experimentation on humans exposed to prolonged microgravity is ethically sticky. The biological deficits incurred through long exposure to microgravity-including skeletal and muscular deterioration-might be irreversible.
One of the NASA experiments focused on how microgravity and radiation affect sperm motility in mice. If humans are going to visit other planets on long flights, Rayl said, it's important to understand if people will be able to procreate from sex in space. Some missions could take decades, so space-based reproduction might be a necessity.
Although one of the NASA scientists was examining the mice for sperm motility, reproduction while in the spacecraft had not been permitted. Only male mice had been selected for the journey, Rayl said.
"We often have very targeted scientific experiments where we have one investigator looking at, say, "cardiovascular system function." This [Bion-M1] is different because we have nine investigators [in] total looking at a whole organism approach to spaceflight," he said. "That's a very exciting development for us, that we're able to bring so many investigators to the table to really maximize the scientific return from this mission."
Bion-M1 is Russia's first mission dedicated to launching animals into space in 17 years. The last Bion mission carried rhesus monkeys, geckos, and amphibians into orbit for 15 days in 1996. The Bion-M1 mission is the longest flight of its kind in the Russian science program's 40-year history. It is important to note that the U.S. was the first country ever to launch a primate, sending a rhesus monkey named Albert to a sub-space altitude of 39 miles aboard a V2 rocket in June 1948.
© 2013 Medicaldaily.com All rights reserved.
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Elsevier и Минобрнауки РФ объявили лауреатов премии Scopus Award 2013, вручаемой самым публикуемым и цитируемым авторам за выдающийся вклад в развитие национальной науки на международном уровне.
Elsevier, the world-leading provider of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services, and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science announced the winners of the 2013 Scopus Awards Russia.
The Scopus Award program, first held in Russia in 2005, aims to support scientific research in Russia and honor its outstanding scientists. This year's event has been co-hosted by Elsevier and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science and is supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the Russian Academy of Science.
This year, based on Scopus data, the selection criteria consist of h-index scores, the number of publications and citations as well as academic recognition at national level. The awards were presented by Mr. Andrey Polyakov, Ministry of Science and Education of Russia, Youngsuk "YS" Chi, Chairman of Elsevier and Dr. Igor Osipov, Elsevier's Regional Director for Russia and Belarus.
The winners in the six award categories are:
For outstanding contribution to the field of computer sciences:
Sergei Obiedkov - Associate Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Information Science, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation.
For outstanding contribution to the field of physics:
Dr. Ruslan Metsaev - Researcher at P.N. Lebedev Institute of Physics, Moscow, Russian Federation.
For outstanding contributions to the field of chemistry:
Andrey Cheprakov - Associate Professor at Chemistry Faculty, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation.
For outstanding contributions to the field of biology:
Dr. Konstantin Lukyanov - Head of Laboratory of Biophotonics, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Moscow, Russian Federation.
For outstanding contributions to the field of social sciences:
Prof. Helena Slobodskaya (M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.) - Principal research scientist, Institute of Physiology and Basic Medicine, Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation.
Early career researcher:
Alexander Chernov (Ph.D.) - Researcher, General Physics Institute, Moscow, Russian Federation.
"The Scopus Award ceremony is an important event to honor the brightest individuals in Russian science. We are glad to share this celebration of Russian science together with Elsevier and hope these awards inspire our researchers to continue their discoveries and change the world for the better", said Mr. Andrey Polyakov, Deputy Director of Department on Science and Technologies Development, Ministry of Education and Science.
Youngsuk "YS" Chi, Chairman of Elsevier, remarked, "Elsevier is honored to take part in this celebration of achievements in Russian research. The accomplishments of these six extremely talented individuals are a testament to the bright future of Russian scientific research. Working together with Russia for many years now, Elsevier aims to continuously support Russian researchers with the highest quality content and cutting-edge solutions. We are delighted today to see the fruits of our enduring collaboration."
The Scopus Awards ceremony was held at Grand Hotel Europe, on the 14th of May, 2013 and preceded by the International Congress. The Congress became the meeting-point for multi-subject discussion on further perspectives of science and technologies and higher education developments in Russia. Congress participants and speakers presented research, high education and business spheres and included Vladimir Kvardakov (Deputy Chairman of RFBR), Richard Burger (Research & Innovation Councilor, Delegation of EU to Russia), Andrey Polyakov (Deputy Director of Department, Russian Ministry of Education and Science) and Youngsuk "YS" Chi (Chairman, Elsevier), and many other specialists in science, education and business.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Le Point / le 23/05/2013
Fonte des glaces : la Russie évacue sa station polaire
Severny Polious 40, station située sur la banquise du pôle Nord, va être évacuée. En cause, la trop importante fonte de la calotte glaciaire
Из-за разрушения льдов в Арктике пришлось срочно эвакуировать российскую дрейфующую станцию «Северный полюс-40».
La Russie va évacuer d'urgence sa station polaire installée sur la banquise du pôle Nord, en raison de la fonte anormale des glaces, a annoncé jeudi le ministère russe des Ressources naturelles et de l'Écologie dans un communiqué. Le ministre des Ressources naturelles et de l'Écologie, Sergueï Donskoï, a ordonné "d'élaborer en trois jours un plan d'évacuation de la station polaire scientifique Severny Polious 40", où se trouvent actuellement 16 personnes, indique le communiqué. Cette décision s'explique par "un développement anormal de processus naturels dans le bassin Arctique qui a abouti à la destruction des champs de glace autour de la station", selon la même source.
"La glace se crevasse. Des fissures sont apparues sur la banquise ", a précisé à l'AFP un porte-parole du ministère. La destruction des glaces "menace non seulement la poursuite des activités de la station et la vie de son personnel, mais aussi l'environnement dans la zone de sa dérive, située non loin de la zone économique du Canada", souligne le communiqué. L'éventuel recours à un brise-glace afin de déplacer la station sur la Terre du Nord, un archipel russe dans l'océan Arctique, doit notamment être étudié, ajoute-t-il. Severny Polious 40, la quarantième station polaire russe déployée dans cette région depuis le début de la conquête de l'Arctique par l'URSS en 1937, a été ouverte en octobre 2012 afin notamment de surveiller l'environnement de l'océan Arctique et d'effectuer des observations météorologiques.
© Le Point.fr.
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Изучив снимки из космоса, сотрудники Томского политехнического университета обнаружили в Сибири несколько нефтяных месторождений. Метод квантовооптической фильтрации космического снимка позволяет не только выявить границы месторождений, но и определить плотность запасов.
MOSCOW, May 23 (UPI) - Russian scientists using special space imaging techniques said they found evidence of 10 new oil deposits in eastern Siberia.
Researchers from the Tomsk Polytechnic University told state news agency RIA Novosti they used a special optics system to reveal boundaries for 10 oil deposits in parts of Krasnoyarsk Territory.
Geology Associate Professor Valery Rostovtsev told the news agency there is evidence some fields may be quite large in terms of reserves.
"One of them is possibly comparable with the Yurubcheno-Tokhomo field," he said. RIA Novosti estimates that field may contain as much as 365 billion barrels of oil.
Russian oil company Rosneft said it would start production at the Yurubcheno-Tokhomo field by 2016. The report offered few details about long-term development plans for the fields.
Russia ranks second in the world in terms of oil production, with an estimated 9.8 million barrels of oil per day produced in 2011.
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Nature / 22 May 2013
Russian academy awaits new head
Reform is in the air at the nation's oldest research body
О предстоящих выборах нового президента РАН.
From czarist times to the days of perestroika, the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) was the pillar of the nation's scholarship, boasting the country's best scientists as members. The dramatic decline in science spending after the break-up of the Soviet Union ended the academy's days of plenty, and although funding has rallied in recent years, those roubles have increasingly gone to other research centres.
Now awaiting the first new academy president in more than two decades, Russian scientists hope that the leadership will revive the struggling institution and bring about reform they feel is long overdue.
Critics say that the RAS, which employs some 45,000 scientists at 436 institutes across Russia, is burdened by a host of unproductive ageing scientists awaiting retirement and by many pursuing research of dubious value (see Nature 449, 524-527; 2007). They say that current president Yuri Osipov, a mathematician who has presided over the RAS since 1991, has failed to clear out dead wood and take other steps to prevent the academy, which was founded in 1724 by Peter the Great, from declining into insignificance.
On 29 May, the academy's general assembly of more than 1,000 full and corresponding members will vote in a secret ballot on its future head. Osipov, 76, said earlier this month that he will not run for a fifth term. "I'm tired," he told the Russian news service Pravda.ru . It is time for a new person with "new views and fresh energy" to take over.
How new the views and how fresh the energy will depend on who wins on 29 May. The favoured contender, according to sources close to the academy, is 67-year-old plasma physicist Vladimir Fortov, former deputy prime minister and former science minister in the Russian government. His election manifesto includes a raft of proposals for the RAS - to cut red tape, to improve efficiency, to regularly review the performance of institutes and scientists, and to base funding on merit. "Fortov is no doubt determined to start some reform, however timidly," says Konstantin Severinov, a molecular biologist at the recently inaugurated Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology near Moscow, and a professor at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Fortov's chief opponent, Zhores Alferov, is considered less likely to modernize the academy. The 83-year-old physicist and long-time director of the respected Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in St Petersburg shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his ground-breaking work on semiconductor heterostructures. He is also a member of the communist faction in the Duma, the Russian parliament, and a stalwart champion of Soviet ideals. "Alferov is a scientist of the highest repute - but his views are not always forward-looking," says Severinov.
At a meeting in April of the Council for Science and Education, a presidential advisory body chaired by Vladimir Putin, Alferov agreed with academicians who reject the use of bibliometric indicators - such as numbers of research papers and the impact factors of the journals in which they are published - for measuring scientific performance. He agreed that such assessments would encourage Russian scientists to publish their best work in foreign high-impact journals rather than in Russian ones.
Such nationalistic views threaten to cement the isolation of Russian science further, says Mikhail Feigel'man, deputy director of research at the academy's Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics near Moscow. (Feigel'man himself is not a member of the academy and will not be voting on 29 May.) "Our ties with international science are all but eliminated," he says. "We're caught in a system that was constructed in Soviet times when academic exchange was not considered important. But now it is."
Travel grants are almost unavailable to RAS researchers, and foreign scientists or students are absent at many academy institutes. "Anyone interested in working with us, or giving talks at our institute, I have to tell that it is not possible unless they come with their own money," says Feigel'man. Meanwhile, low salaries, lack of grant money and poor career prospects are deterring Russian talent from pursuing science at home, he says. "Our own people leave Russia as fast as they can."
The Russian government itself seems to view the RAS as increasingly irrelevant. The academy's budget, around 60 billion roubles (US$1.9 billion) per year, has stagnated since 2000, even as overall science spending in Russia has doubled (see "Flatlining"). The government is funnelling the new money into university research and ventures such as the Skolkovo, a new science complex that will focus on biotechnology and information technology, among other disciplines, in partnership with international companies. German engineering and electronics giant Siemens, based in Munich, and Finnish mobile-phone company Nokia, in Helsinki, have already signed up to participate.
Science minister Dmitri Livanov has said that he expects a thorough overhaul of the academy and that productivity should become a funding prerequisite for RAS institutes and scientists. "There are some researchers who fully meet this standard," Livanov said in a 2012 interview. "Those who do not work we will have to call something different."
© 2013 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.
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Президентом Российской академии наук избран академик Владимир Фортов.
The general assembly in Moscow of the Russian Academy of Sciences today (May 29) elected plasma physicist Vladimir Fortov as new president of Russia's largest basic research organization.
Fortov, director of the academy's Joint Institute for High Temperatures in Moscow, succeeds mathematician Yuri Osipov, 76, who has led the academy since 1991.
Russian scientists, plagued by low salaries and scarce grant money, hope that Fortov, 67 will refurbish the increasingly unproductive academy. The former deputy prime minister and former science minister in the Russian government is considered reform-friendly. In the run-up to the elections, he promised a set of measures to run the academy more efficiently and rejuvenate its aging workforce.
The academy employs some 45,000 scientists at 436 research institutes across Russia.
2013 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.
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Журнал Scientific American попросил нескольких экспертов прокомментировать недавнюю находку российских ученых: на Новосибирских островах исследователи обнаружили хорошо сохранившиеся останки мамонта, при этом уцелели не только мягкие ткани, но и, возможно, жидкая кровь, по какой-то причине не замерзшая, несмотря на очень низкую температуру.
Yesterday brought a flurry of news stories trumpeting a mind-blowing discovery from the lost world of the last ice age: a 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth carcass that preserves muscle tissue the color of fresh meat and blood in liquid form, despite the -10 degrees Celsius temperatures in the Novosibirsk Islands, where Russian researchers discovered the beast. The Siberian Times obtained striking photos of the specimen showing the reddish tissues and a vial of the dark brown liquid said to be blood that was found in ice cavities under the animal's belly, as well as additional details of the discovery. The story quotes mammoth researcher Semyon Grigoriev of the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, who led the recovery of the mammoth, as speculating that the blood contains "a kind of natural anti-freeze" and declaring the specimen-a female that was between 50 and 60 years old when she died-to be "the best preserved mammoth in the history of paleontology." An AFP report, meanwhile, referred to the animal as the first old female mammoth ever found and quotes Grigoriev as saying "this find gives us a really good chance of finding live cells," which would be a windfall for his institution's project with South Korea's Sooam Biotech Research Foundation to clone a mammoth.
Wow! I mean, there have been some spectacular mammoths to emerge from this part of the world - the baby mammoth Lyuba, discovered in 2007, for example. But muscle tissue like fresh meat? Liquid blood? The possibility of live cells? Sounds amazing, right? Yet with only the news reports to go on (the find was announced in the popular press rather than in a peer-reviewed scientific journal), I wondered if it might be too good to be true. So I contacted a couple of experts not involved in the discovery to get their read on the development. The upshot: it really does appear to be an incredible find, but some of the claims about it are incorrect as reported or have yet to be established as fact.
Daniel Fisher of the University of Michigan, a leading authority on mammoths who has worked with Grigoriev in the past and considers him a close colleague, comments that the news reports appear to be mostly legit. But he noted via email:
"…a few points have gone astray in the story, perhaps just the usual result of language differences and reporters and scientists getting a little out of sync. For instance, this is not the first old female mammoth found, just the first time we have found this much of the carcass (i.e., soft tissues) of an old female. Likewise, they have not found any "living cell" - at most they could hope to find what the cloning enthusiasts might call a cell with "viable" DNA, meaning that it would be intact enough to use in the context of a cloning effort. In fact, although there is much talk of "viability" of this sort, I think it remains to be demonstrated that any DNA from a mammoth meets this criterion. In general, ancient DNA is highly fragmented and by no means "ready to go" into the next mammoth embryo.
I also reached out to physiologist Kevin Campbell of the University of Manitoba, who, working with colleagues, has used ancient DNA to recreate the red blood cell protein hemoglobin from a woolly mammoth and then observed how that protein functioned. Their efforts, which he and molecular biologist Michael Hofreiter of the University of York in England described last year in an article for Scientific American, revealed that the temperature-sensitive protein evolved adaptations that enabled it to perform its job of delivering oxygen to body tissues in the frigid conditions mammoths faced. Campbell noted via email that "If the fluid ("blood') sample is as well preserved as the muscle (which, judging from the pictures seems to be amazingly well), there is the possibility that red blood cells are still intact." He told me he is interested in studying the substance to evaluate its oxygen-binding properties.
As for the blood, I have no doubt that they have something interesting, but what exactly it is … is hard to say at this moment. Whether it is exactly blood, and only blood, will of course require a little more analysis, including some microscopic examination. I have previously seen coagulated blood in mammoth blood vessels, which is very close to what has been reported here, so that much is entirely reasonable. At the moment, I must reserve judgment on the specific nature of this new sample, but I am sure it will be of interest."
"The first step-from an oxygen-binding study perspective-is to look for red blood cells and then isolate hemoglobin from all the other proteins/cell debris in the sample. Since the sample was collected from outside the body, it is likely that there is also "contamination" from myoglobin and possibly bacteria (for example). Based on the color alone, I think it is pretty safe to say that there is indeed a fair amount of hemoglobin (and possibly myoglobin) in the vials."
Campbell says Grigoriev told him by email that the "blood" did not even freeze when placed in a museum freezer kept at -17 degrees C. Campbell would like to examine why the substance is not frozen solid at -17 degrees C, noting that he was initially very skeptical about the claim that the supposed blood contains so-called cryoprotectants that have maintained it in a fluid state. He writes:
"Given that the sample is still fluid at -17C indicates that it is in a "supercooled" state, as we expect blood and other body fluids to freeze at about -0.6C. Many insects (and some vertebrates) are able to avoid freezing at far colder temperatures via the expression of antifreeze peptides/glycoproteins and (largely carbohydrate based) cryoprotectants, which can dramatically lower the supercooling point (roughly equivalent with the freezing point). If mammoth blood had this trait, they would be the only known mammalian example of this to my knowledge (however, the abdomens of arctic ground squirrels have been shown to supercool down to -2.9C, though the mechanism allowing this ability is still unknown [I think]). At any rate, I highly (very highly) doubt that circulating mammoth blood was able to supercool to -17C-though it is worth testing the samples to see why they are still "fluid". For instance, maybe they did have some sort of cryoprotectant (arctic ground squirrels certainly seem to), and this became concentrated during the long period of preservation. Conversely, maybe they had absolutely no "antifreezes" and instead most of the water in the sample was taken up by the surrounding ice, such that the remaining "blood" became extremely concentrated-which would lower its freezing point. Alternatively, perhaps the sample was contaminated by ice-living bacteria which secreted cryoprotectants, or maybe there is some other explanation? Another question is how were these samples preserved in this state for so long? Also, why, given the many recent mammoth finds, is this the only one (that I know of) with "fluid" blood? Regardless, this-on balance-appears to be a remarkable finding [if of course it is true--and I have no way to assess that at this point] and something worth pursuing."
Both Campbell and Fisher are now in discussions with Grigoriev about studying the new specimen. From the sound of things, these remains may well revolutionize scientists' understanding of mammoth physiology, which would be thrilling indeed. As for resurrecting this long-vanished creature, well, let's hope it doesn't come to that. As my colleagues and I argue in the June issue of Scientific American, de-extinction is a bad idea.
Update 05/30/13 2:00 p.m.: I asked Daniel Fisher about the claim that this new mammoth is the best preserved one yet and how it compares to other finds like the baby mammoth dubbed Lyuba. I also asked him where he stands on the issue of resurrecting the mammoth. Although he was unable to reply to these questions before my deadline, he has since emailed me with this response:
"When we talk about comparative "quality" of preservation, there is a whole spectrum of spatial scales involved, from the gross (in the medical/anatomical sense of the word) morphology of the whole body to the subcellular level. We say that Lyuba is well preserved … and she is … but when digging a little deeper, we say she is the most complete mammoth carcass ever recovered … and in fact, she was ALL THERE, and intact, from her dermis (and some of her woolly coat) to her internal organs. In point of fact, however, she owed this high level of completeness to some chemical and bacterially mediated processes that had affected her tissue, essentially "pickling" it (i.e., this is why she was not scavenged upon initial exposure). As a result, there was some internal breakdown of certain tissues (especially ones including what is called Type 1 collagen), with the result that at the histological and cellular level (extending to her DNA), she is not as well preserved as she would appear from the "outside." In contrast, other specimens, such as Khroma and Yuka, are less intact as whole bodies, but better preserved at the tissue level and below, as they did not undergo this "pickling" process. They simply froze, more or less quickly, following death. This new mammoth would be more like these, except that its quality of preservation also varies from one part of the body to another-it's well preserved in parts of its body, at least at the tissue level and below, and is much more degraded in other parts of its body. Assuming the descriptions are accurate, it might be one of the best preserved at the tissue level, in those areas that are best preserved, but it will take some histological investigation to really demonstrate this.
…My "feeling" about mammoth cloning is that it is not likely to happen anytime soon because of massive gaps in the chain of technical abilities required to achieve this goal and the unfavorable nature of probabilities for even those aspects of the process that we have made some progress in handling. Would I like to see a mammoth, imagining that it were possible? Of course I would!
However, we're talking about complex, social organisms that are what they are (or were what they were) as much because of how they grew up within a family unit as because of their genetic structure. Could we really provide for such an animal, fresh from its surrogate mother? I doubt that we could really do enough in this direction. It's not a matter of food-we can handle that-it's more the whole social environment of the family unit. I'm not sure what we would learn from such an experiment, or what bearing it would really have on the lives of "real" mammoths. And finally, doing anything like this requires choices, selection among priorities, and with all the conservation challenges we face, let alone other problems, I'm not sure that this goal deserves first place among our alternatives. I'm sure there will be other arguments in favor of the effort, arguments citing tangential benefits and such, but for all I want to learn about the lives of mammoths, I have more confidence in our ability to generate new knowledge from the fossil record than in our ability to learn from cloned mammoths."
© 2013 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Статья об инновационной стратегии России из блога известного французского экономиста и аналитика Жака Сапира.
Une des questions posée lors de la tenue du premier « Russian-Swiss Innovation Day », organisé à l'initiative de M. Frederik Paulsen, le consul honoraire de Russie, a été de comprendre la dynamique de constitution de « districts d'innovation » dans l'économie d'un pays.
 A. Marshall, Elements of Economics of Industry, Londres, Macmillan, 1900.
 G. Becattini, (ed.), Mercato et forze locali : il distretto industriale, Bologne, Il Mulino, 1987 ; et G. Benko et A. Lipietz, (dirs.), Les régions qui gagnent, Paris, PUF, 1992.
 Rochet, Claude, 2007, L'innovation, une affaire d'Etat, L'harmattan, Paris.
 Bloomberg : Medvedev Associate Flees Russia Ahead of Prosecution. À noter que S. Guriev sera au début juin l'invité du CERI-FNSP, institution qui pourrait être embarrassée s'il s'avérait que des poursuites criminelles étaient engagées contre ce conférencier…
Ces « districts », tels qu'ils se sont constitués tant aux États-Unis, en Chine, en France, ou en Suisse regroupent de prestigieuses universités, des laboratoires tant publics que privés, et des entreprises qui vont de la start-up jusqu'à la multinationale en passant par l'entreprise de taille moyenne. La dynamique de constitution de tels « districts », pour reprendre le terme utilisé par Alfred Marshall à propos des districts industriels, repose sur la dimension collective de la connaissance accumulée sur un micro-territoire. Une partie de cette connaissance est explicite. Elle implique que des ponts soient constitués entre des disciplines différentes, que l'on soit dans le domaine des sciences de la nature ou dans celui des sciences sociales. C'est ce qui explique que ces « districts d'innovation » soient en général constitués autour de grandes institutions universitaires multidisciplinaires qui assurent l'existence d'un vivier, tant par les professeurs que par les étudiants avancés et les post-doctorants, pour l'innovation. Mais une partie de la connaissance collective est implicite. Elle s'incarne dans des règles de fonctionnement maîtrisées par le plus grand nombre, et qui organisent la coopération nécessaire à la constitution des projets innovants.
Elle implique aussi un soutien important de l'État, que ce soit par des crédits de recherches (qui constituent la quasi-totalité du financement de la recherche fondamentale et une bonne partie du financement de la recherche appliquée) ou par la création d'un contexte favorable à l'investissement. Ce contexte nécessite que des mesures soient prises pour favoriser le financement des entreprises naissantes (et ceci peut aller de la constitutions d'institutions financières spécialisées à la politique monétaire en général), mais aussi que le marché de ces innovations soit protégé, ce qui passe par des politiques protectionnistes.
L'innovation implique donc un ensemble complexe de mesures et de politiques, et c'est pourquoi on peut parler de stratégie d'innovation.
Le « modèle Skolkovo », de l'ascension à la chute ?
Pourtant, ce n'était pas sur ce modèle de création d'un district d'innovation que la Russie, à l'époque de la Présidence de D. Medvedev, comptait pour développer l'innovation, mais au contraire sur une création ex nihilo. Annoncé à grands sons de trompes, le projet de création d'une « Silicon Valley à la russe » autour d'un obscur institut de gestion, le projet Skolkovo avait drainé des capitaux considérables. On a parlé de 5 à 8 milliards de dollars. Ce projet est aujourd'hui fameux pour plusieurs scandales de corruption et détournement de fonds. Il semble aujourd'hui avoir été sensiblement réduit. Le recteur de la New School of Economics, S. Guriev, un homme réputé proche de D. Medvedev, à d'ailleurs quitté précipitamment la Russie alors que se multiplient les enquêtes et les procédures judiciaires autour du projet Skolkovo. La réalité du projet s'avère bien décevante. On compte actuellement selon M. Mikhaïl Myagkov, le vice-Président de l'institut de Skolkovo, trente-huit étudiants à Skolkovo et l'on en attend en 2018 au plus deux mille. À titre de comparaison l'École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, qui est l'une des institutions autour desquelles s'est développé un « district d'innovation » particulièrement dynamique, en compte plus de 4000 et ceci en plus de 2500 chercheurs à plein temps. Or, l'EPFL est loin d'être la seule institution universitaire de la région de Lausanne ou l'on compte aussi un université fédérale (l'UNIL) et diverses écoles professionnelles. On pourrait imaginer que la Russie s'est enferrée dans un projet sans avenir mais ce n'est, fort heureusement, nullement le cas.
L'innovation en Russie hors de Skolkovo.
En effet, l'innovation en Russie ne se réduit pas au projet Skolkovo, et c'est heureux. L'innovation se développe rapidement dans de très nombreuses villes de Russie à travers la création de Technoparcs et d'incubateurs par toutes les grandes universités d'État et les Écoles Spécialisées Techniques (Vysshaya Shkola qui sont les équivalents de nos Grandes Écoles). Le plus connu est sans nul doute celui de l'université de Novossibirsk, que le séminaire Franco-Russe a eu l'occasion de visiter, mais d'autres existent dans les grands centres universitaires.
Les « grappes » d'innovation sont l'une des principales caractéristiques de ces parcs. Elle sont largement le produit d'une interaction forte entre un potentiel scientifique de grande qualité et des financements, directs ou indirects, de l'État. Les industriels, qu'ils soient russes ou étrangers, d'ailleurs ne s'y trompent pas et développent (ou prennent des participations) des entreprises à côté des parcs et des incubateurs où se constituent ces « grappes » d'innovation.
L'exemple de Novossibirsk est, bien entendu, le plus connu et il s'appuie sur une université de très grande qualité et un centre de recherches qui a été développé dès le temps de l'URSS. Aujourd'hui, on compte plus d'une cinquantaine d'entreprises qui sont d'ores et déjà sorties de l'incubateur pour devenir de prometteuses entreprises de taille moyenne, tant en ce qui concerne l'emploi que la production ou les profits. Le profil de ces entreprises est en lui-même intéressant. On a à la fois des entreprises spécialisées dans la production de logiciels et des entreprises exploitant ce type de savoir faire que ce soit dans la découpe du métal ou dans la plasturgie. Les logiciels de 3-D donnent naissance à de nouvelles machines-outils et des robots de production qui sont capables d'exécuter à l'unité ou en petite série suivant la demande des formes définies par ces logiciels le tout avec une précision pratiquement absolue. À partir de ces formes sont alors réalisées en grande série des pièces par moulage. Dans un certain nombre de cas le démoulage est obtenu par des procédés chimiques. Les applications vont de pièces particulières pour l'industrie, jusqu'à la production d'objets destinés au grand public. Le Ministère de l'Industrie et du Commerce a attiré de nombreuses entreprises étrangères (de l'Allemagne au Japon en passant par la Chine et la Corée) autour des parcs d'innovation, et cela a donné naissance tant au développement de nouvelles capacités de production qu'à celui d'entreprise mixte sur des domaines innovants.
Les pistes de l'innovation.
Un domaine important, et que l'on a tendance à minimiser, est celui des biotechnologies et des sources alternatives d'énergie. De ce point de vue, Madame Ananich, directrice de la coopération stratégique à l'agence russe de l'énergie, a insisté lors de la tenue du premier « Russian-Swiss Innovation Day », organisé le 17 mai dernier à l'initiative de M. Frederik Paulsen, le consul honoraire de Russie, sur le potentiel du secteur agricole russe, tant en ce qui concerne les biomatériaux que pour le développement de formes alternatives d'énergies. Il peut sembler paradoxal, dans un pays largement doté en énergie fossile (pétrole, charbon et gaz) que l'on se préoccupe du développement des énergies alternatives. Mais, les ressources traditionnelles sont géographiquement concentrées alors que la population de la Russie est plus largement dispersée. Les études ont montré l'intérêt de la création de centrales thermiques de petite taille pour fournir de l'énergie de manière décentralisée, en particulier dans le cas des communautés rurales. Ces centrales devraient utiliser les déchets de l'agriculture (la biomasse).
De même, l'utilisation de certains déchets pour alimenter les centrales thermiques est une solution pour les villes. Mme Ananich a développé un point particulièrement important sur ce sujet. On constate en effet que la question du développement des énergies nouvelles va très souvent main dans la main avec celle du traitement des déchets mais aussi celle du traitement de l'eau. On a donc ici un exemple très parlant de la nécessité d'associer différents champs disciplinaires dans le domaine des sciences de la nature (de la biologie à la physique), mais aussi de les relier avec des sciences sociales, comme l'économie (pour une analyse des coûts), la sociologie ou la démographie (pour prévoir la dynamique temporelle de ces communautés).
D'autres exemples ont été fournis, tant par des chercheurs ou des officiels russes que par leurs partenaires suisses. Le développement de l'informatique (autour de l'université que va créer Yandex) et de la simulation ira de pair avec le développement du matériel médical (dans une logique associant l'informatique, l'électronique, la mécanique, mais aussi la médecine et la psychologie). Ceci impliquera le développement d'une mécanique de précision, qui pourrait trouver par la suite d'autres débouchés. Ici encore, on a un bel exemple de ce fameux « penser global » qui est à la base de l'innovation moderne.
Enfin, dans des domaines comme l'énergie nucléaire, l'aéronautique et le spatial de nombreuses entreprises innovantes se développent rapidement. Non seulement le potentiel d'innovation de la Russie est important dans ces domaines, mais les débouchés existent. Les incendies dramatiques de ces trois dernières années ont mis en évidence la nécessité de développer des drones civils, capables de patrouiller de longues heures au-dessus d'étendues très vastes et dotés de capteur infrarouge. Le développement des centrales nucléaires au thorium, filière qui représente l'avenir à vingt-cinq ans de l'énergie nucléaire tant pour des raisons de sécurité que pour des raisons liés aux déchets radioactifs, constituera un autre point clef dans le développement de l'innovation. Dans tous ces domaines, on constate qu'il faudra une association de compétences issues de disciplines et de domaines très différents, association que seuls de grands pôles universitaires sont en mesure de fournir.
La question de la coopération internationale et de l'investissement.
La coopération internationale sur certains de ces projets est déjà largement développée, avec une participation de nombreuses firmes au développement de nouveaux procédés, mais aussi à leur industrialisation. Le directeur du département de l'innovation de Rostekhnologia (entreprise d'État) et le Recteur de l'Institut Baumann de Moscou ont insisté sur les synergies qui se mettent en place depuis plusieurs années entre la recherche fondamentale et le développement d'applications, dont Rostekhnologia assure alors l'industrialisation, soit dans des entreprises à capitaux publics soit dans des entreprises mixtes. À cet égard, l'importance des investissements directs étrangers est capitale, non pas tant en volume rapporté à la taille de l'économie russe, mais dans leur application à des domaines précis. Tout ceci cependant n'aura de sens que si le mouvement des investissements en capital fixe se maintient en Russie. Pour que les innovations se diffusent dans le pays, il faut non seulement que l'investissement se développe, mais que la part de cet investissement qui concerne les équipements industriels ne faiblisse pas. Or, de ce point de vue, la situation tend à se dégrader en Russie.
Graphique 1 Source : ROSSTAT
Alors que la part des équipements avait augmenté régulièrement en Russie de 2000 à 2005, on voit dans le graphique 1 qu'elle régresse depuis 2007 au profit des logements, ce qui peut s'expliquer par les besoins de la population, mais aussi au profit des autres bâtiments, ce qui implique certes des infrastructures (et il y a des besoins évidents de ce point de vue en Russie) mais aussi des investissements de prestige (sièges sociaux des entreprises et bâtiments de luxe). Tant que la part des machines et équipements industriels ne se redressera pas, l'innovation aura du mal à se diffuser en Russie.
La question du développement d'une forte demande pour les produits innovants reste aujourd'hui posée. Il est évident que, sans demande, l'innovation est condamnée à rester au stade du laboratoire ou du prototype. La demande assure la rentabilité des capitaux engagés et, par les espérances de profit qu'elle suscite, attire de nouveaux capitaux vers les secteurs innovants. Cette demande est en réalité multiforme et l'une de ses dimensions importantes, et largement sous-estimée actuellement, est la demande en provenance des branches traditionnelles de l'industrie.
Les exemples qui ont été donnés lors du Russian-Swiss Innovation Day vont dans ce sens et confirment les travaux réalisés par les collègues de l'Institut de Prévision de l'Économie de Moscou. La métallurgie est l'une des activités dont les procédés font de plus en plus appel aux nouvelles technologies et aux nouveaux produits (comme c'est le cas à Tcherepovets chez Severstal site qui fut aussi l'objet d'une visite d'étude par le séminaire Franco-Russe en 2007) que ce soit dans le domaine du contrôle ou de l'automation. La question de la co-génération d'électricité ouvre des perspectives particulièrement intéressantes. De ce point de vue, l'abandon du site de Florange par le gouvernement français pourrait s'apparenter à une bévue majeure. La production d'énergie tout comme l'industrie des matériaux de construction, mais aussi l'industrie du vêtement, sont aussi des branches qui sont déjà ou qui seront, sous peu, de grandes utilisatrices de ces nouvelles technologies.
Il faut donc ici rompre avec une représentation largement idéologique qui veut qu'une nouvelle technologie s'incarne toujours dans une nouvelle activité. Cela peut être le cas, mais, et bien plus souvent qu'on ne le croit, ce sont des branches traditionnelles qui sont les principales utilisatrices de ces nouvelles technologies et de leurs produits. C'est quelque chose qui est compris en Russie où les branches de la métallurgie (ferreuse et non ferreuse), les industries extractives, les industries de transport ont été identifiées comme importantes pour l'innovation. On voit ici que le discours de la substitution des activités dites « anciennes » par des activités dites « nouvelles » s'avère profondément trompeur. Pour que l'innovation puisse se développer, il faut maintenir, et donc accepter d'en payer le prix, des activités dites « traditionnelles » qui produiront leurs produits avec des techniques complètement renouvelées. On peut tenter de mesurer cette demande à travers les investissements de certaines branches sélectionnées.
Graphique 2 Source : ROSSTAT
On retient (graphique 2) deux catégories de branches, celles où des produits innovants peuvent être fabriqués et celles ou ces mêmes produits pourraient être utilisés. On voit que les investissements dans la première catégorie (qui comprend la Bureautique et l'informatique, les machines électriques, les composants radios et les équipements médicaux) connaissent des taux d'investissement plus élevés que la moyenne, mais aussi plus heurtés. Ces à-coups peuvent avoir des conséquences néfastes, tout comme ils peuvent être engendrés par le cycle de création/destruction des entreprises. Pour la seconde catégorie, si la métallurgie semble marquer le pas, la chimie connaît visiblement un fort mouvement des investissements ainsi que les branches liées aux industries extractives. Il est donc pensable que ces industries puissent constituer un marché potentiel pour les produits innovants.
Le potentiel d'innovation existe donc en Russie, et il commence à être exploité. Il ne faudrait donc pas que Skolkovo devienne l'arbre qui masque la forêt. L'innovation se développe rapidement en Russie porté par les grandes universités, par la demande des entreprises, mais aussi par une demande publique soutenue. Il est clair que Skolkovo ne jouera pas le rôle de pivot que souhaitait le gouvernement en raison des problèmes qui entourent la conception même du projet.
L'innovation ne se décrète donc pas et ne naît pas de gens qui crieraient en sautant sur les chaises « innovons, innovons… ». Elle ne se décrète pas non plus par la constitution d'agences publiques spécialisées ciblant un domaine particulier, même si elle peut nécessiter la constitution d'institutions financières adaptées. Elle implique de penser globalement la politique économique et le système de recherche et d'éducation. Elle implique aussi de maintenir un tissu économique équilibré afin d'assurer la demande, et donc le cas échéant de sauver des entreprises et des activités qu'un raisonnement à courte vue condamnerait. Elle implique enfin de penser le financement dans toute sa complexité, et d'assurer que les instruments microéconomiques mais aussi macroéconomiques (et au premier plan la politique monétaire) soient cohérents avec cette politique. Elle implique un engagement constant de l'État sur l'ensemble de ses moyens. Rien de tout cela n'est aisé, et certains de ces instruments pourraient se révéler contradictoires avec les règles actuelles de l'Union européenne. C'est sans doute pourquoi le gouvernement russe poursuit activement aujourd'hui très activement la Zone d'Intégration Économique de l'Eurasie (avec le projet de zone de libre-échange entre la Russie, le Bélarus et le Kazakhstan), mais aussi développe ses relations avec les institutions économiques qui se sont développées dans zone Asie-Pacifique.
© 2013 Le carnet de Jacques Sapir sur la Russie et l'Europe - blogs de Marianne - Droits de reproduction réservés.
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