Bioindustry 2012 and ‘Innovative Biotechnologies in the Countries of the Eurasian Economic Community
Biotechnology is a foundation for the innovative development of the Russian economy. Such is the opinion of the speakers at the opening ceremony of Bioindustry 2012 and the Innovative Biotechnology in the Countries of the Eurasian Economic Community international scientific conference, which took place on 11 October at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex.
Exhibitors and visitors were welcomed by the Scientific Director of the exhibition, Igor Tikhonovich, Director of the All-Russia Research Institute for Agricultural Microbiology RAAS and Fellow of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences; Vladimir Debabov, Scientific Director of the Genetica State Research Institute for Genetics and Selection of Industrial Microorganisms, Fellow of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Emilia Kolomiets, Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus; Leonid Chervyakov, First Pro-Rector of South-West State University and representative of the Ministry of Education and Science; and Sergei Voronkov, Executive Director of ExpoForum, the exhibition organiser.
The speakers remarked on the significance of biotechnology in the modern world. According to Vladimir Debabov, natural energy resources will be exhausted in the foreseeable future. It is innovative biotechnologies which can then be called on to form a so-called bioeconomy. Emilia Kolomiets stressed the importance of exhibitions such as Bioindustry, where Belarusian scientists and manufacturers were able to show their innovative developments for the first time. The Eurasian Economic Community Innovative Technologies programme, of which Kolomiets is Director, played a significant role in this. Sergei Voronkov, Executive Director of ExpoForum, added that this exhibition was three times larger than the previous one: there are around 200 unique innovations on show, 80 of which are ready for industrial and commercial use. “This exhibition mirrors the economy”, he noted. “Today, Bioindustry, now a fully-fledged congress and exhibition, can meet any modern economic challenges.”
At the ‘Condition and Prospects for Developing the Bioindustry in Russia and the Countries of the Eurasian Economic Community’ press conference, Igor Tikhonovich, Scientific Director of Bioindustry 2012, told the audience that the USSR had supplied approximately 30% of the global market for goods produced using biotechnology. “Unfortunately, for Russia today that figure is no more than 2%”, he added. “Therefore, it could be said that this sector is, basically, in an embryonic state.” One issue which Tikhonovich singled out as a matter of priority, and which Bioindustry 2012 could help to resolve, was the revival of biotechnological production, not only as an important factor in producing, for example, unique medicines, but also in solving the problem of food security. “In today’s world, food security issues are of paramount importance”, he noted. “About one billion people do not have access to elementary foodstuffs. At the same time, it should be remembered that approximately one third of all agricultural products goes to waste.”
Following her colleague’s speech, Emilia Kolomiets explained how the Republic of Belarus is currently implementing five state programmes to support the biotechnology industry. In addition, a presidential decree is being drawn up which would give the Academy of Sciences of Belarus the functions of an executive agency, monitoring the development of the sector. “I am very pleased that the Eurasian Economic Community Innovative Biotechnologies programme can help coordinate the work of Russian and Belarusian scientists and manufacturers, so that our countries’ economies can compete with foreign markets”, she added.
Drawing the press conference to a conclusion, Debabov also stressed the paramount importance of developing bioindustry. “In the world today, there is a strong tendency to switch from petrochemicals to renewable biological sources. At the same time, biotechnology is developing two to three times faster than chemicals.” According to experts, it is vital to bring innovation in bioindustry up to international standards, meaning production costs would be slashed, not only in agriculture, but also in industry, pharmaceuticals, and other areas of the economy.
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