The following article was contributed by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed.
By Shahlo Kamaladinova, Leading Researcher of the Information and Analytical Center for International Relations
The deepening of scientific and technical cooperation in the SCO area seems to be a particularly important and promising area of the Organization's activity. The scientific and technical cooperation of the SCO member states is aimed primarily at improving the well-being of people and raising their standard of living.
In this context, it is worth emphasizing the scientific, technical and innovative potential of the SCO member states in increasing the volume of contributions to world science. For example, India came in third in terms of the number of publications in prestigious international scientific journals.
It is also among the top 50 innovative economies in the world. In turn, in 2021, China's R&D (research and development) spending amounted to 2 trillion 790 billion Chinese yuan, which is 2.4 percent of the country's GDP. In the world innovation rating of the World Intellectual Property Organization, China, occupying the 14th position in the world, joined the ranks of "innovative countries". Also, since 2010, Russia has been implementing the Megagrant program of international cooperation between Russian universities and scientific organizations. Since the launch, 315 laboratories have been created and are operating on the basis of more than 130 scientific educational institutions with the participation of leading scientists from 36 countries of the world.
Uzbekistan, being an important participant in the regional and international agenda in the field of science and technology, is in favor of intensifying cooperation in the field of science, technology and innovation in the space of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
At the Sixth Meeting of the Heads of Ministries and Departments of Science and Technology of the SCO Member States, held on April 8 this year in Tashkent, our country came up with a number of initiatives and proposals in support of the plans of the SCO Member States in the field of science and technology for 2022-2025.
Thus, in order to transform the Aral Sea region from the zone of ecological and humanitarian crisis into the zone of environmental innovations and technologies, as well as the large-scale introduction of resource-saving, "green" and circular (wasteless, regenerative and efficient) modern innovative technologies, Uzbekistan proposes cooperation in the development of the program "Innovations for the Aral Sea region.
Uzbekistan, in turn, takes the initiative to create a common collection "Flora of the SCO Member States" based on the introduction of a new digital model for automatic recognition of all types of rare and endangered plants in remote regions of the Organization's member states using artificial intelligence. This will serve not only to accelerate research, but also to save endangered plant species. In addition, our country proposes the development and implementation of a joint scientific program "Green Energy" to combat climate change, especially to reduce the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, holding the first Digital Fair of innovative technologies of the SCO member states.
Initiatives to promote youth in science are supported by the leaders of the member states of the association. Therefore, in order to support innovation and enhance participation in international scientific events of young scientists and specialists of the Member States of the Organization, Uzbekistan proposes to establish an award in the field of science and technology, which will be awarded for a significant contribution to the development of science and technology to stimulate further research of candidates for this awards, creating favorable conditions for new scientific discoveries and innovative achievements.
At the same time, it should be emphasized that President Shavkat Mirziyoyev pays great attention to supporting scientific and innovative activities.
We adopted the Strategy for Innovative Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2019-2021, and after a five-year break, Uzbekistan is again included in the Global Innovation Index in 2020, in which the republic ranked 86th in 2021. A significant event was the adoption of the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On science and scientific activity” and “On innovation activity”. Last year, the Concept for the Development of Science until 2030 was adopted, which defines the foundations for the country's scientific and innovative development in the medium and long term.
Currently, about 700 projects are being implemented for a total of $85 million. Mechanisms for the commercialization of scientific and innovative activities are also being introduced. On the basis of developments, science-intensive products worth $12 million were produced. A system for financing start-up projects has been introduced, based on support at the initial stage and readiness to enter the market.
Further promotion of scientific and technical cooperation and interaction in the field of innovation, both in a multilateral format and by the participating countries, are identified as important priorities for the chairmanship of Uzbekistan in the SCO.
The approval of the Action Plan for scientific and technical cooperation in priority areas, submitted to the Samarkand summit on September 15-16, is an important step in promoting multilateral cooperation.