Belarus introduced a five-day visa-free travel for citizens of 80 countries on 12 February.
The plan of action is a so-called roadmap for the maximum involvement of the scientific sector as the most important driving force of the country's social and economic development in promoting Belarus' competitive ability on the global market.
This section of the National Science and Technology Portal of the Republic of Belarus has been conceived by its developers as a virtual meeting place for researchers – compatriots working in Belarus and abroad for exchanging ideas, experience and best practices of international cooperation.
Where does this idea originate from?
Thousands of Belarusian researchers have been working currently all over the world. Most of researchers – expatriates have reached deserved positions in universities and research centers in industrialized countries. No doubts, many of them are interested in developing cooperation with their colleagues from Belarus. Some of them do cooperate already in different ways — joint projects and publications, participation in conferences, delivering lectures, etc. For the rest, the interest is just of a potential character.
Nowadays, many countries, including Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, as well as European states and European Union as a whole put efforts in establishing connections between researchers – compatriots. However, the same movement in Belarus is not an attempt to follow the fashion. According to the Center for monitoring the migration of research and pedagogical staff, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the total number of researchers and university lecturers emigrated from Belarus within 1996-2009 is 900 persons. In average, it makes 60-65 persons annually, including 3-4 doctors of sciences and 20-25 candidates of sciences. During the last years this index is constantly decreasing with only 44 persons left in 2009. The figure mentioned above is “full” emigrates, other words, people who have lost Belarusian citizenship. The number of those who have been working abroad for a long time without abandonment of citizenship could be defined just approximately. By experts’ opinion, it’s something around 4-5 thous. Taking into consideration these figures, we consider Belarusian scientific diaspora to be a substantial intellectual resource for Belarus. Its representatives have got a significant creative potential and are capable to influence the development of the science and economy not only in a state of the current residence but also in the country of origin.
Our overall goal is to promote establishing and enlarging of scientific and information interconnections between researchers – compatriots working abroad and Belarus research community. The National Program of Demographic Security of the Republic of Belarus for 2011-2015 and the Action plan on external migration in favor of Belarus adopted by the Decree of the President of Belarus of 11 August 2011 ¹ 357 do prove that addressing the diaspora is both timely and urgent.
Before talking about expanding connections with diaspora, it’s necessary to identify it – to find expatriates and Belarusian experts working abroad for long time, develop an appropriate data base, clarify their position about collaboration with Belarus and invite for a dialogue. Identification of diaspora is one of the tasks within the project “Analyzing opportunities and developing measures and instruments for expanding international science, technology and innovation cooperation with researchers – expatriates” which is carried out in 2011-2012 by the Belarusian Institute of System Analysis and Information Support of Scientific and Technical Sphere upon the request of the State Committee for Science and Technology of Belarus. The research team working out the project includes experts of the Center for monitoring the migration of research and pedagogical staff, Institute of Sociology, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.
More details about the project are available in the press-release.
We’ve started to develop a data base (in russian) on researchers – compatriots who have left Belarus forever and/or have been working abroad for a long time. To register in the data base, the minimum information is required – name, place of work and position, country of residence, short description of scientific interests. We offer those who are interested to register here. Also, we would be grateful to the visitors for disseminating the information about the resource among partners and colleagues.
Internet-questionnaire of researchers – compatriots working abroad
Dear researcher – compatriot,
Your personal view on the opportunities of enlarging cooperation with your colleagues in Belarus, as well as on the most prospective forms of collaboration is of utmost importance for us. We propose you to share your thoughts by filling in the questionnaire. Your opinion will be taken into consideration in recommendations on attracting researchers – compatriots working abroad for expanding the mutually beneficial cooperation that we have to elaborate and present to the Government of the Republic of Belarus.
Some research teams and individual researchers in our country do keep close contacts with their former colleagues engaged in research abroad. This experience is essential for understanding the driving forces of such collaboration, defining the most popular mechanisms, considering the interests of the both parties and other aspects which worth to consider while developing the concrete measures and actions for promotion of the cooperation. Therefore, a special questionnaire is being developed at the moment for interviewing national research teams. It will be uploaded soon in this section and become available for our users willing to share their experience and ideas. In parallel, the questionnaire will be forwarded to heads of some selected teams active in international S&T collaboration.
Everything you find out in this section is part of a pilot project, absolutely new for Belarus. Please, address your ideas and suggestions on improving and further developing of the project to email@example.com.