After holidays workdays come

Organization, 06 April 2018

We are glad to offer you to get acquianted with the interview with JINR Vice-Director Professor M.G. Itkis about conference proceeding and decisions of the official part of the session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries of the Governments of the JINR Member States that was held on 27 March 2017.

– Mikhail Grigorievich, after holidays always work days come. On 27 March, JINR Plenipotentiaries started discussion of business issues of the agenda.

– This session, traditionally joint with celebration of the JINR Foundation Day, is marked by a more calm atmosphere in comparison with the previous session in November as far as the budget is approved, and we report on the last year budget. This year, it was easy to report on the budget for a simple reason: the budget of 2017 was implemented by all the Member States, and we had no difficulties with funding except for irregular payments of membership fees. The Laboratories actively worked, particularly in the second half of the year. Judging by the reports delivered by JINR Director V.A. Matveev and JINR Chief Accountant S.N. Dotsenko, the most important tasks dedicated to development of the scientific infrastructure and promotion of major projects were overfulfilled.

From the Protocol of the session of the JINR Committee of Plenipotentiaries: Having appreciated highly the Director’s report, the Committee recognized the significant amount of high-quality physics results obtained by JINR scientists in 2017 at home facilities of the Institute as well as at external accelerators, reactors and in various collaborations.

At this session, complicated issues concerning comments on the audit milestones were discussed. These issues were connected with particular regulations, value added tax, for example, how it should be considered and etc. This story is old and is now at the stage of processing. These issues were the subject of discussion at meetings of the JINR Finance Committee preceding the session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries and at the session itself as well. Nevertheless, instructions are given, we are obliged to suggest our ideas until June, and then we will come to some final decisions.

As far as Russia and Kazakhstan have payed a part of their debt back, we now have quite a large balance. We allocated a sum of 19 million dollars out of this balance to the NICA project and 40 million dollars to the JINR Directorate reserves. Questions were posed about things this reserve will be spent for. The following answer was given: for implementation of the projects, for financial regulations. This issue will be discussed at the meeting of the JINR Directorate on 5 April, and we will request the Laboratories’ Directorates to outline their comprehensive plans for implementation of this balance. The IBR-2, neutrino programmes at Baikal and the Kalinin Nuclear Power Station, the Superheavy elements Factory, modernization of old accelerators, radiobiology programmes, i.e. all variety of issues will be considered depending on the extent of validity of the laboratories’ offers. It is a pleasure that we have such an opportunity. It means that all the Laboratories work as usual but a possibility for additional tasks was found.

From the Protocol of the session of the JINR Committee of Plenipotentiaries: To welcome the efforts undertaken by the LIT Directorate for the development of Information Technology at JINR, amongst others to support the Laboratory’s initiative to create a unified cloud infrastructure with JINR participating countries based on the Supercomputer.

Another pleasing moment highly appreciated by the session participants was presentation of the supercomputer. It is necessary to do justice to the LIT Directorate and staff members in this respect. The supercomputer was developed in short terms: it took only 2 months from its delivery to bringing into operation. Everyone highly appreciated a comprehensive and intelligible report by LIT Director V.V. Korenkov.

From the Protocol of the session of the JINR Committee of Plenipotentiaries: With a view to ensuring the proper financing of JINR’s activities, to complete the transition period stipulated in the Financial Protocol to the JINR Charter by 1 January 2020. To commission the JINR Directorate to prepare the draft Procedure for the offset of the cost of supplies of equipment, instruments, materials, services and individual work on the Institute’s orders against payments of the Member States’ contributions, by 1 June 2018 for consideration at the next meeting of the Working Group for JINR Financial Issues under the CP Chairman.

Supplies from the JINR Member States is a quite complicated issue that was touched upon at the session. There is an established practice for most of the Member States: membership fees are payed to the Institute, and then, depending on facility requests, we make orders by tendering. There are states, Belarus for example, that pay a part of the membership fees, procurement being the other part. Such a scheme was established long ago, in the, so-called, transition period. However, it should be now finished and a common approach is needed. Efforts should be made, of course, not to do harm to cooperation.

From the Protocol of the session of the JINR Committee of Plenipotentiaries: To commission the JINR Directorate to finalize and enact the Regulation for the programmes of cooperation between JINR and scientific organizations of the Member States by 1 June 2018.

We have such joint programmes not with all the Members States because some of them pay little fees that defray only direct expenses. We will work at this issue as far as a common approach should be achieved, and the states are ready for discussions. We have many years of experience in cooperation with different states, but we need to unify it somehow. I mean those 12 % we annually consider in frames of the JINR Topical Plan. Nevertheless, there is a difference in approach to it, and not all countries participate in it. Belarus expressed its special opinion on this issue, we understand why, but…

Situation with Ukraine was not discussed at this session, but we need to take particular steps, to seek common grounds. At the previous session, we reported on start of work in this direction, but it is now far from perfection.

Then, membership of the JINR Scientific Council was discussed, this issue was well prepared. JINR Chief Scientific Secretary reported on elections for the Scientific Council. 20 %, if not a quarter, of the SC membership was renewed, and now acquaintance with new members is expected. Due to the expiry of vocational powers, the Committee of Plenipotentiaries expressed gratitude to the previous SC members for their great work in 2013-2018. The Committee affirmed a new SC membership for the next five years.

From the Protocol of the session of the JINR Committee of Plenipotentiaries: Regarding the report “Endorsement of the appointment to positions of JINR ViceDirectors” presented by V. Matveev, Director of JINR, the Committee of Plenipotentiaries resolves: to endorse the appointment of Richard Lednický as Vice-Director of JINR until the end of 2021, to entrust the Leader of the NICA Project, Vladimir Kekelidze, to execute partially the powers of JINR’s Vice-Director until the end of 2021 with the continuation of his work as Director of the V. Veksler and A. Baldin Laboratory of High Energy Physics, whose term of office expires in September 2019, to prolong for one year the right granted to JINR Director V. Matveev to extend the term of office or to assign temporary duties of JINR Vice-Directors, including to other persons, until their official approval by the Committee of Plenipotentiaries.

The Delegation from the Czech Republic expressed their special opinion: such decision causes imbalance between different scientific directions of JINR activities in the JINR Directorate, but I do not find these viewpoints principal. Of course, the task of renewal is set, and it will be resolved. Moreover, last year, it was offered to open a position of the fourth JINR Vice-Director who would be responsible for international cooperation with JINR Members States.

From the Protocol of the session of the JINR Committee of Plenipotentiaries. To approve the revised budget of JINR for the year 2018 with the total income and expenditure amounting to US$268.79 million.

No objections were expressed to the approved budget. The discussion at the meeting of the JINR Finance Committee concerned mostly the following problem: starting from what sum JINR would be obliged to inform the JINR Member States quarterly about changes in the JINR budget.

– At the previous session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries, the protocol claimed (the citation): “Increase of expenses for the staff presupposes rise of the payroll (in rubles) of 18 % and change of methods of expanses planning on stimulating staff members employed in the Institute’s priority scientific projects. The aim to increase the payroll of the JINR staff members: increase of attractiveness of the Institute for highly qualified specialists, ensuring competitive wages”. How will it influence real increase of wages of the staff?

– Everyone already knows that according to the JINR host country inflation, indexation is 2,5 %, jointly with increase of salary increase it will be 10,5 %. This year, 5,5 % is allotted for premium income. So, we are now discussing it and preparing for salary increase. I think the increase will be 15% on average apart from quarter bonuses. In real terms, it will be even higher. So, it will be a considerable sum. We will do our best to finalize all the documents so that our employees will get new salaries in May.

– The next session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries is set on 19 – 20 November 2018 in Romania on proposal of Plenipotentiary of this country Florin-Dorian Buzatu. How will you comment on this decision?

– It is true that participants of the session accepted the proposal of the Romanian colleague, and in November, we will meet in Bucharest. I would like to remind you that the first guest meeting was held in Astana, Kazakhstan, and then in Krakow and Minsk. I hope that our meeting in Bucharest will be as much fruitful as previous guest sessions.

– And I would like to remind you the words with which JINR Vice-Director G.V. Trubnikov concluded his comment on the Krakow session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries in 2016: “It is very good and positive practice, a good sign for all politicians and scientists.”

Evgeny Molchanov, JINR Weekly Newspaper
Photo by Elena Puzynina, Igor Lapenko, JINR Scientific Information Department