At the equator of the seven-year period
News, 26 June 2020
On 19 June, the session of the Committee of Plenipotentiary Representatives of the Governments of the JINR Member States was held as a teleconference. The very format of the session of the supreme governing body of the Institute, the uncrowded conference hall, all days of the Institute’s life preceding the event largely determined the content of the welcoming speech by the Director.
“It is the first in the JINR history session of the Committee of Plenipotentiary Representatives held remotely,” JINR Director Academician V. A. Matveev opened the session. “Objective reasons related to the pandemic, the new coronavirus infection, forced us to reschedule the CP session previously planned for March and hold it as a video conference. Of course, various scenarios were worked out for this event. As a result, it was decided to hold the session in a shortened format. To preserve the informative part as much as possible, we have preliminary published an expanded list of materials about the issues proposed for discussion, including presentations of reports that will not be presented due to the shortened format of the event. Some issues have been agreed upon with plenipotentiary representatives in advance by correspondence. It allowed us to take the necessary decisions.
We consider our today’s session as the first large-scale event at JINR after the restrictions imposed by the pandemic were significantly, if not fully, eased. In the nearest future, a meeting of the Programme Advisory Committees will be held the dates of which have not been changed. However, it was decided to hold them online.
I should note that since the very first days of emerging of alarming information about the spread of the new dangerous coronavirus infection the JINR Directorate paid special attention to this problem. The Institute has established the Operational Headquarters for preventing the spread of the coronavirus infection and ensuring the safety of the staff. We carefully monitor the epidemiological situation in our city and region, in the Member States and in partner organizations of the Institute. We try to flexibly respond to the changing situation and take necessary measures in time to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection among JINR employees.
We find it crucially important to organize professional and operational support from medical institutions of Dubna to our employees, especially those who have come from the Member States or other countries, as well as to their family members. It is important to organize voluntary help to those employees who are on quarantine by efforts of our friendly Association of Young Scientists and Specialists. And of course ,we try to regularly inform the staff of the situation with the pandemic in Dubna, the Moscow region, of the working regime of the Institute, rules and necessary security measures adopted by administrative bodies of the country of the Institute’s location and the Moscow region.
Today, the doors of many our partner organizations are reopening after some restrictions are lifted. I am sure that our partners from large-scale scientific centres that possess like us continuously operating facilities faced such problems and solved similar tasks. We had an opportunity to use experience of our strategic partner, namely the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
The first steps towards resumption of the full operation of our Institute have been already made. Others are at the preparation stage. We will further work on step-by-step resumption of our activities along with constant monitoring of the current epidemiological situation.”
On behalf of the Directorate, V. A. Matveev welcomed Plenipotentiary Representative of the Government of Russia at JINR, Minister of Science and Higher Education of Russia V. N. Falkov: “We are happy to see you, Valery Nikolaevich, as a participant of the session of the supreme governing body of JINR.” Then, the JINR Director asked the Minister to take the chair of the CP chairman.
In his report, V. A. Matveev presented scientific results of the Institute in the key JINR research fields obtained since the previous CP session in Hanoi (November 2019). JINR Director also informed participants of the session about the measures taken at the Institute to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection as well as to ensure operation of the Institute being a continuously operating organization. He highlighted that work on the NICA accelerator complex continued during the entire period of the Institute’s special working regime.
In the report special attention was paid to the development of the strategic plan of the Institute’s development until 2030: “Development of JINR as an international intergovernmental scientific and research organization is highlighted as an additional section and is currently the focus of four working groups: on social policy, personal and educational development as well as the intellectual potential development; on social and engineering infrastructure; on improvement of legal and administrative functions of the Institute; on international relations and attracting new Member States. We have always believed that when working out the plans for the development of the experimental basis, research programmes for the future seven-year period and further, we should also think over how to improve the entire complex work of the Institute in parallel. Working groups are engaged in it, and the results will be presented at the next session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries…”
It is also noted in the report that it is necessary to pay special attention to so-called cross-cutting programmes in the long-term strategic planning. These are joint inter-laboratory programmes in the fields of fundamental and applied studies, especially in the frames of the JINR large-scale projects. This will allow establishing necessary links between particular blocks of the long-term planning, which will play an important role in consolidating the scientific programme of the Institute as a single scientific centre.
The Directorate finds it very important to focus on the programme of outrunning provision of unique basic facilities with highly qualified personnel in the second period of the current seven-year period, i.e. in 2020 – 2023. To retain and attract the best and in-demand specialists from all over the world, it is necessary to establish competitive payment conditions as well as to ensure attractive living conditions for them in Dubna. The Directorate believes that increasing the level of remuneration for highly qualified scientists and specialists will be an effective tool for the development of human capital necessary for successful implementation of the long-term JINR development strategy.
According to the CP instructions, the JINR Directorate analyzed salaries by categories of the staff from January to ¬December 2019 taking into account payments from the JINR budget. In the category “scientific staff”, the JINR average salary is 89,627 rubles (from junior to chief researchers). In the category “specialists”, the average salary at JINR is 69,882 rubles (from technicians and laboratory assistants to engineers). It should be noted in this regard that the average salary in the Moscow region as a region of JINR location in the same period is 56,000 rubles. It means that the minimum salary aim of the seven-year JINR plan for 2017 – 2023 indicating the average salary of at least 200 percent of the regional salary has not been achieved yet. In other words, the average salary of JINR researchers should be at least 112,000 rubles this year.
Each Member State has its own idea of necessary remuneration level worthy to send its leading specialists for work at JINR. Of course, all other aspects such as social conditions etc. are also important, and the Directorate has always paid special attention to it. Basing on the analysis of the achieved salary level at JINR, complex and large-scale scientific and technical tasks the Institute is facing, as well as realizing the necessity to ensure the attractiveness of the Institute for young and talented scientists from all over the world, the JINR Directorate offered to establish a fund to stimulate highly qualified employees in the frames of the updated budget for 2020. The idea received support from numerous Plenipotentiary Representatives of the Government of the JINR Member States. The strategy for using the fund will be based, in particular, on the following principal aspects. Firstly, incentive payments will be provided to the most active and qualified specialists, primarily to researchers, engineers, technicians and managers working effectively in the key research fields of the Institute’s plans. The fund should be centralized thus allowing the JINR Directorate to provide flexible and rapid response to the changing tasks and priorities of its application…
Then, the reporter assessed publication activity of the Institute and noted, in particular, that the number of scientific papers published by JINR employees in cooperation with scientists from the JINR Member States had increased. The progress in implementation of the JINR flagship projects was analyzed. Active participation of the Institute in organization and holding the International Year of the Periodic Table was noted. The report highlighted recent interesting results obtained in the Institute’s laboratories, success in further development of the JINR educational programme aimed to train students and postgraduates as well as school students and physics teachers.
The traditional part of the report dedicated to the development of international cooperation of the Institute reflected meetings of coordination committees (CERN, Germany, France and others) and new contacts (Saudi Arabia, India, Serbia).
By way of conclusion, V. A. Matveev said: “In 2021, our Institute will celebrate its 65th anniversary. We have already started drafting a plan of events dedicated to this significant date. Thematic exhibitions, conferences and other events dedicated to the event are planned. Of course, we will create plans taking into account the changing epidemiological situation in Russia and in partner countries. But we sincerely hope that we will manage to overcome the pandemic and implement all the plans… We really hope that our colleagues in the Member States will participate in drafting this programme. In particular, we wanted to focus our attention on the benefits of the Institute for the development of science and education of our Member States.”
Participants of the session considered information presented by JINR Vice-Director R. Lednický about the selection of an audit organization for auditing JINR’s financial activities for 2019. The CP agreed with the proposal of the competition committee supported by the JINR Directorate to entrust the audit to the “Korsakov and partners” company.
The draft of the Staff Regulation of JINR was presented by JINR Assistant Director for Human Resources A. V. Ruzaev. He noted that this project was considered at the meetings of the working group under the CP Chairman in 2017 – 2019, discussed at STC JINR meetings in parallel, at meetings of heads of national groups of employees from the Member States. At the CP session in Hanoi in November 2019, the JINR Directorate received the written approval of the document from the Plenipotentiary Representatives of 15 JINR Member States. The speaker described the content of similar documents in force in international organizations: CERN, IAEA, ILIASA and others. In total, about 20 documents regulating relations with the staff of mainly international organizations were analyzed. All the documents drafted at JINR on the topic are planned to be published on the Institute’s website. The following conclusions may be drawn from this work, which included the maximum consideration of all opinions: members of the group managed to take critical look at the entire system of JINR documents related to the staff as well as to identify the existing gaps and key problems.
V. A. Matveev informed the participants about the endorsement of appointment of JINR Vice-Directors. The Committee of Plenipotentiaries took note of information presented by him about the written approval by the Plenipotentiary Representatives of the decisions on forming the Institute’s Directorate and the endorsement of appointments of the First Vice-Director G. V. Trubnikov and Vice-Directors S. N. Dmitriev and B. Yu. Sharkov.
JINR Chief Scientific Secretary A. S. Sorin proposed on behalf of the JINR Directorate to elect Ani Aprahamian, Director of the A. I. Alikhanyan Laboratory (YePI, Yerevan, Armenia), Professor of the Physics Department of the University of Notre Dame (USA) as a Member of the Scientific Council.
The CP members considered the draft Regulations on the Prize of the JINR Committee of Plenipotentiaries developed by the JINR Directorate. The Prize is proposed to promote scientific teams for achievements in research and developments. A. S. Sorin proposed on behalf of the JINR Directorate to award the CP Prize to scientific teams of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions Headed by Yu. Ts. Oganessian for the idea, development and successful implementation of the project of the accelerator complex “Superheavy Element Factory”. The Directorate promotes the team consisting of key employees who have made a considerable contribution to the idea, development and successful implementation of the project of the accelerator complex “Superheavy Element Factory”, as well as staff members who have greatly contributed to the development and successful implementation of the Superheavy Element Factory accelerator complex.
These are leaders of the project: Yu. Ts. Oganessian, FLNR Scientific Leader and Scientific Leader of the project, V. A. Matveev, JINR Director, Chairman of the Coordinating Committee for the creation of the Superheavy Element Factory, S. N. Dmitriev, FLNR Director (at the time of nomination), Leader of the Project, Chairman of the Coordination Council for the creation of the Superheavy Element Factory, G. G. Gulbekian, FLNR Chief Engineer, Technical Leader of the project; as well as leading developers of the project: B. N. Gikal, Technical Leader of the DC-280 cyclotron creation, N. V. Osipov, Head of the Group for development of design documentation for the DC-280 systems, I. V. Kalagin, Head of the Group for assembling and launch of the DC-280 cyclotron, S. L. Bogomolov, Head of the Group for the creation and launch of the ECR source of the DC-280 accelerator complex, S. V. Pashchenko, Head of the Group for the creation and launch of the control system of the DC-280 cyclotron complex.
The CP heard information “About the resumption of the full membership of the Republic of Uzbekistan in JINR” presented by Plenipotentiary Representative of the Republic of Uzbekistan B. S. Yuldashev.
The next issue of the agenda concerned calling the election of the new JINR Director. CP Chairman V. N. Falkov proposed to hold the election at the next CP session in November 2020. The Minister of Science and Higher Education of Russia on behalf of the Government of the JINR location country nominated RAS Academician G. V. Trubnikov for the position of the new JINR Director for consideration by the Plenipotentiary Representatives referring to the decisions and recommendations of the JINR CP session held in November 2019 in Hanoi (Vietnam). Furthermore, he proposed to introduce the position of the JINR Scientific Leader. “Dear colleagues, I count on the support by the JINR Member States of the offer of calling the election, the proposed candidate and the introduction of the position of the Scientific Leader of the Institute,” V. N. Falkov said.
JINR Director Academician V. A. Matveev supported the offer of the Russian Federation of the election date as well as expressed support on behalf of the JINR Directorate of the nomination of G. V. Trubnikov for the position of the next JINR Director. The Committee of Plenipotentiaries approved the proposals of Plenipotentiary Representative of Russia V. N. Falkov and JINR Director Academician V. A. Matveev. The JINR Member States unanimously approved the proposed candidate.
The session of the Committee was concluded with general discussion and decision-making.
V. N. Falkov noted the following commenting on the event to the JINR media: “The Institute is unique: it has a rich history, dynamic development and special atmosphere. The strength of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research is not only its traditions but also the fact that you can establish strong scientific collaborations and partnership. The key is people creating this atmosphere and achieving the result the country is proud of and that attracts here people from various countries all over the world.”
Commenting on the results of the session, JINR Director V. A. Matveev said in particular: “It is the first in the JINR history session of the Committee of Plenipotentiary Representatives held remotely. Nevertheless, it demonstrates that all the representatives of the Member States are ready to take an active part in the management of the Institute, in discussions of its problems, in solving these problems despite being distracted by the fight with the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are very happy that today new Plenipotentiary Representative of the Russian Federation in JINR, Minister of Science and Higher Education of Russia Valery Nikolaevich Falkov took part in the CP session, the supreme governing body of JINR. And we hope that his visit is a favourable sign. The Russian Federation provides great support of the Institute’s activities in general and of the NICA project implementation in particular. Russia allocates huge funds to support this project. That is why personal but not remote participation of the Plenipotentiary Representative of Russia is a great pleasure to us.
If we consider 2020, we are now at the equator of the seven-year period, and we will face the most complex tasks in its second half. We are supposed to complete and launch new facilities and new projects that have started three and a half years ago. We see that despite all the limitations caused by the coronavirus, the Institute’s staff has a considerable desire to work and implement the plans to the full extent.”
Evgeny Molchanov, JINR Weekly Newspaper
the report uses Minobrnauki materials,
Photos by Elena Puzynina