CP session concluded: new Director of the Institute has been elected

News, 23 November 2020

On 23 November, a regular session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries of the Governments of the Member States of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research was held. The key milestone of the session was the election of Academician Grigory Trubnikov as the JINR Director with taking the office from 1 January 2021. Moreover, the CP decided to introduce a new position of the JINR Scientific Leader that would be taken by Academician Victor Matveev. Another significant event of the session was the adoption of the decision to restore the full membership of the Republic of Uzbekistan in JINR.

This session was originally planned to be held in the Republic of Bulgaria, in Sofia, but due to the unfavourable epidemiological situation, the CP members decided to hold the session online.

At the opening of the session, the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev addressed participants with a greeting. He expressed hope that as soon as the situation with the coronavirus is normalized the session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries of JINR can take place in Bulgaria.

CP session participants elected Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, Plenipotentiary Representative of Russia in JINR Valery Falkov as Chairman of the current session. He welcomed the audience via video conference. Valery Falkov informed that due to objective reasons, he was not able to attend the meeting in person, and therefore he transferred the powers of the session Chairman to Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Natalia Bocharova who was taking part in the meeting in person.

The first issue in the session’s agenda was the report by JINR Director Academician Victor Matveev on the key scientific results obtained in the fields of the Institute’s research fields since the previous CP session (June 2020). JINR Director also informed about the operation of the Institute under the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic and presented information on the recommendations of the 128th meeting of the JINR Scientific Council (September 2020).

The JINR Director in his report noted the high pace of work on the creation of the NICA collider’s systems in the framework of which, in particular, the installation of equipment for the site of fast beam extraction from the Booster had been concluded. The festive launch ceremony of the Booster took place on 20 November with the participation of Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin and a number of high-ranking guests. Preparations were made to the start of the magnetic structure cooling. It is planned also to inject and accelerate the first beam at the new synchrotron by the end of November 2020. At the beginning of November 2020, the operation on transporting the solenoid for the MPD experiment to JINR was successfully conducted. The report also presented organizational measures taken by the JINR Directorate for successful implementation of the NICA project, as well as proposals on amendments to the Regulations on the Supervisory Board of the NICA project.

Covering other fields of JINR scientific research, Academician Matveev noted a new experimental method of the study of the inner structure of the atomic nucleus and neutron stars in the BM@N international experiment at the NICA collider under construction. It was first to register all reaction products when nucleons and pairs of nucleons ejected from atomic nuclei, and thus new scientific prospects for the nucleus structure studies were discovered.

The report by the JINR Director also noted that the installation of two new clusters of the Baikal neutrino telescope allowed the deep-underwater detector to achieve the effective volume of 0,35 km3 thus making the Baikal-GVD one of the three largest telescopes in terms of effective area and volume as well as the largest one in the Northern hemisphere. The report presented impressive statistics on the use of JINR grid sites contributing to the processing of the data from international collaborations, as well as to obtaining and publication of scientific results achieved using the resources of the supercomputer “Govorun”, which has recently become one of the top-thirty ones of the world IO500 rating. The implementation of the user programme of the IBR-2 nuclear research facility is underway under the pandemic conditions, and the first experiment on the synthesis of isotopes of moscovium at the Superheavy Element Factory (SHE Factory) has started. In this regard, Victor Matveev noted the victory of the JINR’s project “Superheavy nuclei and atoms: limits of nuclear mass and boundaries of the Periodic Table” in the grant competition of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

The Director of the Joint Institute in his report paid special attention to work and research conducted at JINR related to the fight against the pandemic of the COVID-19 coronavirus. FLNP takes part in a joint study on the interaction of cell membranes containing transmembrane proteins, in particular, of the virus SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, FLNP studies the process of the formation of neutrophil defence mechanisms when interacting with viruses. FLNR carries out applied research on track membranes that may be used for the creation of protecting masks and respirators, as well as for the tasks of plasmapheresis from cured patients with COVID-19 antibodies for immunization of healthy people. LIT takes part in the fight against COVID-19 providing its computing infrastructure for the Folding@Home (F@H) project that uses distributed computing to conduct computer simulations of protein molecule folding for research on the 2019-nCoV coronavirus.

The JINR Director’s report traditionally covered the Institute’s activities on the development of international cooperation aimed to deepen contacts with partner scientific and research organizations and JINR integration into the global research infrastructure, as well as to attract the youth. In particular, agreements with Germany and the China on the participation in the NICA project were noted, as well as the agreement on the establishment of a series of joint international D2 schools (Dubna-Darmstadt) and the launch of the online programme INTEREST of the JINR University Centre.

In conclusion, Victor Matveev summed up the results of his ten-year activities as the Director of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research.

“It is not just a report on the work done, it is a part of your life ten years of which you have headed the largest, authoritative international organization. It is a great honour for me to be present at such a landmark meeting. I sincerely admire the work you have managed to do with your colleagues, together with the JINR Member States, and I would like to express gratitude to everyone for this support,” CP Chairman Natalia Bocharova noted at the end of the JINR Director’s speech.

The next item on the agenda of the session was the election of a new JINR Director. The CP Chairman said that proposals for the nomination of First Vice-Director Grigory Trubnikov for this position were received from nine JINR Member States and there were no other candidates submitted for consideration. Participants of the session approved Academician Grigory Trubnikov as a candidate and listened to his report on the programme of actions for the management of the Institute and its development strategy.

Starting his speech, Grigory Trubnikov expressed his gratitude to JINR Director Academician Victor Matveev for the high standard set and achieved of the Institute’s development, “I would like to express my deep gratitude to Academician Victor Anatolievich Matveev, an outstanding scientist and science organizer, who has been my mentor since 2011, and I was very happy to work in his team.”

“The strategy I am currently talking about on behalf of the JINR Directorate, together with the infrastructure improvement, the formation of the ambitious scientific programme, and tasks to generate new knowledge, is aimed, first of all, at the complex development of intellectual potential and strengthening of the Institute as an integrating international intergovernmental organization. The key priority of the presented strategy should be the formation of the scientific-engineering and scientific-administrative elite for the Institute and for the realm of research and developments in the Member States,” Grigory Trubnikov highlighted in his speech.

In addition to scientific research as the pivotal field, Grigory Trubnikov enumerated the key elements of the development strategy, namely the development of the innovative area, modernization of the staff and management policy of the Institute, as well as improvement of the JINR promotion strategy and increasing of its visibility, development of the social environment. Grigory Trubnikov highlighted the necessity to develop the system of indicators for monitoring the implementation of the JINR Strategic Plan. Academician Trubnikov noted that JINR should position itself as one of the global poles of the world scientific and research space, along with such centres as CERN, as well as should also be actively engaged in the current global research agenda taking into account the expectations of the Member States. Grigory Trubnikov called large-scale research complexes the key elements of the development and the JINR unique advantage, as well as highlighted that it is necessary to pay considerable attention to the development of the staff training and promotion system, the augmenting of human capital.

At the end of the speech, Grigory Trubnikov noted, “The key priority of the presented programme is the increase in the number of highly qualified staff members, the efficient system of building and using intellectual potential in the interests of the Member States, the development of the research programme in the JINR traditional fields, the expansion of the research programme in new areas. I believe that the Institute should develop not evolutionarily but evolutionarily and at the same time very dynamically. JINR should remain one of the leaders in the global scientific agenda.”

Having heard and discussed information presented by CP Chairman Natalia Bocharova “On the election of the JINR Director”, as well as guided by the CP decision as of 19 June 2020, participants of the session conducted in-person voting. As a result of it, as well as in accordance with the JINR Charter and the Regulation on the JINR Director, Academician Grigory Trubnikov was elected a new Director of the Institute for a five-year term taking the office from 1 January 2021.

The Committee of Plenipotentiaries of JINR expressed deep gratitude to Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Victor Matveev for his fruitful work as JINR Director.

Participants of the event listened to the report by CP Chairman Natalia Bocharova “On the Scientific Leader of JINR”. As a result, the Committee found it necessary to introduce the position of the JINR Scientific Leader for RAS Academician V. A. Matveev so that to ensure the succession of the Institute’s management. The Committee recommended that the elected JINR Director makes the corresponding appointment from 1 January 2021, as well as includes Victor Matveev in the membership of the JINR Scientific Council.

Addressing the Plenipotentiary Representatives of the Member States, elected Director of the Institute Academician Grigory Trubnikov noted, “We should build the policy of the development of the JINR Topical Plan in a very pragmatic way. Scientific research and an ambitious scientific programme are the cornerstones of our activities. There is no doubt that the personnel update is necessary, including in the management of the Institute. So, one of my tasks is a gradual training of a successor and a general staff reserve for the Institute. At the same time, it is necessary, of course, to ensure a gradual change of generations with simultaneous effective and careful consideration of accumulated competences and experience. One of the pivotal principles of the presented programme is succession. And in this regard, I think that we will work in an active, very close contact with Victor Anatolievich in the next years to develop the Institute.

Academician Grigory Trubnikov elected as JINR Director at CP session, Video by the JINR Scientific Information Department

I hope that with our entire multinational team and, of course, with your support, dear Plenipotentiary Representatives, we will be able to implement the presented programme. Thank you for your constant support!”

Participants of the session listened to and discussed the report by JINR Chief Scientific Secretary Alexander Sorin on the progress in the implementation of the Seven-Year Plan for the Development of JINR in 2017 – 2023, as well as on proposals for amendments to the Seven-Year Plan.

Taking into account the evident necessity in the development of the NICA project according to the recommendations given by scientific and advisory committees (MAC, DAC, CP, Scientific Council) and the decision of the Supervisory Board of the NICA mega-project, the report noted the necessity to adjust the project estimates and deadlines for commissioning the main objects of the NICA complex, namely: the Booster – 2020, the initial configuration of the collider – 2022-2023, the design configuration of the collider – 2025, the creation of experimental zones and beam extraction channels of the NICA complex – 2021, the launch of the first stage of the MPD facility – 2022, commissioning of the second stage of the MPD facility – 2025, commissioning of the initial configuration of the SPD detector – after the project approval, not earlier than 2025.

Alexander Sorin in his report presented the proposal of the Institute’s Directorate for the creation of an interlaboratory international Innovation Center for Nuclear Physics Research (Innovation Centre) at JINR in 2021-2023. Its main goals will be the development of technologies and methods in the fields of nuclear and radiation medicine, radiation material sciences, as well as professional training of the personnel and professional development of specialists from the JINR Member States in the fields of radiation biology and medical physics. With respect to the development of technologies of radiation material sciences and applied research at heavy ion beams for the JINR Member States in the framework of the programme of the Innovation Centre, it was offered to create the DC-140 cyclotron accelerator during the same period.

The final version of the adjusted Seven-Year Plan for the JINR Development will be presented at the CP session scheduled for March 2021.

Following the results of the discussion of the report by Deputy Head of the Finance & Economy Office of the Institute Mikhail Vasiliev “About the draft budget of JINR for the year 2021, draft contributions of the Member States for the years 2022, 2023, and 2024”, participants of the session approved the JINR budget for 2021, as well as the scale of contributions of the JINR Member States for the year 2021. Participants of the session heard the report by Chairman of the JINR Finance Committee Arsen Khvedelidze on the milestones of the meeting of the Committee held on 19 November 2020.

Having heard and discussed the report by Plenipotentiary Representative of the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, President of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan Bekhzod Yuldashev “About the resumption of the full membership of the Republic of Uzbekistan in JINR”, the Committee of Plenipotentiaries decided to resume the full membership of Uzbekistan in JINR starting from 1 January 2021.

The final issue of the session programme was the report by Director of the “Korsakov and partners” audit company D. A. Korsakov “About the audit results of the Institute’s financial activity in 2019”.

The session of the Committee was concluded with general discussion and decision-making.

The JINR Committee of Plenipotentiaries supported the proposal by Plenipotentiary Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria Latchesar Kostov to declare 2021 the “Year of Bulgaria in JINR”. It was decided to hold the next session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries of JINR in March 2021.

JINR Director Victor Matveev and elected JINR Director Grigory Trubnikov gave their comments for the Institute’s media on the new appointment. In particular, Academician Victor Matveev said in the interview, “I am very glad that we have witnessed the transition of the Institute’s management from one leader to another, young one. I am sure that Grigory Trubnikov is absolutely ready to implement the ambitious development strategy we have drafted. We have doubled our strengths today. I am ready to continue making every possible effort and assist to the new Director. Today is a historic, big day! I would like to wish Grigory Vladimirovich big success in his work, strength and great patience!”

Academician Grigory Trubnikov continued the comments of his mentor, “I think that this event would not have taken place if our Director, our outstanding scientist Victor Anatolievich Matveev had not been preparing this path for several years. The strength of our Institute is its scientific school and succession, respect for all generations: the link goes from mature to young people and from young to mature again. JINR is a fully democratic organization: all countries expressed their opinions today, we had a long discussion and it is important that it was not personalized.

Today’s decision was made in the interests of the Institute: it is a decision made for active, systematic forward movement. I am immensely grateful, first of all, to Victor Anatolievich, as well as to the Institute’s staff for their support of this right succession scenario, which all the Member States have approved today. In 2010, Victor Anatolievich took me in his team and I had an opportunity to acquire wisdom and amazing energy given by Victor Anatolievich to all of us. We have been working for all these ten years and now continue working in tandem. We are an absolutely strong, reliable alloy. I am sure that this will go on.”

Photos by Elena Puzynina and participants of the Session