Development of cities with high scientific and technological potential discussed at JINR

News, 20 July 2023

On 18 July, the Meeting of Working groups of Dubna and Obninsk teams on participation in the pilot project of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) “Cities with High Scientific and Technological Potential” took place at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. The participants of the event discussed how to support the potential of Russian science cities and territories with a high concentration of intelligence to accelerate the scientific and technological development of the country and establish its technological sovereignity.

The participants from Dubna were representatives of JINR, including Director of the Joint Institute Grigory Trubnikov and Special Representative of the Institute’s Director for Science City, the Laboratory of Neutron Physics Deputy Director for Scientific Work Sergey Kulikov, Acting Head of Dubna Maxim Tikhomirov, Acting Rector of Dubna University Andrey Denikin, Head of NPO Centre for Assistance to Development of Innovative Territorial Clusters in Dubna Alexander Ratz, representatives of the city administration and the Dubna Special Economic Zone. On the part of Obninsk, representatives of the city administration, including Head of the Obninsk administration Tatiana Leonova took part in the meeting. Deputy Director of the ASI Urban Economy Division Olga Vovk and Director of Science and Education of the Skolkovo Foundation Alexander Fertman joined the discussion of the topic.

JINR Director Grigory Trubnikov moderated the Meeting of Working groups at the site of the Institute. He addressed the guests from Obninsk in his welcoming speech. “We are twin cities that have been walking hand in hand for many years. Science in our cities is practically founded by the same person, Dmitry Ivanovich Blokhintsev, and I am very glad that we continue our close cooperation. Despite the fact that we are two different, independent cities, I think it is very important to work together on the issues of science cities, to exchange information and experience. I am really impressed by the recent trip to Obninsk, by the atmosphere, by the communication with the team of professionals that Head of Obninsk Administration, Tatiana Nikolaevna, has gathered around her”, Grigory Trubnikov highlighted. JINR Director also expressed confidence that the indifferent attitude of the participants to the topic of science cities will make it possible to reach the results of the meeting that will be useful for both Obninsk and Dubna.

Last year, both of these science cities (and another 16 cities) participated in the ASI pilot project for the development of cities with high scientific and technological potential. The aim of the project is to find and solve the problems of urban development through the introduction of new infrastructure and service tools to attract and retain qualified personnel. As ASI emphasises, it has become especially important in the territories where the implementation of strategically important projects for the state is planned, such as, for example, the NICA Collider in Dubna. This can only be done by creating conditions for a decent life and effective work. This was the topic of discussion of the meeting participants.

“Our city has a high scientific and technological potential, and we are trying to unlock it”, Acting Head of Dubna Maxim Tikhomirov noted. “The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research keeps the position of one of the world’s leading centres of fundamental science, Dubna University has become a good platform for interaction between science and business, the Special Economic Zone increases the number of residents with new projects”. He also stressed that it is necessary to set the pace for this work, so that the city gets opportunities for further dynamic development. Having similar scientific and technological potential, Dubna and Obninsk united to create a joint concept for participation in the ASI pilot project. The cities will work together to attract additional funding. In the near future a number of proposals will be developed to expand the participation of Dubna and Obninsk in various projects that involve both comfortable urban environment, housing construction, and social sphere.

Head of the Obninsk administration Tatiana Leonova noted that the most important thing in this work is a comprehensive approach. “Today our task is not only to preserve the status of a science city, but also to make the cities technological leaders. Our mission is to present science in our cities at the international level. At the same time, the priority is the comprehensive development of territories, that is, the creation of conditions not only for the development of science, but also for life. It is important to create such conditions for people to feel comfortable not only to work here, to carry out research, but also to live, to give their children a good education. Today we are starting an open conversation on this topic. We have identified our problem areas, now the question is how to move forward and how to promote our achievements”, she said.

One of the proposals voiced at the meeting was to join the programme for creating world-class campuses, as it has already been done in several regions of Russia. At the same time, the participants of the meeting stressed that most of the infrastructure in Dubna and Obninsk is already available, and the project will require much less resources than when creating it from scratch.

It is also proposed to improve the system of academic exchange of students and schoolchildren in cities with high scientific and technological potential, and, additionally, to invite teachers from other cities to exchange experience more often. Thus, the idea of JINR to hold a summer school for physics teachers and introduce them to modern achievements of science was highly appreciated by ASI represented by Olga Vovk. She noted that such meetings and excursions are simply necessary for the development of the scientific potential of cities. ASI will submit these and other proposals to the Government of the Russian Federation in September.

The meeting held at the JINR site was an excellent opportunity for representatives of Obninsk to consider the experience of Dubna, one of the innovative scientific platforms that unites both fundamental science and high–tech enterprises. At the end of the meeting, the participants visited the Dubna Special Economic Zone and the Laboratory of High Energy Physics, where they learned about the implementation of the NICA Megascience Project.