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'Siberia is so big, it’s almost more an idea than a place'
Ian Frazier

Siberian scientists sign their largest international co-operation agreement in new pact with France

By The Siberian Times reporter
04 December 2012

A pioneering French-Siberian Scientific and Education Centre highlights international recognition of Siberia's scientific strength.

Nikolay Lyakhov, Head academic secretary of the Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences. Picture: Media Centre of SBRAS

An agreement was inked at the French Embassy in Moscow in a major move to boost intellectual co-operation - seen as hugely significant by the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The deal shows France ahead of other leading Western countries in tapping the expertise of Siberia's academic centres. 

On the French side prestigious players have signed up to the deal including National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS), the National Health and Medical Research Institute (INSERM), the National Institute of Oriental Language and Civilisation (INALCO) and a large group of universities.

In Siberia, leading scientific centres are included such as Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk and Yakutsk. 

'This is the largest-scale international agreement ever signed by the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences', said academician Alexander Aseev, chairman of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

'It shows how highly the level of science and education in Siberia is rated by the French scientific community.

'Siberia is seen in Europe as a global factor.  Here we have a gigantic concentration of natural resources, including those like pure water and rare-earth elements with very significant prospects. Siberia - along with the Amazon River  is the main centre of planet climate formation, together with the River Amazon selva. 

'Siberia is a gateway to Arctic with its shore and shelf oil and gas reserves, and its currently operating and soon-to-come transportation routes'.

Academician Alexander Aseev

'This is the largest-scale international agreement ever signed by the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences'. Picture: Academician Alexander Aseev, courtesy Media Centre of SBRAS

'The level on the project is unprecedented: we have The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), National Institute of Oriental Language and Civilisation and twenty two High Schools - Strasbourg University, Orleans Univercity, Grenoble University, Toulouse University to name the few', Aseev said. 

Co-operation between Siberian and French scientists already exists in the fields of earth and climate science, paleontology, ecology, anthropology, ethnography, culture, multi-cultural communication and the evolution of peoples and lands.

'Scientific cooperation has been developing in parallel with student exchanges between universities, particularly on the PhD level, and thanks to united postgraduate studies', Media Centre of the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science said. 

'During recent years there were agreements adopted on recognition of double bachelor degrees and double master degrees in both French and Siberian universities, notably Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Yakutsk'.

French-Siberian scientific and education centre

'The level on the project is unprecedented: we have The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), National Institute of Oriental Language and Civilisation and twenty two High Schools - Strasbourg University, Orleans Univercity, Grenoble University, Toulouse University to name the few', Aseev said. Picture: Media Centre of SBRAS

Five areas of close cooperation are highlighted in the new agreement, covering environment, biosphere, climate change, earth studies, life and health studies, chemistry and study of raw materials, social and humanitarian research in Siberia. 

In all these five spheres there will be a separate joint scientific committee. A so-called 'Mixed Committee' will manage the new centre, with funding distributed by coordinators from both sides. The level of the funding and how it will be spent was not immediately clear. 

'The Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences will become the Russian Coordinator', said a source. The CNRS will perform the sale role on the French side. 

'The Russian-French document specifies in detail the way the results of scientific research will be published and how the intellectual property rights will be protected.'

Nikolay Lyakhov, Head academic secretary of the Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, said: 'This is a very important document, that brings together international teams and regional authorities - the governors of Novosibirsk and Tomsk regions will be members of the Mixed Committee. 

'The agreement has just one shortcoming: only five priorities. Many people have already approached me and asked - where is maths? Physics?

'Today's limits are first of all to do with financing rules of CNRS. 

'But I am sure that when the project starts and its management runs smoothly, both parties will wish to enlarge the number of scientific priorities'.

Comments (3)

c'est bien indeed
A., Nsk
06/12/2012 15:34
2
0
Maybe AJP but I was part of a UK delegation to Akademgorodok in Novosibirsk more than 20 years ago and it was obvious then that, despite appalling handicaps in terms of funding, some significant research by eminent names was going on here. Both sides have failed since then. The Russians have failed to open themselves to the world in a way which allows this expertise to be marketed and developed, but the West (maybe China too) never thinks to look properly in Siberia (or perhaps are put off by red tape), and by the way it's not only Novosibirsk but many other centres too. Perhaps this agreement with France is a sign things are slowly changing but why is the pace so slow?
WIS, London
05/12/2012 23:36
2
0
French science has stolen one on the British and Germans with this agreement.
AJP, UK
05/12/2012 23:29
2
0
1

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