We live at a time when we can vaccinate ourselves to protect us from dangerous diseases, see our family and friends in any corner of the world or send them a message, watch as vehicles are launched into space and obtain data from satellites. Nearly every opportunity that we enjoy today has arisen or has become comprehensible thanks to scientific and technological research and development (R&D).
Science and technologies are the primary movers of human development, as technological and scientific revolutions provide the basis for economic progress, improving healthcare and medical systems, education, infrastructure and literally every area of human activity. Science touches all of our lives and transforms it on a daily basis.
Societies that are directed by science, in which decisions are taken on the personal and national levels based on scientifically-proven facts, evidence, and with the help of critical thinking, and not because “that’s the way it’s supposed to be” or “that’s the way it’s always been”, are more developed, more economically stable and generally more successful. A society’s attitude toward science determines its level of development, as well as its potential.
Greater investment into scientific research and technological development is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. That is why states have pledged to increase public and private spending on R&D. Here is a link to a handy visualization from UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics on how much countries invest into R&D. Global R&D spending has reached an unprecedented level of nearly $1.7 trillion. Ten countries account for 80% of all funding. The top five, in dollar terms, are USA, China, Germany, Japan and South Korea. Guess Ukraine’s place on that list.
Investing in science is more than simply giving money to institutions with the word “nauka” (science) in their names. It’s about the cooperation between government, business, and scientific institutions. It’s about the search for and support of promising scientific research, identifying priorities and creating an environment for scientists’ education and growth.
In Ukraine, there is a lot of work to be done in this regard. So long as pseudoscience is supported, so-called “academics” will continue warming their seats and collecting salaries, just as they have done for decades. So long as academies of science continue to imitate activity, promising scientists will continue leaving the country due to lack of funding and outdated practices. If these practices are allowed to continue, we cannot talk about the normal development of science in Ukraine.
Promoting science is not just for researchers and academics. Science is key to critical thinking and the ability to make rational and informed decisions by all of us in our daily lives.
Science in Ukraine is a matter of medicine, economics, international image and national security. In other words, science matters for everyone. Relying on science and critical thinking means being healthier and better protected. That is why it’s important to exercise our scientific skills and abilities and stay fit in this aspect of our lives as well.
1. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. How much does your country invest in Research & Development: https://bit.ly/2X32cu4
Keystone Commentary: Diana Rusnak
Translated by Stephen Bandera