Tatarstan to compete for federal billions on RECs with 50 regions of Russia

Tatarstan to compete for federal billions on RECs with 50 regions of Russia
Photo: tatarstan.ru

Tatarstan is preparing to submit an application for participation in the federal competition of regional research and educational centres, among which the largest amount of grants from the ministry of education and science of 11,4 billion rubles is going to be distributed this year. President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov listened to the concept of the REC in Tatarstan based on eight promising areas — from genetic engineering and unmanned vehicles to composite materials and robotics — at the meeting of the board of directors of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding. The absolute leader among universities in terms of the number of projects submitted to the REC is the Kazan Federal University (KFU), but it will be known by the end of August what developments of universities will be included in the final competitive bid of Tatarstan.

Elections in Tatneftekhiminvest-holding

The meeting held to hear reports and elect new officials of the board of directors of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding was held in the strictest secrecy on 29 June. If the previous “masked” sessions were held in “complete self-isolation” from the press but with the subsequent video broadcasting, then this time — basta.

Despite the “coronavirus” easing, the discussions at the “petrochemical Olympus” have been held in a closed format once again since the beginning of March. Although the agenda itself, on the contrary, seemed to imply complete openness. The main issues in it were personnel appointments in the management bodies of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding. As follows from the official message of the company, the board was to elect for a new term the chairperson of the board of directors of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding JSC, whose post is permanently occupied by President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, approve the director general, whom Rafinat Yarullin remains, and the holding's work plan for the coming year — until May 2021. The outcome of the renewal of the composition the board of directors is obvious, but for some reason the strategic meeting was “classified”.

Despite everything, the presidential resource for the first time has not published the traditional video clip from the broadcast of the meeting and a detailed final comment, and the published post-release itself has not mentioned personnel appointments. It is known that the meeting was attended by the head of Svyazinvestneftekhim, Valery Sorokin, the head of Tatenergo, Rauzil Khaziev, the head of Khimgrad, Aydar Gizzatullin, the head of the Investment and Venture Fund.

President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov was again elected as Chairperson of the board of directors of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding JSC

Rafinat Yarullin confirmed his powers for the new term

President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov was again elected as Chairperson of the board of directors of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding JSC. The powers of the holding's Director General Rafinat Yarullin have been confirmed. Devon news agency learned about this following the results of the first meeting of the company's board of directors, which was held in Kazan on June 29, elected by the absentee meeting of shareholders on June 10," the agency reported, however, without specifying the source of the information.

...and is preparing for the federal competition for 11,4 billion rubles

However, a much more hot-button topic of the meeting was the preparation for the participation of the Tatarstan REC in the federal competition for grants from the ministry of education and science, which may take place in early autumn. Let's make a reservation that there is no exact date of its holding, and the competition itself has been repeatedly postponed. The last time the federal authorities scheduled it for April, it was cancelled for obvious reasons.

The newly appointed CEO of the holding, Rafinat Yarullin, did not comment on the situation. According to him, the deadline for applying for participation in the competition for federal grants for REC projects will be determined in August-September. Realnoe Vremya's sources explained that by this time Tatinvestneftekhim-holding, responsible for the outcome of the battle, will choose which projects of federal universities will be included in the Tatarstan's application. Rectors of all major universities of the republic also came to the meeting of the holding, but not all agreed to answer questions from the press.

The situation is particularly acute because in the autumn the ministry of science of Russia will award the largest amount of scientific grants — 11,4 billion rubles, and 50 regions with their own REC projects are going to take part in the competitive selection.

Rafinat Yarullin did not comment on the situation. According to him, the deadline for applying for participation in the competition for federal grants for REC projects will be determined in August-September

Those who offer world-class projects will win

The creation of world-class scientific and educational centers (RECs) is a global project within the framework of the federal project Development of Scientific and Scientific-Production Cooperation of the national project Science. By 2022, at least 15 RECs should be created in the country. “REC is not a tablet of projects to go with to compete for money," one of the participants of the board of directors meeting of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding said in a conversation with Realnoe Vremya. “This is an integral project to combine the efforts of the state, science and industry. The grants will be provided to recipient universities based on the results of competitive selection for decisions of the government of the Russian Federation. Currently, RECs are formed in many regions — Bashkortostan, Perm, Voronezh Oblast, but each of the regions has its own priorities in research work. The winner is the one who hits the federal targets. That is, it will declare projects that will be competitive at the world level," he believes.

Tatarstan started creating RECs by decree of the president of the Republic of Tatarstan at the end of February this year. “Since March 2020, Tatneftekhiminvest-holding, together with the ministry of education and science of the Republic of Tatarstan, has organized work on the formation of an appropriate application from the republic. The main directions and topics of REC activity have been defined. The analysis of global development trends and strategic documents of Tatarstan and Russia is being conducted," Devon news agency reported on 29 June. The supervisory board of the REC was headed by Rustam Minnikhanov, and Tatneftekhiminvest-holding became the coordinator. The working group involves Marina Borovskaya, the deputy minister of science and higher education of the Russian Federation, and Aleksey Pesoshin, the prime minister of the Republic of Tatarstan. Rafinat Yarullin, the director general of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding, was appointed as the secretary of the supervisory board.

Relying on genetic engineering and new materials

Earlier, the board of directors agreed on eight areas of the REC. These are circular economy (Tatneft), multiomics foresight of human health (KFU), creation of new-generation vehicles (KAMAZ), production and deep processing of hydrocarbons (KFU in conjunction with Tatneft, NKNK), sustainable energy and elimination of accumulated damage, advanced materials (KNRTU-KAI), digital technologies (Innopolis), agriculture and biotechnology (KFU).

“This is an integral project in the perspective direction of materials," said Albert Gilmutdinov, the rector of KNRTU-KAI

KNRTU-KAI acted as the coordinator of the direction called Perspective Materials. “We offer new powder materials and technologies for additive manufacturing, such as 3D printing technologies. We offer new polymer-composite materials of the 21st century. If the 20th century was the time of metals and alloys, the 21st century is the time of composite materials. We integrated the potential of universities and business centres. And the third is new materials for construction and for the road industry. This is not bitumen but new types of concrete. Bridge crossings are usually made of steel and alloys, but now it is possible to make and design them using polymer compositions. This is a joint project of KAI and the University of Architecture. The potential of the Technological University and the Physical Institute of the Kazan branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences is used here. This is an integral project in the perspective direction of materials," said Albert Gilmutdinov, the rector of KNRTU-KAI.

50 industrial partners

“Within the framework of the selected priorities, the projects and initiatives of the REC's participants are discussed. The goal and objectives of the scientific and educational centre have been formed, which ensure compliance not only with the Strategy of Scientific and Technological Development of Russia and the national project Science, but also with other national projects (Healthcare, Demography, Labour Productivity and Employment Support, Environment, Digital Economy, International Cooperation and Export, Education). A series of virtual seminars were held, during which projects of potential participants were discussed for inclusion in the programme of REC activities," the message on the website of the president of the Republic of Tatarstan reads. “Almost all federal universities are involved in the development of the REC programme: Kazan Federal University, KNRTU-KNTU, KNRTU-KAI, Almetyevsk State Oil Institute (AGNI), Kazan State Energy University, Kazan State Agrarian University, Innopolis University, Kazan State Medical University, Kazan State Medical Academy. About 50 companies have become industrial partners — Tatneft, KAMAZ, Kazan Helicopters, Zelenodolsk Shipyard, POZIS, Tatkhimfarmpreparaty, ICL Group, Tatenergosbyt, Tatenergo.

“The absolute leader among universities in terms of the number of projects submitted to the REC is the Kazan Federal University (KFU), but it will be known by the end of August what developments of universities will be included in the final competitive bid of Tatarstan," clarified the source of Realnoe Vremya.

By Luiza Ignatieva. Photo: tatarstan.ru
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