An interview with Dmitry Bespalov (Rector, NCFU):
– Mr. Bespalov, let me take this opportunity to congratulate you and the entire team of NCFU on this Russian Science Day, as well as on the start of the Year of Research & Technology in Russia. We often hear that being a scientist is a mission. What do you think? A mission or a job?
– Thank you for the congratulation! This is the major professional holiday for the teachers in our university, basically all of them are involved in some research and we rely on them a lot since it is them who create the future.
I believe that being a scientist is both a mission and one of the most interesting jobs. However, it is important to see that streak in your child starting from the earliest school days, so to say, and then, as we call it, to instill that taste to science in them. This will take helping youngsters master the basics of research activities, its patterns, teach them how to make conclusions and be creative in their thinking.
– And how much of demand does science enjoy now? Do young people go to it?
I am happy to see that young people have come to realize how much of an opportunity a researcher stands. This is a profession with no borders! After all, you always have some Russian and international research teams around, you give birth to the most advanced ideas, you create new things and you explore secrets. Besides, this profession has no age restriction: you can be a popular scientist at 20 or 85. By the way, science has become definitely younger. Our university, for instance, employs one of the youngest Doctors of Science in Russia – Nikolai Aksenov, who comes from a dynasty of researchers. Nowadays, the Government runs numerous programs and contests to support researchers, and they enjoy lots of opportunities for their professional and personal growth. Given that, the salaries paid to scientists in Russia are at a fairly high level and they are growing constantly. Science, actually, is a profession that is worth focusing on for life!
– And how much are students involved in research process? Do you think the approach of “education through science” is still popular?
– NCFU students join research environment from the very first days here. They both pursue their degrees and have every chance to join some research projects. They are always welcome in our labs. We offer every bit of support to them and we call it scientific creativity, which, while supervised by experienced teachers, helps them join projects where the customers are the government and real enterprises. The outcomes of such activities allow our students to get their research items published in the top global journals, as well as seek winning grants, both from national and international foundations.
Now, we have over youth associations functioning in our University. Over 4,000 students join various research events each year, our young scientists are actively involved in different projects winning grants, and many has been successful indeed. I can say for sure that they are really promising, and the scientific world is yet to see what they are up to.
– The research activity at NCFU is really diverse. Have there been any discoveries lately that you could call a true breakthrough?
– We value every single discovery by the university scientists and we have quite a lot of them. For example, our researchers have discovered substances capable of turning cancer cells into healthy ones; they also taught robots to harvest crops in greenhouses and monitor oil rigs working in hard-to-reach places. In Fundamental Physics, NCFU experts have studied magnetic fluids and have already found a way to use them to solve various issues in the space and in medicine. How to protect data in the cloud through some Neuromathematical algorithm? This, too, was invented in the federal university. We explore the humanities, demography, and socio-economic processes in the North Caucasus, and the list is more than just long.
The important thing that is common for all these studies is that they are in demand and they are among the leaders in scientific development of the Russian Federation.