It can be argued that in Ukrainian society against the backdrop of permanent problems and threats, the nationwide strategy (national idea) of development of the country is not determined yet. Our university knowledge and experience give the chance to propose the central idea of such a strategy: combination and optimal cooperation of a quality education, progressive science, advanced innovations and modern industry with production of requested competitive products. The countries, which are the most successful in dynamic of development, have been already realized this idea in practice. So maybe Ukrainian university science will become the chance of the country to change itself for the better future? The special role of science in universities we discussed with Mykhaylo ILCHENKO, the head of scientific work provost council of 150 higher-educational institutions and heads of 15 scientific organizations of the Ministry of education and science of Ukraine.
— Mr.Ilchenko, the key role of universities is education, first of all. So what are the functions of science in it?
— The quality of education depends on the level of science in universities; the scientific component principally distinguishes the education in secondary school from the education in higher-educational institutions. The major functions of the science in universities are the receiving of new scientific knowledge by scientific and teaching staff, the defense of these knowledge by its authors is the subsoil of receiving of the academic statuses and scientific degrees. These new knowledge permanently renew the contents of university education, it is the basis of creation of new technologies and technics, and their practical implementation is the basis of innovative development of economics and strengthening of security of the country.
— Do the scientific researches in universities concern the solution of only exact tasks or also the huge of the countrywide level?
— Both variants. For example, in 2015 with guidance of academic M.Zghurovsky was completed the project “Forsythe of economics of Ukraine” concerning priorities of socioeconomical development of the country on middle- and long-term time horizons. In this research were found the main clusters of new economics of the country, which can provide successful integration of our country into international labor cooperation. Were recognized as the first primary agrarian sector, the military-industrial complex, information and telecommunication technologies. New energetics, new substances, matters, nanotechnologies, high-tech mechanical engineering etc. should also been activated. It is important that scientists from different Ukrainian universities receive important achievements by nearly all of clusters.
— Could you give the examples?
— Of course. Agroindustrial complex is the extremely important segment of economics, and its significant export potential is regarded by the international society as the essential factor in the system of provision of food in the poorest countries. That’s why scientific researches of our scientists in this branch have the great interstate actuality. Among them it is worth to highlight the scientific research of scientists of Sumy State University “Technology and equipment for receiving the monodisperse granules of nitrogen and complex fertilizers”. This innovation was improved by dozens of nitrogen-fertilized enterprises of Ukraine, Bulgaria, Estonia, Qatar, Cuba, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and other countries. The usage of the process of vibrating mono dispersion put the revolutionary improvement into technology of fertilizers receiving. The usage of mono disperse granules in the agriculture gives the possibility to achieve the harvest increase up to 10-15%. Scientists of Vasyl Karazin Kharkiv National University together with National Scientific Centre “Kharkiv Physics and Technology Institute” of Academy of Science of Ukraine work on solving actual Ukrainian problems of service life extension of power units on nuclear power plants and storage of exhausted nuclear fuel with the use of created for the first time in the world opened dry storehouse of exhausted nuclear fuel near NPP and other objects, which allowed Ukraine to save nearly 49 billion hryvnias (in prices of 2012). Scientists of Ivano-Frankivsk National Technical University of Oil and Gas together with others universities and institutions of National Academy of Science of Ukraine developed and implemented the complex for oil and gas production. Among the innovative designs it is worth to highlight the technology of increasing the productivity of oil and gas wells via usage of pulse and wave action on layers of bedding of hydrocarbon raw materials, which contributed to the increase of productivity of oil and gas wells. Technology was implemented into industry of Ukraine, China, Poland, Bulgaria and Czech. Specialists of Vinnitsa National Technical University solved the task of increasing the effectiveness of functioning of renewable energy sources in systems of centralized electricity supply that means optimization of selection of schemes and parameters of accession of renewable energy sources to local electricity systems. It decreases the cost price and increases the volume of transportation of produced electricity. Aerospace branch is one of the priorities among the high-tech directions of our economy. Scientists of Donetsk National Technical University are connected with solution of actual problems of materials science for this high-tech branch. In particular scientists of the university together with institutions of National academy of Science of Ukraine and enterprises of the branch developed the materials, which got the complex of disputable properties, which are not peculiar to metals, like high hardness, compression strength, heat resistance and radiation transparency. Such materials are needed for production of complex spatial form which are first to overcome ultrahigh power and thermal loads during the rocket launch. In can be argued that Ukraine would not have that significant achievements in aerospace branch and highly deserved worldwide acknowledgment without Mykola Zhukovskiy National Aerospace University – Kharkiv Aviation Institute. The example of developments of this institution, which exceeding world analogues for most typical settings for aircraft, is fifth generation aircraft engine AI-222-25F. Scientists made a significant contribution in this design. So the first completely Ukrainian aircraft engine afterburner for a training-combat plane was received. The design was performed by order of China. In The National Technical University "Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute" (NTU “KhPI”) circa 40 scientific schools work on the development of economy of Ukraine, providing the scientific and technical support of enterprises’ activities in nearly all branches of the country. With participation of scientists of NTU “KhPI”, “Turboatom” enterprise created the line of steam and hydraulic turbines for thermal and hydroelectric stations. Specialists of NTU “KhPI” participate in modernization of current and creation of new tanks, armored vehicles and diesels for armored technic with high technical and economic indicators on enterprises SE “Malyshev plant”, SE “KhMDB” named after Morozov, SE “KhDBEB” of Kharkiv city.
— Questions connected with scientific provision of the national security and defense of the country require special consideration. Which developments of your university are oriented on needs of Ukrainian army?
— Ministry of defense of Ukraine has adopted everyday activity management subsystems “Dnipro” and set of equipment of the military standard AC voltage unit created by us. We should mention the project of robotic platform for the military uses. By installing the manipulator such platform can delouse and transport disposed ammunition. It is possible to install on this platform small arms and light artillery to perform tactical operations. Technical vision equipment is used for protection of the territory and for intelligence. It is possible with help of such platform to transport ammunition and materials into dangerous places, and also transport injured people from the battlefield. Researchers of KPI created ceramic segments of effective armor of light weight and low cost. Plate with such characteristics provide the 6th class of protection and on 40% lighter than metal ones, but simplicity and high-tech production provide the decrease of the cost of their production. Systems for detection of unauthorized interventions into information and telecommunication networks were developed in two versions. The first one provides detection of unauthorized interventions into work of computer networks (it is successfully operated in bank sector). The second one provides intervention into every devise, network, in particular in system of management of unmanned craft.
KPI scientists developed new method of fastening rods for fixation of fractured limbs, what is very important for treatment in the field conditions. This method makes real the fixation of fractured long bones with gunshot wounds and have such an advantage: rods are made of plastic, which halves the cost and weight of frame. The example of design for needs of small military mobile unit is the water treatment plant “Sova”, which produces clear, safety drinking water, using the water from any source – wells, rivers, lakes, swamps, drain and irrigation systems etc.
— How the cooperation of your university and Ministry of Defense is organized?
— In February 2016, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and NTUU “KPI”, and also state concern “Ukroboronprom” and NTUU “KPI”, with participation of Secretary of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) O.Turchinov, minister of Defense of Ukraine S.Poltorak and general director of state concern “Ukroboronprom” R.Romanov signed a memorandum on scientific and technical cooperation to increase the defense capacity and security of state and ensuring the needs of Armed Forces of Ukraine in new samples of weapons and military equipment, modernization and reparation of current samples, setting up the production of spare parts and hardware, training and retraining of qualified military and civilian personnel. Within this memorandum have already organized the production of cartridge belts, trucks and rollers of the fighting vehicle “Oplot”, perfection of technologies of production of shells, grenades and bullets. NTUU “KPI” established cooperation with Kyiv Automatic Plant named after G.Petrovsky, Kharkiv Malyshev Plant, state enterprise “Artyom” and Pivdenny Machine-Building Plant. It is planned to install equipment for a remote sensing of the Earth into nano satellites “Politan”, created by KPI, it will allow collection of video materials and other information needed for solution of different tasks of defense purposes.
— Which university’s defense-oriented developments got into mass production?
—The example is the common project of NTUU “KPI” and OJSC “Meridian” named after S.Korolyov with support of private investors concerning construction and serial production of unmanned aerial vehicle Spectator-M of class MIHI (due to NATO classification). The first industrially manufactured party of these devices has been already delivered in ATO zone. This drone starts from hand, it has got the weight of circa 6 kg, payload is 1.5 kg, wingspan is more than 3 m, maximum speed is 120 km/h. Three soldiers serve the drone. The first industrial party of these devices has been already delivered in ATO zone.
— Who finances the developments?
— Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, SC “Ukroboronprom”, SE “Ukroboronservis” and partners of innovative and production association “Kyivska polytechnika” and scientific park “Kyivska polytechnika”. For example, V.Mikhalevich Scientific and Technical Development Foundation invested the designs of unmanned aerial vehicle Spectator-M and nano satellite “Politan”.
— Tell us, please, about 3D-prosthesis. It seems, it should undergo the testing.
—Exactly. Specialists of NTUU “KPI” together with “MEDICAL-PRO” Ltd. developed modern high quality pneumohydraulic prosthesis of the stifle with lightened spatial cinematic mechanism, which is equipped with dampened device, adapted to variable exploitation conditions. Construction of a damper of prosthesis of the stifle has the module layout, which cheapens and simplifies the reparation of prosthesis and ensuring fast reconfiguration of damper to fit the individual parameters of person. So the scientists of Kyiv polytechnic institute have the significant experience of performing the tasks of defensive branches of state. Other universities also work successfully for strengthening the defense capacity and security. The example of such effective and perspective work of scientists of the National University “Lviv Polytechnic” is the creation of unique technology of fixing the hydrogel on the polymers surface, which became the basis for creation of hydrogel medical tools (bandages). The developed hydrogel bandages reinforced with polypropylene mesh, protect the wound from the mechanical damage much better comparing with analogues, but their filling with wide range of medications (analgesics, bacteriostatic, therapeutic, haemostatic) allow the flexible approach to treatment and consideration of individual specifics of the patient and stages of wound healing. Bandages with unique properties already save the life of Ukrainians, in particular in ATO zones and in extraordinary situations.
— You gave lots of examples of solution of problems together with academic institutions of Academy of Science of Ukraine. So do the cooperation between academic and university sectors of science really harmonized?
—My answer is clearly positive. The specificity of development of Ukrainian science consists in necessity of work on equal footing, supplementing benefits of each scientific sector. In the nearest perspective in limits of transition to a new stage of postgraduate form of training of scientific personnel the cooperation between university and academic institutions will become even closer. In the new conditions, universities will help to realize the educational component of such training, but academic institutions will help with scientific one. Specific articles of the Law of Ukraine “About scientific and technical activity” directed on the harmonization of such cooperation.
— Convincing examples of successful scientific developments of universities could make an impression, that there are not any problems with science in the country. Isn’t it?
— Unfortunately not. Several separate achievements of universities and academic institutions were realized by principle “not because of, but despite”. And its main reason is the real absence of demand for science and innovations from state. As a result the miserable financial support of science on the level circa 10% of amount, determined by Ukrainian laws (1.7% of GDP). Incredibly, but state budget funding of all Ukrainian science is on the level of the funding of one prestige university abroad.
— So what awaits us?
— In 2016 for the first time since independence scientists of academic institutions, in particular young ones, took to the streets with protests against government. For last decades 20 thousands of young motivated scientists left Ukraine. This talented youth is really the most precious nation’s intellect, which in national security and defense interests under appropriate conditions would have to work effectively for creating the better future of our country. The other aspect of the problem is losses due to incompetence of management of innovative economics development on the state level. Absence of use of own perspective innovations leads inevitably to expanding procurement of foreign products created on new knowledge, gained by our own scientists. So without using in production own science and innovations, Ukraine will have to finance the science of other countries. The change of list of scientific and educational specialties with essential shortening of engineering segment directed on the losses by Ukraine the perspectives to develop as the creator of innovations. It will speed up the transition of our Ukraine to the rank of country-alien products consumer. But the world respects the strong, intellectually and technically developed countries. And they become really strong due to advanced science and innovative economy.