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Presentation of the 2015 Presidential Prize for Young Scientists

February 10, 2016, The Kremlin, Moscow

In a ceremony at the Kremlin’s Catherine Hall, Vladimir Putin presented the Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists. The prize was established in 2008 and is awarded for contributions to advancing Russian science and innovation and aims to encourage laureates to pursue further projects.

The winners of the 2015 prize are three researchers working in physics, biology and chemistry.

Dmitry Kopchuk was awarded the prize for the development of new luminescent and functional materials for molecular devices of various purposes. Yekaterina Proshkina was awarded the prize for her contribution to the genetics of life span and aging. Vladimir Stegailov was awarded the prize for a series of developments in supercomputer multiscale modelling of materials under extreme conditions.

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon friends.

It is a great pleasure to welcome you at this ceremony presenting the Presidential Prize for Young Scientists.

Let me start by congratulating the laureates and the entire scientific community on their professional holiday – Russian Science Day, which we marked on February 8, just recently. In thanking the laureates here today, I also want to address my words to everyone engaged in this field of such tremendous importance – science. Your efforts multiply our country’s unique scientific potential, give birth to breakthrough ideas, and create modern technology and science-intensive production.

Russia is facing major tasks today. We must make progress in all areas, strengthen our economy, social sector and defence capability. Of course, to achieve this, we need an effective education system, strong science and our own advanced technology.

We discussed these tasks just recently, at the meeting of the Council for Science and Education in January. We discussed the work on drafting Russia’s long-term Science and Technology Development Strategy. We hope that young scientists, university teachers and businesspeople working in high-tech sectors will take an active part in drafting this concept document. The mechanisms for this participation have been established.

I now want to address the laureates and your young colleagues: it is young researchers like yourselves who will have the task of actually implementing the Science and Technology Development Strategy’s priorities. You have already shown that you have what it takes to take on responsibility and achieve results.

The situation in Russian science, including the human resources situation, really is changing. I can say with all confidence that we have people to rely on. Science is attracting talented and promising young people. Compared to 2004, the number of researchers under the age of 39 has increased by more than 30 percent, in large part thanks to state support. This shows that we have succeeded in resolving the vital task of ensuring our research schools’ continuity and avoiding the risk of a gap between generations of scientists, which was something that many experts warned about at the start of the 2000s.

It is a very good sign too that young scientists are demonstrating successful results in engineering, medicine, chemistry and biology, fields that determine the shape of technological progress, and play a decisive role in ensuring our country’s competiveness, developing the economic sectors of the future, and ensuring high standards and quality of life for our people.

Academic mobility has increased too over these last years. Young scientists head for parts of the country that have established a modern science infrastructure and offer opportunities for realising one’s potential and achieving big scientific results.

We must continue attracting talented young specialists into science. Our leading scientific and educational organisations can play a key part in this. They should be more active in creating attractive conditions for research work. Of course, we must also improve the mechanisms for practical application of scientific developments and strengthening Russia’s science and technology potential.

Friends, today’s laureates have already achieved impressive results. Let me say a few words about this.

Dmitry Kopchuk has made a significant contribution to research on fundamental aspects of organic chemistry. The practical aspects of his research include the development of instruments to detect ultra-low concentrations of substances, including explosive substances. The use of this technology will help to make us more effective in fighting terrorism. As I understand it, this is not the only use for these instruments and this research. Other applications include new materials and possibilities for using these developments in other fields, including medicine.

Yekaterina Proshkina studies the role of the body’s defence systems in increasing life span. Her scientific results open up new prospects for developing qualitatively new medicines.

Vladimir Stegailov’s research is on the boundary of theoretical physics, mathematics and supercomputer technology. His achievements have laid a good base for creating unique materials with particular characteristics.

Friends, public and state recognition is important in any area, in any profession. I am sure that this high and deserved award will encourage you to continue your ambitious scientific pursuits and develop your talents for the benefit of our country and people.

I wish you success. Thank you very much.


Vladimir Putin: Friends, let me congratulate our laureates once again.This is not just a formal meeting to present the awards; it has also been an opportunity to exchange views on how to organise our work in the future. This is absolutely right and this is just what we want – to create and develop the mechanisms for finding modern, interesting and promising researchers.

The last speaker talked about his achievements. It is not possible to give the full picture here, and one would need to be narrowly specialised in each field to be able to do so, but I do know that the research of this young man, who shares the same name as me, Vladimir Vladimirovich, has practical and not just theoretical applications. It was not by chance that he mentioned Rosatom. Perhaps he and his colleagues are working on completely new possibilities for using new types of nuclear fuel, much needed for the energy future of not just Russia but the entire world.

There is no doubt that we must find new mechanisms to unite us and create conditions for promising young researchers and scientists to work. This is the aim of the changes that we are discussing now in the science sector.

I hope that with the help of one of our laureates here today, everyone in Russia will live not just long lives, but happy and active ones too. This is essential for scientific achievements.

I congratulate you once again and wish you continued success. Thank you.

February 10, 2016, The Kremlin, Moscow