Having built a stable science management and financing system, Uzbekistan has a wide scholarly network of schools, laboratories, institutes, research centres, ministries, and councils. The government has recently fuelled research resources and opened a batch of complexes, among them the Center of Genomics and Bioinformatics, the International Solar Energy Institute, and the Cambridge-affiliated High Technology Centre. The scientific fleet is swayed by the Academy of Sciences, a flagship centre connecting research pioneers and demanding close governmental attention. As a proof of this close attention, Shavkat Mirziyoyev held his first meeting as President with the scientific community. From January 1, scholars are paid tax-exempt salaries of 10 minimum wages and are eligible to free-of-charge treatment in sanatoriums. Steps have been taken to encourage academic progress. But modern-day resources fail to match Uzbekistan’s socio-economic development, as scientific competitiveness lags behind international rates. As research financing stumbles and talent pool dries up, a major overhaul is in order to restore scientific prestige, implement state programmes, and provide scientists with necessary conditions. The Action Strategy 2017-2021 has it as priority to boost scientific activity and open laboratories and research centres. Following his dialogue with the people in regions, the President set objectives to restore the scientific potential and attract talented youth by mobilising scientific research and merging science and production. The Presidential Resolution ‘On Measures for Further Development of the Academy of Sciences and Scientific and Research Activity Organisation, Governance and Financing’ aims to address the issues. The Resolution reorders the Academy’s activities and provides for a number of scientific establishments to be opened or returned under the Academy’s aegis. Apart from forming exact science, natural science and humanitarian departments, the Resolution provides for a new office to be opened in Navoi, to quarterback research and development in Navoi Region. The heads of the Karakalpak and Navoi departments, as well as the chief of Khorezm’s Ma’mun Academy are now placed on the academy’s vice-presidential footing. A Financial Stimulus Fund will be opened to encourage scientific breakthroughs. The fund will receive 10% of profits by the Academy’s research centres. The State Science and Technology Commission headed by the Prime Minister will shape state policy on science and innovation. A science and technology commission, replacing the Science and Technology Coordination Committee, will formulate state tasks in implementing scientific innovation. These steps will stoke up scientific activity and prune ineffective research areas. A Scientific and Technical Activity Support and Development Fund, established as a legal entity under the Resolution, will: create new university laboratories; fund patents filed by local scientists; supply laboratories with equipment; fund access to international scientific databases; and finance internships in international scientific centres.
The Resolution follows in the footsteps of Uzbekistan’s science policy and serves to fulfil the Action Strategy for 2017-2021. It will raise academia’s prestige, improve organisation, and attract talented youth, among others.