Forum on "State and Prospects of Science in Serbia”

Comment by academician Ljubiša Rakić, Vice President of SASA

The aim of the Forum was to incite the broader scientific public to consider the positions on the future of science, competently, in compliance with the strategy and new Law on Science Research Work of the Republic of Serbia.
The situation in science with emphasis on the prospects of science in Serbia was the object of analysis at this gathering. The presentations by the representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Science and Technological Development, chairmen of the National Councils for Scientific and Technological Development and Higher Education, the University of Belgrade on behalf of the University of Serbia, Association of Scientific Institutes of Serbia, contributed to the general concept of Serbian science – evaluation of quality and scientific ethics.
I use this opportunity again to emphasize the importance of the proclaimed doctrine – Science for politics and politics for science, which is often steered clear of.
We are in a difficult economic situation to which science needs to adapt to as well, and the scientific community contribute to the adjustment of given circumstances in a realistic and creative manner. The scientists have to contribute to the promotion of research, financing policies and organization of scientific activity within the given circumstances. Eventually become the subjects in all decisions that can yield concrete solutions.
This includes short-term activities within the context of current substantive restrictions, with the idea of launching, as early as possible, the next phase of optimum development of science and long-term stable economic and scientific policies of our country. Our scientists and their results (publications) in the past period and practical expert solutions are a guarantee of these positions.
The program and financial support of research should be used, more than now, for international cooperation and integration of research capacities in our country and the world. This means using all facilities of the Horizon 2020 project that differs from the former FP projects. The Horizon 2020 project consists of three main pillars:
1) Excellent Science
2) Industrial Leadership
3) Societal Challenges that imply the support of research in the domain of health care, climate, food, security, traffic and power, cultural heritage.
The international cooperation should include integration in the UNESCO, ICSU, ERA, SASA and projects of other institutions and associations. The support of their bilateral contracts and joint projects is understood.
In the period in which we are faced with opening of packages related to the preparation of accession of the European Union by our country, the research policies and strategy, including the legislative regulations need to be harmonized with these activities.
I wish to emphasize on this occasion the particular importance of social sciences and humanities, which was adopted by SASA at the assemblies in 2011 and 2012. The initiative was forwarded to ALLEA and through it to the European Union and the European Commission, which was seconded. According to this motion the social sciences and humanities need to find their place in all three pillars of the Horizon 2020 project, including also the additional possibilities of realization of numerous interdisciplinary tasks.
Science needs to play a continuous advisory role, provide independence of high quality of scientifically determined programs for the Government and the society, regardless of the current pragmatic, political and economic expectations.
I believe that scientific knowledge and scientific progress is an essential need of an individual, as well as a prerequisite for the progress of the entire society.