In the first two months of 2014, the State Committee for Science and Technology (SCST) did not submit traditionally optimistic reports on the advancement of science in 2013. The National Academic of Science of Belarus (NASB) made even more optimistic one instead. In 2013, a reform of the science sector entered an open phase after the NASB presented a draft scientific development program.
The science sector saw a number of stuff reductions and reshuffles. Thirty-one legislative acts were issued to regulate scientific and innovative activities. However, taken together, all these measures create an ambivalent impression, showing the problem of coherence of education and science reforms.
The year 2015 was the time to sum up the results of the State Program of Innovative Development of Belarus (SPID) in 2011-2015. Despite all optimistic forecasts, GDP reserch intensity resulted from the implementation of SPID in 2011-2015 was lower (0.50%) than before the Program was launched (0.69 % as of 2010). Simply put, the 2011-2015 State Programm of Innovative Development was a complete failure: current GDP research intensity is half as high the threshold needed to ensure scientific and technological security (European Union experts set this threshold at 1.0%)
In 2014, the government's attempts to reform the science sector came to naught. The funding of science from the national budget and extra-budgetary resources decreased considerably. Technological innovation costs passed from the national budget on to enterprises, wich are supposed to use their own funds and loans to cover the expenditure. The cut in funding of science has inevitebly resulted in a degradation of the key performance indicators of the innovation-driven growth, as well as the contiuous brain-drain. The number of 'innovation-active' industrial enterprises is increasing, wich particularly concerns the oil industry. Againstthe bachground of the economic slowdown, the government places its stake on a mobilization model of industrial development, wich is also close to resource exhaustion.
The 2011 financial crisis was accompanied by an unprecedented reduction in science budgets. The era of primarily state#financed scientific research is now drawing to a close, thus putting the issue of finding mechanisms to commercialise science onto the agenda. This is in line with recently#emerging trends in science#funding policy, and corresponds to the strategic benchmarks of the State Innovation Development Program (SIDP) for 2011–2015, which was adopted in May 2011.The SIDP 2011–2015 sets practical goals for introducing innovationin legislative, institutional, financial, human resources, and infrastructural reform fields. The unrushed implementation of these reforms during the previous five#year period (SIDP 2007–2010) was replaced by convulsive and radical reform attitudes in late 2011 when, against the backdrop of the financial crisis, the critically low level of science funding began to become painfully obvious. The initial year of SIDP 2011–2015 was quite productive in terms of legislative improvements in the fields of science, technology and innovation. But the results from implementing innovation projects were less impressive, due to a number of major infrastructural, staffing, and financial challenges.
The first year of the implementation of the State Program of Innovative Development for 2016–2020 was not very encouraging for Belarusian science. It announces a number of ambitious projects designed to upgrade the Belarusian economy and enhance its competitiveness globally. However, it does not provide for any significant changes in terms of implementation, and just repeats the concept, format and structure of previous programs with all their shortcomings. The results of 2016 show that with respect to most scientific and innovative development indicators, alarming trends persist and negative symptoms continue to aggravate.
In spite of the “Lukashenko ultimatum” given to Belarusian science at the end of 2011, the status quo was still maintained and promised reforms were stalled. Attempts to initiate “internal competition” between academic and university science ran into obstacles due to the inertia of the former and inactivity of the latter. The announced transformation of the funding structure and the increased actual costs for financing scientific, technical, and innovation activity did not change the longstanding trend of science being chronically underfunded. The key problem of linking science with business and industry was still not resolved. Apart from some minor improvements to the situation regarding postgraduates in several disciplines, the general trend of downsizing and ageing of scientific staff continued. Positive results during the year included: improved research intensity figures (up from 0.7% in 2011 to 1% in 2012); Belarus’ rising international ratings (from 52nd to 45th place, according to the Knowledge Index; from 73rd to 59th place, according to the Knowledge Economic Index; and 6th place worldwide for the number of patent applications filed); and various successes in the information technology field.