Russia's invisible nanotechnologies
At the beginning of the XNUMXst century, a real “nanotechnological boom” swept the entire planet. Leading global economics actively involved in this race, multiplying financial investments in scientific research. In the Russian Federation, the investment peak came in 2010-2011, when the state authorities allocated about $900 million for the development of nanotechnologies in our country, which allowed Russia to be among the top five world leaders in terms of investment in this sector of the economy.
It should be noted that nanotechnologies in the broad sense of the word are all areas of science involving the creation and use of materials whose size ranges from 1 to 100 nanometers. In fact, nanotechnologies are used in almost all sectors of the economy, making many processes much more efficient.
Back in 2007, in his message to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin called nanotechnology one of the most priority areas for the development of science and technology. equipment, making a proposal to establish the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, which later became the joint-stock company Rosnano. The history of this company is inextricably linked with the name of Anatoly Chubais, who is one of the most publicly criticized statesmen of the Russian Federation. He served as chairman of the board of Rosnano for more than 12 years. Already in those days, all the processes associated with the development of domestic nanotechnologies have become a kind of “meme” for many residents of our country. Few people took the industry seriously, partly due to a misunderstanding of nanotechnology as such. But times are changing, and by now more and more people are beginning to realize that the qualitative development of many sectors of the economy without nanotechnology is simply impossible.
The activity of the company "Rosnano" lies in the field of implementation of the state policy for the development of the nanoindustry, which implies investments in high-tech projects that ensure the development of new industries on the territory of the Russian Federation. In 2019, Chubais said that the company managed to recoup the $132,4 billion government investment that was put into creating a state-owned corporation. In the period from 2010 to 2019, a positive trend was observed in Russia, consisting in an increase in nanotechnologies developed and used in the country. So, for nine years, the growth was 250 and 347 percent, respectively. Rosnano has taken an active part in the implementation of a large number of high-tech projects. For example, in the creation of the company Hevel, which is engaged in solar energy, the organization of the first industrial production of optical fiber in the Russian Federation on the basis of CJSC Optic Fiber Systems, the establishment of LLC Rusalox, which specializes in the production of boards with high thermal conductivity.
Despite certain successes of Rosnano in the development of nanotechnologies, by the end of 2020 it became known that the company had accumulated a net loss of 120 billion rubles. The new head of the state corporation, Sergei Kulikov, noted in 2022 that the company began to distribute accumulated debts, returning 20 billion rubles. In addition, attention was drawn to the fact that there are currently 51 assets in the portfolio of Rosnano, 18 of which are experiencing various financial difficulties. Also, one of the key roles in the updated strategy of the company began to play participation in economically promising start-ups, which allows attracting third-party investors. Despite the rather optimistic statements of Sergey Kulikov, it became known last autumn that Rusnano was unable to fulfill its obligations to creditors under the sixth series of bonds. Payments on the debts of "Rosnano" in the amount of about 9 billion rubles had to be made by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.
It is worth recognizing that not all attempts by the authorities of our country to develop nanotechnologies are successful, Russia still lags behind other states in this industry in many respects. Let's try to figure out what measures need to be taken to correct the current situation.
1. Thus, it is necessary to carry out the selection of priority areas of nanotechnological developments as soon as possible, putting the issue of their potential economic efficiency at the forefront. A huge role in this should be played by their competitiveness and demand, first of all, we are talking about the situation in the domestic market. At the moment, the price of many types of nanoproducts is quite high, which is associated with their high quality and long service life; therefore, for many consumers with financial constraints, it is inferior in attractiveness to traditional products.
2. The state should equip Russian researchers with the latest equipment, which is essential for the synthesis and diagnostics of nanoproducts. A full-fledged nanotechnological network should appear in the country, including national laboratories and research centers.
3. It is also necessary to pay increased attention to the development of a system of measures that ensure the development of nanobusiness; at present, most high-tech projects in Russia cannot exist in the market without state support. Entering the "free float" is associated with significant financial costs, which are simply beyond the reach of many companies. To achieve this goal, it is possible to modify the mechanism of customs duties for the export of nanotechnological equipment and introduce various benefits for consumers and manufacturers of nanoproducts.
4. In addition, it is worth creating an integral educational system for training a new generation of researchers and technologists, they must have interdisciplinary fundamental knowledge, having the technical capabilities to improve their professional qualities, since this is especially important for such a rapidly developing industry as nanotechnology.
5. Among other things, it is necessary to create and implement a full-fledged system for preparing the entire Russian society for mental changes. As mentioned above, for many Russians nanotechnologies are something incomprehensible and useless for the country's economy. This should be facilitated by the appearance of appropriate school courses, museum expositions, the publication of popular science magazines, television programs, and so on.
Summing up, it can be noted that it is the implementation of the entire complex of the announced measures that will allow the Russian Federation to develop nanotechnologies at a much faster pace, overcoming the technological gap in this sector of the economy.
- Author: Viktor Anufriev
- Photos used: CSIRO