News from the EuroScience Local Section in Russia (St. Petersburg)

Round Table on Quality of life of the population and environment in the metropolis: contribution of the scientific community

On November 17, 2017 the EuroScience Local Section in Russia held a Round Table on “Quality of life of the population and the environment in the megalopolis: the contribution of the scientific community”. The organizers were the EuroScience Local Section in Russia, the EuroScience Cooperation Centre, the St. Petersburg Association of Sociologists (SPAS), the St. Petersburg Association of Scientists and Scholars (SPASS), the St. Petersburg Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the Sociological Institute of RAS. The Round Table took place in the Small Conference Hall of the St. Petersburg Scientific Centre of RAS. The Round table received support from the Committee on Science and Higher Schools of the Government of St. Petersburg.

The Round Table discussed the problems of large cities in the context of globalization. In particular, attention was paid to the development of science and international relations of scientists as a factor in improving the quality of life of the population of large cities.

The problems the Round Table discussed were so significant that they attracted very important speakers such as two corresponding members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Vladimir Anisimov and Prof. Irina Eliseeva, who both spoke. Very interesting and actual was the presentation of Dr. of Economic Science Sergey Ivanov, the director of Institute of Regional Economy of RAS.

The Round Table was important beсause it allowed the participants to identify and systematize the urgent pressing problems of megacities, to clarify the characteristics of St. Petersburg as a large city, which is on its way to become a megacity and is the center of a large urban metropolitan area. In its development, the metropolis faces many social and man-made risks, which call for the safety, control and development of the urban environment. Improving the quality of life of the population and the environment in the megalopolis is possible provided simultaneous and comprehensive solutions of both social problems and problems which have their basis in technological developments.

During the discussions at the Round Table these issues were examined from different sides. It was noted that the population growth in St. Petersburg is accompanied by a very large growth of migrants from the CIS countries (Central Asia, Moldova), which strains the task of social adaptation of migrants as well as the need to ensure a positive perception of them by local residents.

Attention was paid to increasing the anthropogenic load on atmospheric air in large cities, exceeding the Maximum Permissible Concentrations (MPC) of harmful emissions, both from mobile and stationary sources. The influence on the quality of life and human health of the aspects of “light pollution” was noted, such as risks of cancer and other diseases. The importance of making citizens aware of recommendations for overcoming the harmful effects of “light pollution” was stressed. According to Professor Anisimov, to avoid harm to health, it is necessary to normalize the production of melatonin. Today it can be done using medicines, but scientists recommend first of all to not use medicinal methods. During daytime one needs to be as much as possible in the light or one should create optimal modes of artificial lighting during short winter days. One should go to bed before midnight and make sure to sleep between 7 and 8 hours. One should not turn on bedroom lights and not leave a computer switched on. If one needs to get up at night, turn on only a red lamp because red light suppresses melatonin less. One should hang tight curtains on the windows or put on a bandage to sleep. The less light penetrates the street from lanterns, the better.

Professor Anisimov is one of the active member of our ES Local Section. He is very keen to stimulate dialogue and openness between science and society. He is trying constantly to translate complex science and tech concepts into high-quality articles and speeches in simple language. He is a well-known scientist, international expert and received many awards including European ones.

One of the urgent problems (of megacities) is providing the regional economy with a new generation of young professionals who are essential for building a Knowledge Society. In St. Petersburg (and in Russia as a whole) it is necessary to change the “image of labor”: it has ceased to be a way of realizing one’s personality for part of the population and instead has turned only into getting means of subsistence.

It was shown that in St. Petersburg, as in most large cities in the world, a “smart” urban environment is created; the concept of “information capitalism” is developing. It was stressed that it is necessary to develop a common concept of “smart city”, which will take into account both the current needs of various city services and development prospects for the future. External factors impact all of them. Therefore, for effective implementation Smart City projects require a comprehensive approach, and the use of BIG DATA technology for urban development is crucial element already widely developed abroad.

The participation of the scientific community is one of the key conditions in forming the cultural environment of a large city. In turn this requires developing the market for intellectual labor, training next generations of scientific and intellectual personnel and developing science communication.

An overarching condition for improving the quality of life of the population in large cities is the need to build a social and civil society in Russia.

Press Conference on Factories OF THE FUTURE

Formation of markets of the future is not possible without factories of the future, a key component of the future digital economy. Here again scientists must strongly participate, and one needs to build international cooperation.

On the 9th of February 2018 there was a press-conference in ITAR-TASS (the Russian News Agency) of Saint Petersburg devoted to the start of activity of the Center of Strategic Technologies Initiatives in St. Petersburg Polytechnic University in the context of the “National Technology Initiative”.  Representatives of our ES Local Section took part in this press-conference.

Vice-rector of St. Petersburg Polytechnic University Aleksey Borovkov told the audience about the Factory of the Future (FoF), a new generation production platform for designing and creating globally competitive and customized products via the application of advanced production technologies, digital modeling and design, new materials and additive technologies.

The Factory of the Future project emerged within the scope of the National Technological Initiative “TechNet”. The key objective of the project is forming a set of world-class competences based on integration of advanced manufacturing technologies and business models for ‘factories of the future’. They are platforms for smart digital production, including digital design and modeling, new product sample testing in the virtual media, which simulate real manufacturing and operating conditions enabling significant reduction of the time for development and manufacture and the product costs as well.

As the industry of Russia is facing a new challenge – Time to Market –it is vital to introduce the globally competitive new generation production technology as quickly as possible. Digital design based on comprehensive mathematical modeling and optimization technologies is part of this. This objective cannot be achieved without establishing relations with foreign, international high-tech companies – leaders. Supporting transfer of competencies is crucial to ensure global competitiveness of Russia’s domestic industry.


March 10, 2018
Dr. Nelly Didenko
Local Section Russia (St. Petersburg) and Member of EuroScience Governing Board