“The Number of Young Scientists has Recently Decreased by a Third”

(July 17th, 2015) Once a flourishing empire in the East, the Ukraine is going through some difficult times at the moment. The political instability also affects science. We talked to Roman Bezus, associate professor at Dnipropretrovsk State University of Agriculture and Economics.

The Ukrainian Roman Bezus is Associate Professor at the Dnipropetrovsk State University of Agriculture and Economics. In addition, he is currently serving as President of the Council of Young Scientists (CYS) of the Dnipropetrovsk region. Lab Times talked to him about his work and CYS.

Lab Times: Please tell us briefly about your career and current occupation.

I graduated from Dnipropetrovsk State Agrarian University (DSAU) in 2005, specialising in "Accounting and Auditing". During the final year of my degree, I not only studied, but also worked as a senior teller at a commercial bank. In 2008, I defended my thesis for a degree in Economic Sciences. From 2009 to 2010, I was working as deputy director of the Educational Research Institute of Economics. In 2011, I was awarded the title Associate Professor and currently hold this at the Department of Finance.

LT: What about your work?

My scientific work is aimed at improving the economic efficiency of agro-industrial enterprises involved in organic farming. In 2006, I joined the local Young Scientists Council at DSAU as a member and was elected Head of the same Council in 2008. In 2009, I was elected Deputy Head and in 2011, Head of the regional Council of Young Scientists of the Dnipropetrovsk region. In 2009, I participated in the TEMPUS Joint European Project “Towards Increasing the Competitiveness of Ukrainian Agriculture” for developing and licensing the programme of Master training in Business Administration. I have contributed to a variety of additional projects such as the Tempus project "EU Based Course in Foodstuff Expertise & Quality Control" or the Ukraine Grain Storage and Marketing Cooperatives Project.

LT: How did you become involved in the work of CYS?

From the first days as assistant lecturer at the Department of Finance, I actively participated in the work of the Council of Young Scientists at our university, as an ordinary young scientist. Later, I became Deputy and thereafter Head of the Council of Young Scientists. The members of our Council and its founding Head, Vlasov Sergei Fedorovich, a professor at the National Mining University, were quite active and many projects and ideas were implemented. As Deputy and Head of the Council of Young Scientists, I was benefiting from my previous experiences. Being a scientist myself I knew the problems of young scientists. At the same time, I was familiar with the work of the Council and its problems.

LT: What is the structure of CYS?

The Council of Young Scientists of the Dnipropetrovsk region (CYS DR) unites more than 1,800 young scientists, including 5 Doctors of Science and over 480 PhDs from 18 universities and 6 scientific research institutes of our region. The CYS DR includes Heads of the Councils of Young Scientists as representatives of the young scientists of the universities and scientific research institutions. Besides some active young scientists, experts can join CYS DR and help to realise our projects. Experts like psychologists, sociologists and others. The CYS DR has always supported the idea of forming a three-stage CYS structure with a local (university/science institutions), regional and national level. However, up to date we do not have many efficient regional CYS. And this is a problem.

LT: What are your main activities and how are you supported financially?

For eight years in a row, we have been organising the annual regional competitions "Best young scientist" and "Young scientists of the Dnipropetrovsk region." These competitions are directed at providing financial support for young scientists, working in the Dnipropetrovsk region. We also organise a competition called "The best council of young scientists" among the different Councils of Young Scientists in the region. Financial resources for these competitions are made available via the regional budget. Over the years, the CYS DR has put more efforts into the promotion of healthy lifestyles of young scientists. The football tournament CYS of University/Science Institutions for the cup of the CYS of the Dnipropetrovsk region is a quite popular activity. Furthermore, we are currently implementing the project "School of Young Scientist", which addresses professional and personal skills development. But this is another long story.

LT: What activities is CYS involved with at the international level?

Representatives of the CYS DR take part in EURODOC. EURODOC, the European Council for Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers, is an international federation of 32 national associations of doctoral candidates and early career researchers (pre-doctoral or post-doctoral researchers employed on a temporary basis). And we are actively networking and are in contact with the embassies of different countries.

LT: What is the legal status of CYS?

Initially, the CYS DR was a consulting body of the Department of Education and Science of the Dnipropetrovsk regional state administration. Since 2012, the CYS DR has been focussed on setting up regional programmes. This prompted us to organise ourselves as a non-governmental organisation.

LT: What is your function and motivation as President of CYS?

The CYS DR was created to bring young scientists together in the region, identify and analyse their needs and development, promote the preservation and creation of scientific schools, spread the implementation of research results of talented young people, represent the interests of young scientists in state, regional and municipal authorities, scientific and public organisations and associations. And my task as Head is to promote the achievement of these objectives.

LT: How is the current situation of younger scientists in the Ukraine?

Unfortunately, in recent years, the number of young scientists has decreased by almost 30%. This is due to the fact that less people take up a scientific profession and that young scientists search for more profitable jobs in the business sector. For example, the salary of a young scientist is now less than 100 Euro because of the currency devaluation. In addition, a large number of young scientists has recently been mobilised in the Armed Forces of the Ukraine and is taking part in anti-terrorist operations.

LT: Do you think that the new Draft Law regulating science is a major step forward - if approved?

In the new draft law on science, insufficient attention has been paid, in my opinion, to CYS. We have submitted a lot of proposals addressing the structure, organisation and financing of CYS at different levels. Unfortunately, they were not taken into consideration.

Interview: Ralf Schreck

Photo: R. Bezus

Last Changes: 09.01.2015