Success StoriesImproving Lives Through IT(1/37)
During the Soviet period, the Information Infrastructure Science and Research Institute at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine was one of the leading institutions in the field of electronic and modern information technologies. Nearly 100 well-known professionals, among them - 15 post-doctoral fellows and 27 Doctors of Science worked here during that period. Until 1990, the Institute was deeply involved in conducting various kinds of fundamental and practical research work, ordered by the defence ministries and other military structures of the former USSR - among them, the Space Defence System developed in response to the USA’s Global Space Defense System. The funding that originated from these sources was fully sufficient to maintain a high level of expertise among the scientific staff, to develop the economic and technical base, and to increase the social infrastructure of the Institute.
After the USSR collapsed in 1991, the situation changed dramatically. The Institute lost orders from its traditional military sources, and with a curtailed budget, its administration could no longer ensure the job security and salaries of Institute staff. It became clear that these fiscal and technical resources could not be renewed. Communications and heating costs were cut during the autumn and winter periods to save money, and social programs were stopped. Between 1993 and 1996, many highly qualified professionals and young engineers began to leave the Institute, in search of better jobs abroad.
At the same time, the Institute attempted to develop a conversion process within its scientific activities. The main event that promoted this process was the STCU's call for projects, announced in 1996. The Institute's specialists were given ideas on how to use their knowledge and experience for new research directions in areas such as modern information technologies and systems for civilian purposes and environmental protection. Project No412 was among the proposals submitted to the STCU that was supported and financed. The Project was a great success for the Institute's scientists and engineers: from 1997-1999, its 27 best professionals completed work on setting up IT to handle the functioning, programming and tuning the neuron systems of signal parallel analysis. Modern computer technologies and other necessary materials were purchased, and the Institute's Internet communications system was upgraded. The real novelty of the technological discoveries elaborated within the framework of the project was confirmed by six Ukrainian patents. Based on the results of this research, 80 articles were published in leading scientific journals, 20 papers were presented at science and technology conferences, and three Doctor of Science dissertations and one PhD thesis were completed and defended.
The Institute's scientific teams continued their activities during the 2nd and 3rd STCU Call for Proposals. As a result, Project No1151, Elaboration of Computer Technological Units for Depositing Images on Metallic Surfaces, and Project No1700, Information Technologies for Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Prognosis of the Carbon Budget of Ukraine were funded by the STCU.
The completion of funded projects and preparation of new ones, as well as support in the patenting process and international conferences, have ensured the possibility of preserving and increasing the scientific and technological potential of the Institute and have introduced international scientific and technological cooperation. The Institute was able to hire about 20 new employees, and to upgrade its computer systems and office equipment. Project participants were completely provided with all the necessary materials and communication equipment. Indeed, the STCU rules of administration and project management have provided Institute management with an absolutely new approach to the research process and the organization of reporting, and made it possible for them to adapt to a market-based economy and market relations.