In his first public speech after vacation , President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday that his priorities have remained the same and will not be overshadowed by the political bustle or fleeting circumstances.
Iohannis attended the opening of the International Micro-Nano-Photonics Conference ROMOPTO, explaining that his presence there is not coincidental, as he feels close to the field by the nature of his profession, but that he also has a responsibility as a President.
“I chose to participate in this event to show once again what my priorities are. Maybe some were expecting me to talk about political parties, or would have liked a more agitated political summer. Perhaps others are discontent with the absence of the so-called breaking news and incendiary statements. To me, however, the promised behavior and the priorities assumed remained just the same. And they will further not be overshadowed by the political bustle or by momentary circumstances,” the head of the state said at the premises of the Romanian Academy.
Iohannis said that “research and education are Romania’s chance,” “the chance for a future we are not allowed to miss.”
“Romania cannot be strong unless it relies on knowledge, and prosperity and the progress of society come along with it,” Iohannis underscored.
“High time for authorities to take all strategic documents on research out of drawer”
President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday that research is affected by the old shortcoming of things started but left unfinished, and underscored that the time has come for the authorities to take out of the drawer all the strategic documents on research, under the perspective of next year’s budget.
“This is a well-known situation. All the successive governments have known it and all political and social actors have known and are aware of it too. However, research suffers from an old shortcoming of our public space: that of things started and unfinished and of intentions that are not taken through to materialize. We fare well as regards documents but we go amiss with implementation. We have a Research and Innovation Strategy, we also have a national plan for implementation that is however not pursued into action and institutional structures, or if they are, they have been functioning only on paper. Research cannot be allowed to stay at the limit of survival. Romania cannot remain last in Europe in terms of innovation performance,” said the head of state at the Romanian Academy, where he attended the opening of the works of the ROMOPTO International Micro/Nano-Photonics Conference.
Iohannis added that the immediate effects of this condition are a non-competitive economy in European context and low added value for the products and services whereby Romania enters global competition.
On the other hand, the head of the state underscored that Romania has the potential to overcome this gap.
In context, Iohannis proposed three themes of reflection and action for the immediate future, namely the real prioritization of the research – development – innovation sector, establishing a climate of integrity, predictability and decisional transparency, and strengthening the link between education and research & innovation.
The President stressed that only half of the budget set forth under the 2014 – 2020 National Strategy for Research, Development and Innovation was allocated for 2015. Iohannis also showed that research – development – innovation topped the 100 percent uptake rate of Structural Funds, and that a possible solution would be the redirecting of an important parts of unspent funds from other areas, along with the real prioritization of this field in terms of financing from public funds.
Iohannis also stressed that the Extreme Light Infrastructure Nuclear Physics Research Center is a benchmark for Romanian research, already having an international repute; he also indicated that the multiplication of such centers of excellence, together with investment in valuable human resources are essential for attracting top-performing professionals and producing results. He added that the establishment of the UNESCO International Centre for Advanced Training and Research will be another step in this direction.
He underscored that science and innovation have no political color, but can put a significant imprint on the future of the country.
In this context, Klaus Iohannis voiced his willingness to support a sustained inter-institutional effort, so that at the 100th celebration of unity and modernity of the state in 2018, Romania be on a different place in the European hierarchy as regards research and innovation performance.