of Scientific Foundations in
The 20th century will go down in history as one of great scientific discoveries and their mass use in the life of all countries and peoples. The exact, natural and engineering sciences have given humankind a powerful impetus to develop its material culture. Unfortunately, the 20th century has also been a period of unprecedented social, technological and ecological catastrophes. Humankind has come close to stepping over a dangerous line and thereby upsetting once and for all the ecological balance between the biosphere and the technosphere of our planet, the lowering of the living standards of a considerable part of the population and gradual deterioration of the technosphere (i.e. the problem of waste disposal is exacerbated by the rapid turnover in technology and rampant consumerism).
The terrible dangers awaiting humankind in the 21st century have resulted from unreasonable use by governments, industries and the public of achievements in the natural and engineering sciences. For example, the successes of scientists in the field of medicine and biotechnologies, which provided human beings with effective protection from many diseases and from elementary malnutrition were not accompanied by adequate successes in socio-demographic policy. This has led to a practically uncontrolled increase in the population size of a number of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The dangerously high levels of accumulated nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapons that saw the light of day as a result of achievements in the fundamental sciences physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology remain and the negative impact on the environment of military operations and exercises has dangerous consequences.
The unreasonable use of the achievements of science and technology compels scientists throughout the world to give ever-more consideration to the imperfection of the social nature of the society in which they live. There is every indication of a systemic crisis in the development of civilization on our planet, of a threat to the sustainable development of humanity. Therefore, representatives of various fields of science often come to the conclusion that, along with the all-round development of natural and engineering sciences, it is necessary to give due consideration to the development of the human and social sciences as well.
Participants in the seminar consider the following measures essential to achieve sustainable development:
The strategy for overcoming the crisis in the development of human civilization calls for a change in peoples behaviour. This is impossible without a thorough and systematic study of the laws governing societal development in interaction with the natural (nature) and artificial (technology) environment. Therefore,
Sustainable development of humankind can be favoured by a system of education, the components of which would become humanist, and ecological knowledge resulting from fundamental and applied research. It is desirable that:
The fact that the human and social sciences form part of our culture is generally accepted. However, it is not as widely believed that natural and engineering sciences are also part of our universal culture. Nevertheless, the human and social sciences and natural and engineering sciences, as a whole, are the main product of development in each country. This is why their all-round development, provision of integrity of education in science, technology and the human and social sciences in schools and universities would help preserve the diversity of national culture, which is a safeguard against mass culture. To do this,
Most developed countries of the world allocate many more funds to science per capita than could manage the developing countries. National systems of science and education were formed depending on the existing financial possibilities of each country and historical peculiarities of their development. For instance, in Central and Eastern European countries, fundamental sciences have been developing over the last 3060 years in two areas: national academies of sciences and universities. Today, attempts of most developed countries around the world to incorporate Central and Eastern European countries (CEE countries) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) into their university systems of fundamental research which do not take into account the organization of research that has existed in these countries could have a pernicious effect on the development of both education systems and science by introducing elements of instability into their functioning at the stage of reform. The fact should be taken into account that the former member countries of the Council for Economic Assistance (CEA) were comparable in the number of researchers to the members countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Under transition, the science sector in CIS and CEE countries are experiencing serious difficulties, first of all due to the sharp reduction in financial support. A sharp reduction in the scientific potential of these countries could have a negative effect on the development of universal science.
The collapse of the traditional system of organizing scientific research in the CEE countries and in the CIS could cause white spots on the world scientific map, which would inevitably reduce the world intellectual potential. To avoid this:
The distribution of grants to support research is carried out taking into account most differing, sometimes contradictory, criteria. Many of them are oriented, in one way or another, toward the preservation of the already existing paradigms in which the leading position is occupied by the natural sciences. Nevertheless, overcoming the existing prerequisites for a crisis in the development of civilization is impossible without the proper development of the human and social sciences, as also without investigations in the field of environmental protection. Therefore, the administration of science foundations should make amendments to the system of project assessment and selection criteria for financing these projects with regard to the five present recommendations.