Elected as council co-chairs were Sergei Mironov, Speaker of the Federation Council, or Russia's upper house of parliament; Boris Gusev, President of the Russian Academy of Engineering; and Vladimir Kadannikov, Board Chairman of the automobile maker AvtoVAZ.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Mironov said the establishment of such an organization was a very timely move indeed. According to him, the government's declared objective to double GDP within the next decade will be impossible to attain unless the economy is reoriented from mining industries toward high-tech manufacturing.
Mr. Mironov said the Council would be closely cooperating with government agencies, encouraging them to boost their support of science and technology. It will act as an advocacy group for Russia's engineering community and will try to contribute to the shaping of an efficient national innovation system.
He argued that the Russian economy would be unable to operate efficiently without any government regulation whatsoever. If it relies entirely on market forces, Russia will end up in chaos, he said.
Engineering specialists have traditionally been the driving force behind this country's technological progress, and Mr. Mironov believes it is high time their public profile was raised.
The Supreme Engineering Council has been set up in keeping with a decision made by delegates to Russia's first engineering specialists congress, held in November 2003. The founders include the Russian Academy of Engineering, the Russian Intellectual Resources Committee, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the natural gas giant Gazprom, the AvtoVAZ car manufacturer, Admiralty Shipyards Co., the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the Tsiolkovsky Space Academy, the International Academy of Economic Security, the Bauman Polytechnic, and other high-profile public organizations, government agencies, and corporations.