President Tokayev Outlines Vision for Kazakhstan’s Scientific Revolution

ASTANA — President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized the importance of increasing Kazakhstan’s scientific potential to transition from a follower to a leader among countries, as he addressed the science community on May 31 in Almaty, reported Akorda.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev addresses the scientific community. Photo credit: Akorda

Tokayev highlighted ongoing efforts in this direction, mentioning the draft law on science and technology policy currently under consideration in Parliament. The Senate, the upper house of Parliament, approved this critical and long-awaited document the previous day.

Expanding academic and research institutions

The President noted a 1.5-fold increase in grants for training qualified personnel in recent years, with thousands of grants provided to young scientists.

“There are 12 branches of prestigious international universities in Kazakhstan, with several more set to open soon. The number of universities conducting scientific research is growing. Technology parks and engineering centers are emerging, and annually, 500 scientists undergo internships abroad,” he said.

According to Tokayev, a high level of education, progressive thinking, civic responsibility, unique multilingualism, and cultural diversity are fundamental components of the country’s national identity and key elements of the so-called Kazakh soft power.

He expressed optimism about young scientists’ mastery of modern technologies. This year, the Council of Young Scientists was established at the National Academy of Sciences to support these efforts.

Pursuing digital leadership in Eurasia

The President stressed the importance of prioritizing scientific efforts, urging scientists to engage in applied research beyond theoretical studies.

“We have made significant progress in the development of fintech and e-government. However, we cannot stop there. We face an ambitious, but quite realistic task: to become one of the largest digital hubs in Eurasia. To achieve this, we must accelerate the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Experts predict that by 2030, AI’s contribution to the global economy will reach $16 trillion. To catch our wave in this process, we need to create an AI ecosystem promptly,” he said.

Tokayev noted measures to develop the industry’s infrastructure, including creating a supercomputer accessible to government agencies, the scientific community, and businesses.

He emphasized the importance of human resources, transparency, and ethics in AI development and application, as well as training specialists and conducting advanced cybersecurity research.

The President also reminded that Kazakhstan has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, which requires deep economic transformation and presents significant challenges. He warned of a potential electricity shortage by 2030, which could hinder economic growth and affect the housing and communal services sector.

Exploring nuclear energy options

One proposed solution is nuclear energy. Kazakhstan, the world’s largest producer of natural uranium, has a competitive advantage in nuclear fuel production. However, Tokayev emphasized the need for broad public and professional discussions before making a decision through a national referendum.

He called for the production of high-value products and expanded geological exploration for rare earth metals in the petrochemical industry, which is essential for the green economy.

Tokayev highlighted the potential in mechanical engineering, medicine, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology, advocating for deeper localization, technology importation, and cooperation with international companies.

He also underscored the importance of utilizing Kazakhstan’s transit and logistics potential, mainly through the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, aiming to increase cargo transportation to 10 million tons annually by 2027.

Preparing for natural and artificial emergencies

Tokayev emphasized the need for forecasting and preventing natural and artificial emergencies, citing recent challenges such as floods, seismic hazards, energy failures, droughts, and epidemics. He supported the initiative to open a Project Office for Central Asian Countries on Climate Change and Green Energy in Almaty.

Tokayev praised the Taza (Clean) Kazakhstan environmental campaign, which engaged young people in planting over 2.5 million trees and cleaning coastal areas. He called for the continuation of this initiative, as well as the construction of waste processing plants.

He also stressed the importance of eradicating domestic violence, mentioning the law that will take effect in two weeks.

Tokayev highlighted the need to enhance the authority of workers and support scientists with specific measures, including increased research grants and housing provisions.

“We consistently express our support for the scientists. This is not idle talk. The state is taking specific measures. In the next two years, the number of research grants for young scientists will be increased again. Eighteen billion tenge ($40.2 million) will be allocated from the budget. We will continue supporting domestic scientists and the scientific community,” he concluded.

Get The Astana Times stories sent directly to you! Sign up via the website or subscribe to our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, YouTube and Tiktok!