On November 27, 1918 the constituent General Assembly of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences was held and elected the world-famous geologist and geochemist V. I. Vernadsky the President of the Academy. Over its many-year history, prominent scientists were elected Academy's presidents: M. P. Vasilenko (1921-1922), O. I. Levitsky (1922), V. I. Lipsky (1922 -1928), D. K. Zabolotny (1928-1929), O. O. Bohomolets (1930-1946), O. V. Palladin (1946 -1962). Since 1962 the Academy has been headed by B. E. Paton.
The name of the Academy was changed four times. In 1918-1921 it was known as the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, from 1921 to 1936 - as the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, in 1936-1991 as the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, from 1991 to 1993 - as the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and since 1994 its name has been the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NAS).
The Ukrainian Academy of Sciences was the oldest republican academy in the former Soviet Union. In its first year it had three research departments: those of history and philology, physics and mathematics, and of social studies; at that time the Academy incorporated 3 institutes, 15 commissions and a national library. Now NAS carries out research in all fields of knowledge through 3 sections, 14 departments, nearly 170 institutes, and employs in excess of 19 thousand researchers.
Numerous internationally renowned science schools had their origins in the Academy. They were initiated by prominent scientists in mathematics - D. O. Grave, M. M. Krilov, M. M. Bogoliubov, Yu. O. Mitropolsky; mechanics - S. P. Timoshenko, O. M. Dynnik, M. O. Lavrentiev, G. S. Pisarenko; physics - K. D. Sinelnikov, L. V. Shubnikov, V. Ye. Lashkaryov, O. I. Akhiezer, O. S. Davidov, A. F. Prikhotko; astronomy - O. Ya. Orlov, Ye. P. Fedorov, O. Ya. Usikov, S. Ya. Braude; geology - P. A. Tutkovsky; materials science - I. M. Frantsevich, I. M. Trefilov; chemistry - L. V. Pisarzhevsky, O. I. Brodsky, A. V. Dumansky; biology and medicine - D. K. Zabolotny, O. O. Bohomolets, V. P. Filatov, M. H. Kholodny, I. I. Schmalhausen, M. M. Amosov. The whole world knows Ukrainian electric welding school, started by Ye. O. Paton, and V. M. Glushkov's school in cybernetics. Wide recognition was won by academic schools in economics and humanities, headed by economists M. V. Ptukha and K. H. Vobliy, historians M. S. Hrushevsky and D. I. Yavornitsky, legal scholar V. M. Koretsky, philosopher V. I. Shinkaruk, orientalist A. Yu. Krymsky, scholars in linguistics L. A. Bulakhovsky, I. K. Bilodid, V. M. Rusanivsky and literature scholars S. O. Yefremov and O. I. Biletsky.
Institutional Principles and Structure
The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is the highest state-supported research organization, enrolling academicians, corresponding members and foreign members. It integrates all researchers of its institutions and carries out studies in various branches of knowledge, develops scientific fundamentals for technological, socio-economic and cultural advancement of the nation. According to its Statute, the Academy enjoys the rights of self-government in making decisions about its own activities.
The supreme NAS body is the General Meeting of its members, which as of September 1, 2008 comprised 179 full members (academicians), 339 corresponding members and 109 foreign members. In the intervals between sessions of the General Meeting, the Academy's activities are directed by NAS Presidium, consisting of the President, Vice-Presidents, the Chief Academic Secretary and Presidium members, who are elected every five years. Academician-Secretaries of Research Departments and heads of Regional Science Centers are members of the Presidium as well. In addition, presidents of other state-supported academies take part in its work.
The National Academy of Sciences comprises three sections incorporating 14 research Departments - those of Mathematics; Information Science; Mechanics; Physics and Astronomy; Earth Sciences; Physical-and-Technical Problems of Materials Science; Physical-and-Technical Problems of Power Engineering; Nuclear Physics and Power Engineering; Chemistry; Biochemistry, Physiology and Molecular Biology; General Biology; Economics; History, Philosophy and Law; Literature, Language and Art Studies. The Academy has 6 Regional Science Centers, which are also subordinated to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Their activities are aimed towards promoting R&D potential of respective regions, combining scientists' efforts for addressing priority regional issues. The basic elements in NAS structure are research institutes and other similar institutions. Their activities are guided by their own statutes, approved and registered by NAS.
The Academy has an R&D network, which involves pilot-production facilities, design-and-technology agencies, engineering centers, all working towards practical application of research results. Besides, small businesses and joint ventures operate within institutions, contributing to the commercialization of new developments.
Academy institutions were founders of the first Ukrainian technological parks and play a key role in the operation of 5 such research-and-engineering facilities pools, which under Ukrainian law enjoy preferential innovation and investment environment.
Furthering and supporting the intellectual inquiry and popularizing its results are two academic libraries: V. I. Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine, which is a UN depository and whose stock contains nearly 15 million books and manuscripts, and V. Stefanik Lviv Academic Library. Functioning within NAS network are 'Naukova Dumka' and 'Academperiodika' publishing houses, that publish monographic works, learned journals and other periodicals, reference editions and textbooks, dictionaries and popular-science books.
Principal Research Areas and Achievements
Scholars of the Academy enriched R&D progress with numerous accomplishments in fundamental and applied research, which have an international dimension. They are responsible for over 90% discoveries made and registered in Ukraine and for numerous other innovations widely used in industry, agriculture and culture. Back in the 1930-s they effected man-made nuclear reaction of transmutation of lithium atoms to those of helium, constructed an accelerator of charged particles, produced heavy water, developed a 3D radar operating in the decimeter range.
In the turbulent years of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) the Academy introduced in defense industry an efficient technology of flux-welding of tank and artillery-system hulls, and aerial-bomb bodies, improving the performances of combat materiel. Due to that, the nation was able to meet major challenges in aircraft and motor industries, in mass manufacturing of ammunition and other defense products. Medical and biological scientists scored numerous successes in the development of novel medical preparations and treatment methods. Just five years after the long and devastating war, NAS scientists constructed the first in Continental Europe small-scale electronic computing machine and later developed the theory of digital automata, which provided the basis for designing several generations of computing facilities.
Academy's researchers proposed advanced technologies to produce permanent joints of metals and nonmetals under various conditions and in various environments, the procedure of electroslag remelting; they laid down foundations for starting a new metallurgy branch - special electrometallurgy; its scientists initiated production of super-hard materials, synthetic diamonds, ceramic-metal contact alloys and introduced a lot of other innovation. That permitted the Academy to turn into a world-known center of materials studies. Among the state-of-the-art achievements in electric welding and materials science one cannot but mention the unique method of joining (welding) living tissues, now employed in surgical procedures.
Results of great scientific relevance have been produced in mathematics, mathematical physics, information science, in various areas of biological cybernetics. Studies in the mechanics of solids, liquids and gases have gained momentum.
Physicists and astronomers of the Academy have also made important contributions to theoretical physics, solid state physics, low-temperature and semiconductor physics, physical electronics, radio physics and radio astronomy, which gave them a much deeper insight into the properties of matter under various conditions and understanding of physical processes in the Universe. Those findings have resulted in cutting-edge technologies in electronics, holography and radio engineering. Fundamental research is done and targeted projects are under way in the area of nanostructure systems, nanomaterials and nanotechnologies, in sensor systems and technologies.
A new page in Academy's history was opened by the studies of the Sun and near-Earth space with aerospace means. Breakthroughs in space navigation and in-orbit biological experiments, in decameter radio astronomy and extravehicular metal welding and cutting have won international recognition.
In Earth sciences, valuable results have been obtained in geo- and hydrophysics, hydrogeology, geochemistry and physics of minerals, in oceanology. An honoured place in the work of NAS scientists has been taken by physical and technical aspects of power engineering, nuclear power in particular, by pioneering studies in heat-and-mass transfer, electrophysics, modelling of electrical and power systems, increasing energy efficiency, using alternative and renewable power sources.
Major advances have been seen in fundamental studies of catalysis, organic synthesis, macromolecular chemistry, electrochemistry, inorganic and water chemistry, nanochemistry, coal fuel chemistry and other modern trends of research chemistry.
Appreciation of both Ukrainian and international scientific communities has been won by in-depth research in biology - studies in membrane biology, human and animal physiology, neurophysiology, biosensors and genome investigations.
Extensive purposeful inquiries are going on in theoretical and experimental oncology, radiation medicine, cryobiology and cryomedicine, molecular and cell biology, in gene engineering, microbiology and virology.
Comprehensive studies of Ukraine's plant and animal world are conducted, with a view to finding effective methods to restore biodiversity and protect it against anthropogenic load in both continental and marine ecosystems. Special emphasis has been given to current methods of breeding, introduction and acclimatization of new species and varieties.
Numerous important results have been attained in socio-humanitarian studies. NAS institutions doing research in politics, jurisprudence, economics and sociology, have made a significant contribution to the theoretical validation and information-and-analytical backup of socio-political and socio-economic transformations in Ukraine, current changes in the society, principles of investment, innovation, regional, ethno-national and humanitarian policy of the state.
Fundamental multi-volume scholarly works have been produced; they address the early history of Ukraine, its political history in the 20-th century, the history of Ukrainian culture. A 15-volume monographic series "Ukraine through Centuries" has been published. A whole range of new-generation dictionaries have been issued; the first domestic software lexicographic system, developed to meet the needs of academic research, educational and publishing activities, has been a major success.
Of the utmost importance has been the role of NAS in counteracting the impacts of the major human-induced disaster at Chornobyl nuclear power plant. It is well known that the Academy had warned the USSR highest authorities against concentrating dozens of power units in Ukraine and a wrong choice of sites for them, but those warnings were ignored. Since the very first days of the accident, Academy's researchers have aimed concerted efforts at abating grave impacts of the emergency and minimizing the losses, turning the ruined power unit and disaster zone into a pollution-free territory.
It should be stressed that after Ukraine won independence, the National Academy of Sciences has not spared efforts towards reviving research in the areas critical for the establishment of the sovereign nation, it set up relevant institutions within its framework, provided scholarly support to addressing new socio-economic challenges.
In the years of Ukraine transition to market economy, NAS scientists have developed dozens of breakthrough technologies that contribute to nation's progress, promote domestic competitive science-intensive production.
Aiming at the integration of science and education, the Academy maintains permanent working ties with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, and with leading Ukrainian education institutions. This collaboration is seen in the activities of joint research-and-education centers, university chairs, laboratories and in other forms of cooperation between scholars and educationalists. The Academy also does coordinating and advisory work for the whole sphere of fundamental research in Ukraine, it hosts the Inter-Agency Council for Coordinating Fundamental Research. In order to elaborate an agreed science policy, combine the efforts of state-supported academies of sciences in the country, NAS has initiated the establishment of the Council of the Presidents of the Academies of Sciences of Ukraine, which now works efficiently.
A lot of concern is given to training qualified research personnel, through post-graduate and post-doctorate courses in particular. Besides Academy research institutions proper, numerous alumni of their post-graduate schools take prominent positions in universities, industry, business and banking, in legislative bodies of various levels, both central and local government offices.
International Research Collaboration and Foreign Economic Ties
The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine aims a lot of efforts at the advancement of international scientific ties, further integration to the world academic community. Academy institutions are engaged in quite a number of joint research projects under direct bilateral agreements with foreign research institutions and those financed by grants provided by numerous international science foundations and programs.
Agreements have been concluded and intellectual contacts established with research centers of more than 50 countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas. Among them are academies of sciences of various countries, well-known research organizations, such as German Research Society (DFG), the National Centre for Scientific Research (CRNS, France), the National Research Bureau of Italy (CNR), the National Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), and numerous foreign universities as well. NAS has significantly advanced multilateral collaboration of the academies of sciences of the Black-Sea countries.
15 years ago, on the Academy's initiative, the International Association of the Academies of Sciences was set up, which now integrates national academies of sciences, leading science centers, universities and academic foundations of many countries.
NAS is engaged in the activities of over 20 prestigious international research organizations: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA, Austria), Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Russia), European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), it interacts extensively with UNESCO, IAEA, WHO.
The Academy and its institutions represent Ukraine in the International Council for Science (ICSU), in more than 30 professional science unions and associations.
Foreign economic ties of NAS institutions are growing. R&D works are conducted under assignments of foreign science organizations and firms, institutes sell licenses and their own science-intensive products. Efficient international economic activities are carried on by Electric Welding Institute, the Institute of Materials Science Problems, Institute for Superhard Materials, Institute of Semiconductor Physics, Institute for Single Crystals, the Institute of Scintillation Materials, the Institute of Engineering Thermophysics, Gas Institute, the Institute of Organic Chemistry, the Institute of Microbiology and Virology. Renowned research institutions and industrial companies of Russia, the USA, Japan, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, China, Turkey, Iran and other countries are their partners.
Academy institutions have become founders and partners of dozens of successful R&D companies with foreign investments. This has provided a better logistic support and ensured a higher competitiveness of their developments.
Its great historical past and today's powerful scientific and R&D potential make the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine a leading world research center, enable it to maintain academic traditions and high standards in organizing its research activities.