The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF) Biotech Initiative hosted its first public event in Kyiv on November 12th. In a ceremony at Kyiv’s CEO Club, the Foundation awarded certificates and grants to 24 emerging leaders conducting research in the biotechnology sector in Ukraine. USUF Board Chairman, Roman Popadiuk, presided over the event and stressed the importance of this cutting-edge sector to Ukraine’s overall economic development. Nadia K. McConnell, President of USUF, outlined the approximately thirty-year history of the Foundation supporting projects in Ukraine and presented the certificates along with Irene K. Joseph, the financial sponsor of USUF’s Biotech Initiative. In her comments, Ms. Joseph, who has Ukrainian roots, stressed the need to stay committed to one’s research and endeavors, citing the experience of having started her company in the basement of her home and growing it into a multimillion-dollar business.
Three speakers with direct responsibility for the development and implementation of Ukrainian science policy, addressed the young biotech leaders. Anatoliy Bilous, Chairman, Scientific Council of Ukraine for the Development of Science & Technology; Volodymyr Levchuk, First Deputy Director, Department of Humanitarian Policy, Office of Science & Education, Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine; and Alla Yemets, acting head of the newly created Scientific Committee at the National Council of Ukraine for Science & Technology Development, all congratulated the recipients and stressed the opportunities and incentives the government plans to offer them to stay committed to their field while remaining in Ukraine. Also participating in the event were Markian Bilynskyj, USUF Vice President in Kyiv, and Christina Redko, coordinator of the USUF Biotech Initiative in Ukraine.
The next day, the USUF group, including Ms. Joseph, met with young researchers at UNIT.City, a Kyiv-based privately funded innovation park aimed at fostering high-tech startups.
The Biotech Initiative is the latest in a long line of Foundation projects aimed at helping Ukraine’s development. The Initiative is focused on identifying emerging leaders in the biotech sector and helping them learn the management techniques necessary to transition their research into viable commercial endeavors. It provides travel and research grants, will help develop contacts with U.S. researchers and institutions and will also help stimulate U.S. business interest in the sector. Additional information on the project and a listing of the individuals recognized at the Kyiv event can be found on the Foundation website.