Science and Technology in Russian Federation

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January 23 |

Landscape of regulatory basement of science changed dramatically

The seminar, organized by the NRU HSE Training center for managers with the participation of the Department of Science and Technology of Ministry of Education and Science of Russia, was dedicated to the improvement of science research funding mechanisms, and above all funding of the public tasks for the universities.

All the programs and activities of the Ministry, are aimed on meeting the targets of the development of science and technology fixed in the decrees of the President of Russia in May, 2012. One of them is increasing the share of Russian researchers’ publications in the total number of publications in international scientific journals indexed in the Web of Science database up to 2.44% in 2015. The other is increasing the share of domestic expenditure on R & D up to 1.77% of GDP in 2015. The third one is increasing the average wages of teachers and researchers, which in 2018 should reach 200% in relation to the average salary in the region where they work. The fourth indicator is increasing public research funds’ (RFBR and RHF) funding up to 25 billion rubles in 2018.

Legal landscape

Legal and regulatory basement for the Russian science sphere is shaped for the creation of competitive research and development sector. Its landscape has changed dramatically in 2014. The commission of the Russian Government on the legislative activities has approved the draft law "On Amendments to the Federal Law "On Science and State Science and Technology Policy", developed by the Ministry of Education and Science. It provides new requirements for the centers of excellence, as well as uniform requirements for funds of scientific, technical and innovative activity’s support.

The Resolution of the Government launched the Federal system of monitoring and evaluation of efficiency of the scientific organizations’ activity, relating to the university science, in 2014. The amendments to the Labour Code describing hiring, testing for compliance and dismissal of the researchers, including those working in universities, heads of the research organizations and their deputies, passed the second reading in the State Duma.

The mechanism of intellectual property’s management has been changed and takes into account the interests of RID’s authors.

The Ministry of Education and Science has prepared the proposals to clarify the priority areas of science, technology and engineering in the Russian Federation (approved by the decree of the President of Russia every four years).

Changes to the regulations associated with the examination of the programs and projects of the Russian Academy of Sciences are being worked out. Expert function of RAS involves analysis of reports on fundamental and exploratory researches that is carried out by the scientific institutes and universities (reports are submitted in a Common state information system of the R & D results’ registration).

Along with this, the new rules for public tasks in science for universities were introduced in 2014.

From a single purchase order to the public task

The transition to the public task system, which began in 2012, was not easy - not everyone initially managed to recognize the difference between the goals of the scientific staff of the university and the problems to be solved at the request of the founder of the organization - the Ministry of Education abd Science. The public task system planned out up to 2020 is related, to the strategies of universities’ development, to support of best of them by the Ministry (including the entry into the world universities’ rankings), to an increase of the scientific personnel’s mobility.

One of the areas of funding within the public task is addressed to the senior and university researchers. In early 2014, together with the Council on science, the Ministry has chosen on a competitive basis 258 scientists, who must create a strong research teams in universities in three years, and approved their constant rate four times higher than the average salary in the region.

The support of university research infrastructure: inter-chair laboratories, centers of excellence, engineering and technical personnel engaged in research on the expensive equipment, - is the essence of the second component of the public task. It is planned to finance 500-700 projects of this kind up to 2020 year.

The mobility program for young scientists, which provides grants of  Ministry of Education and Science for a three-year training of young researchers in the university of their choice is going to be first introduced in 2015, as a part of the base part of public task. In this case, the institution shall invest its funds, comparable to the size of public task. It is planned to support also the young researchers of the highest qualification – postdocs, – by the public task.

But the number of universities participating in the basic part of the public task will be gradually reduced - from 300 in 2013 to 100 in 2017. The base part will have been canceled since 2015 for those universities which volume of public task (based on the analysis of the impact of scientific and technical activities - the number of publications, patent activity, the volume of contractual and other works), does not exceed 5 million rubles.

The proportion between the base and the project part of the public task will also be gradually changing - in the direction of growth of the project part (now the proportion between them is 50 to 50).

The increase of the total amount of funding by half - from 4 billion rubles in 2013 to 8 billion rubles in 2014 - has enabled the additional support of 684 projects.  However, some of them, according to the preliminary estimates, will be discontinued as laid down indicators are not achieved by some universities. Final figures will be known after the analysis of university reports for 2014. The funds released out of the project part of the public task will be directed to support of the laboratories created under the government decree number 220, and the laboratories that will conduct researches in the interests of the military-industrial complex and import substitution.

Competitive section

Alexander Ladny, the Deputy Director of the Department of Science and Technology of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia, told about the features and the main results of the competition for the 2014-2016 years, that took place in the framework of the project part of the public task. The competition received 1,818 applications from 222 universities; the largest number (100) the Southern Federal University filed. The winners are 684 applications from 153 organizations, more than a half of which are among the leading universities. The total volume of competitive financing of the project part amounted 3.2 billion rubles.

The highest competition was in the humanities and social sciences. The quality of the applications evaluated on a 100-point system was significantly higher among the representatives of technical and natural sciences.

One of the results of a public task ‘s performance should be an increase in publication activity. At least 1300 articles will be published in top scientific journals for three years thanks to 8 billion financing, according to the Deputy Director of the Department of Science and Technology of Ministry of Education and Science.

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