40 leading scientists from the Ministry of Education received 150 million rubles for the establishment of laboratories in Russian universities, reports GZT.RU.
Recall that 9 April 2010 the Russian Government adopted a decree № 220 "On measures to attract leading scientists at Russian institutions of higher education." Only this year will be allocated for this purpose from the budget in the form of a grant of 3 billion rubles. In 2011, more will be allocated 5 billion rubles, in 2012 — 4 billion. Decided to provide funds on a competitive basis in the form of grants of up to 150 million rubles each for research in 2010-2012. with a possible extension of the research for a period of one to two years.
Allocation decisions made by the Council on Grants of the Government of the Russian Federation for the state support of research conducted under the supervision of leading scientists at Russian institutions of higher education, the composition of which was approved by the RF Government on 9 April 2010 number 517.
Council identified the following areas of government support for science research: astronomy and astrophysics, nuclear energy and nuclear technology, biology, biotechnology, information technology and computer systems, space research and technology, mathematics, engineering science, medical science and technology, mechanics and control processes , nanotechnology, earth science, materials science, psychology, cognitive research, electronics, construction and architecture, physics, chemistry, ecology, economics, international studies, sociology, energy, energy efficiency and energy conservation.
Council established the requirement to leading scientists, who determines the need for personal (being physically present at Russian institutions of higher education) and management of laboratory research conducted at least 4 months in a calendar year, beginning in 2011.
Allocation of government grants will be carried out by transferring funds to universities on the basis of which the beneficiary (lead scientist) grant will conduct scientific research. But spend the grant universities will be able only with the consent of the lead scientist responsible for directing scientific research.
Competition for grants is declared open, which determines the possibility of making an application to the leading scientist of the university of any organizational-legal form. In the tender documents are no restrictions on citizenship and country of residence of the leading scientist. The number of studies that could be conducted on the basis of one of the university, is not limited, but the lead scientist will be able to submit only one application for participation in the competition for the grants. Tender documentation is not introduced restrictions on the direction of scientific research (for research projects) within the areas identified by the Council of Science for state support of scientific research.
In accordance with the requirements of the contract leading scholar undertakes to guide scientific research and presentation of a scientific report on the conducted research, and the university is committed to providing conditions for their implementation.
Under the agreement, the grant to the university granted the right to enter into contracts (agreements) with the organization in which the lead scientist who has applied to work on a permanent basis, to account for its interest in conducting scientific research, or the implementation of the results of this research study. And, at the expiration of the term of the contract, the laboratory should continue to work and not to fold with the departure of a leader to his home university.
Now, according to the Council's decision, grants of up to 150 million rubles allocated 40 scientists — including foreigners. This is an impressive amount even by American standards. Since the competition was the first and unique in its treatment, the Ministry of Education and Science has tried to hold it as (by Russian standards) objectively. In any case, even well-known scientists who have not passed the selection in subsequent interviews to various media recognized that project selection was fair and honest.
What you can buy or make to funds allocated to science? — Asks the publication. Good microscope, for example, cost 50 thousand dollars, if it is a "normal" optics. Amount rises to a million when it comes to complex laser systems for the study of living cells. A few hundred dollars can be antibodies for biochemical studies, more expensive — on the order of the molecule synthesized RNA for productive work tens of thousands of dollars on reagents — not even a luxury but a necessity. A million dollars' worth of scanner, which is also required for the liquid helium — about ten dollars per liter.
If we talk about the world's postdoc salaries (in Russian terminology, this is a PhD, working after security researcher with a degree, but not to the professor's dorosshih rate), the normal level is the amount of 30 to 70 thousand dollars a year (depending on the country, knowledge and requirements). How many will pay the artist works in Russia, while it is impossible to say, but we can calculate that the million for the year will be enough to pay a few dozen people.
What problems can wait for the winners? Among these may be called bureaucratic restrictions on working with certain substances — Federal Drug Control efforts in the list of "precursors" includes even banal potassium permanganate, sulfuric acid and acetone. For those grants that were issued earlier, was also required to provide advance lists of what is planned to buy — that is often virtually impossible.
"Naturally, mathematicians do not need experimental equipment (except computers and books). On the other hand, in comparison with the experimental laboratory is actively working Mathematical Department or the laboratory has more professors, visitors, workshops, which also requires funding. So mathematicians need almost comparable amounts and in such competitions, they usually apply for a slightly smaller amount. As far as I know, all the mathematicians who have received this grant, asked about 3 million dollars. The same ratio was similar to the grant of the European Research Council, introduced two years ago, "- said GZT.RU winner mathematician Stanislav Smirnov, a professor at the University of Geneva, winner of the Fields Medal.
He also told the newspaper the following: "Together with colleagues from St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg State University), we proposed project at the intersection of several active areas of modern mathematics: complex analysis, probability theory, mathematical physics. These areas are well represented in St. Petersburg, but we are planning to launch several new lines of research. It is equally important for us to increase the number of seminars and courses for undergraduate and graduate students, inviting foreign experts, the activation of the scientific life. According to the contest will be set up interdisciplinary laboratory "Probabilistic methods in mathematical analysis and mathematical physics." In my group will include colleagues from the departments of similar subjects, especially mathematical analysis and the theory of veroObrazyatnostey. We also plan to invite new researchers, especially young ones. Hopefully, there will be foreign researchers — so that the spring semester will arrive two French graduate student. "
Bidder Artem Oganov, a chemist, a professor at the University of New
York, for his part pointed out that biology, physics, medtehnologii — among the most advanced and practical important disciplines, and the priority given to them is justified. The contest, in his estimation, was fair, and the decision to select only 40 applications have been logical. He however, did not fail to notice that the "competition was announced in the summer and in a hurry and have not done." But "one of those 3-4 names that are very familiar to me on the list, all — great scientists. However, there are great scientists, and among those who applied for a grant, but did not get one. Let us not forget that in general the level of applications was first rate. In the second round will participate, of course, hope to win. I think I would be able to do a lot for Russian science. "
Bidder Igor Efimov, a professor of biomedical engineering, cell biology and physiology at the University of Washington, said that the list of winners of several first-class mathematicians. "This is very important because mathematics in Russia is traditionally very strong, but many left — says Efimov. — Now such luminaries as Bogomolov and Smirnov, will return at least partially. Physics is also very strong in Russia — but also lost many. Now, at least someone will come back and they have a place to work, as the laboratory in Russia survived. Since biology is more complicated. Russia lost almost everything. I'm currently working on a project in Nizhny Novgorod. Physiological Laboratory have to create from scratch. But they are very necessary because of the catastrophic state of Russian health and medical industry. "
Allocation of government grants for the creation of laboratories, we were asked to comment on the President's National Strategy Institute Mikhail Remizov:
— The Russian government, in fact, for a long time to be concerned and the state of Russian science, and the minimum of its shares in the domestic economy. So the contest and grants — one of the first attempts like that to really improve the situation in this sphere. First of all, it concerns the institutionalization of contemporary Russian science, which in its current state is completely ineffective. As planned by the Russian leadership, it should serve as a laboratory created by the cells of the new infrastructure on which will develop our science. The state is trying to ensure its funding directly, without going through a bureaucratic structure as the Russian Academy of Sciences, and integrated it into the academic structure.
Of course, this is not quite true of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The fact that, despite all the ugliness last twenty years, we have remained academic science at a high level — is mainly provided by the RAS. At the same time, applied science have collapsed completely, except for a few of the fragments that were saved thanks to the military-industrial complex. However, the isolation of our academic research on the development of the national economy, a chronic inability to implement its applied research into the industry, obviously, have become a major reason of concern, why the country's leadership has decided to fund promising research directly.
Regarding the conduct of the competition, I have no reason to believe it unfair — except, perhaps, we have been brought up in the last decade habits to consider all tenders, tenders or auctions scams. In this case, however, is quite skilled scientific expertise, as has been carried out.
Returning to the issue of the Academy of Sciences, which, on the contrary, constantly cutting back funding, I think it's wrong — perhaps here is in the mutual hostility of the academic leadership and government agencies in charge of scientific development. But maybe in this case, is not to the Academy financial blockade, but simply to show the will of the state and to the rotation of its leadership? Of course, it can be offensive and unpleasant for many academics — but that somehow this issue must be addressed, and so that the Academy, and ultimately gain.