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  • Interview with Russian Education & Science Minister – “Young Scientists of Russia”

Interview with Russian Education & Science Minister – “Young Scientists of Russia”

In a recent interview titled "Young Scientists of Russia" on the Education TV channel, Education & Science Minister D. Livanov talked about developments in  Russian science: the situation of grants for scientific research support, the activity of the Russian Academy of Science, and the support for young scientists.

Today the Russian Academy of Science accounts for 1/3 of all Russian scientists and receives 70% of all the means for basic research.

Such a distribution of resources reminds one of the Pareto rule by which 20 % of the people possess 80 % of the resources.  Speaking about the results - the Russian Academy of Science has produced 50 % of the fundamental scientific publications. Minister Livanov isn’t happy about this situation and says if Russia doesn’t solve this imbalance, it will lose its position in the global scientific sphere.

The minister considers that one of problems is that the Russian Academy of Science is a closed organization and actually doesn't report their results, which it spends upwards of 10 billion rubles ($325M) to make.

The number of publications produced by them has remained without changes for the last 10 years while financing for them has grown by several times.

The number of scientists older than 60 years has increased by more than 50% in the last 10 years and now accounts for 1/3 of all scientists.

The minister has underlined the importance of fostering young scientists because the future of Russian science for the next 10-15 years depends on them.

About the question of whether there will be an audit of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Livanov answered that an audit is not needed, but rather an organizational overview and understanding of who exactly there is in Russian science, without any divisions of academic, university and professional.

The minister has promised that by April a detailed map of Russian science will be produced, which will tell how many scientists and scientific groups are working on an international level.  As well the ministry will develop concrete measures to support these scientists.  Livanov has pointed out that it will be for all of Russian science, not only for the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Livanov also spoke about an increase in the quantity and sum of grants so that by 2018 the plan is to increase funding to 25 billion rubles (625M euros). 

Lastly in the interview he discussed career possibilities for young scientists, including an increasing of grants to post-graduate students and doctoral candidates and developing the work of the Russian Academy of Sciences to be more efficient and effective.