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Livanov warns about personnel crisis at Russian Academy of Sciences

June 27, 2013, 22:26 UTC+3

Russia’s share in the world scientific market is shrinking

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MOSCOW, June 27 (Itar-Tass) - Dmitry Livanov, the Russian Minister of Science and Education, warned on Thursday that the Russian Academy of Sciences was facing a personnel crisis as a result of which Russia may lose the status of a leading scientific power.

"The share of academics who have reached retirement age exceeded 40% in 2012. It’s a human resource disaster,” Livanov said at a briefing devoted to a government meeting that discussed the Russian Academy of Sciences reform. The number of able-bodied scientists aged 30-49 is on decline, Livanov added.

The minister emphasized that Russia was facing a threat of irretrievably losing its status of the world’s leading scientific power in the foreseeable future.

According to him, appropriations for basic research have gone up from 8 billion to 83 billion rubles over the past 10 years. A single program of fundamental research will coordinate research carried out by all state academies of sciences.

Livanov said that leading foreign scientists were being invited to work at dozens of new research laboratories that are actively appearing in Russia. “Ultimately, it was decided to increase state subsidies to scientific funds,” the minister explained.

Russia’s share in the world scientific market is shrinking. The proportion of its publications in international science magazines stands at about 2%. Not only traditional leaders in science but also the developing world has left Russia behind.

Livanov added that about 71% of budget appropriations are targeted at institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences; another 9% are spent to finance other state academies of sciences.

The head of the Russian Ministry of Science and Education believes that the Russian Academy of Sciences can disclose its potential by using effective forms that suggest a clear division of scientific work and property management and periodical assessment of ing the activities of new scientific collectives, close integration of fundamental science with universities, transparency and accountability to the state and society. Livanov added that the practice used to be widespread even in countries where science management was initially based on Soviet principles.

Livanov believes that the academy’s archaic organizational structure is the key obstacle to successful development of fundamental science.

“The present model of running state academies of sciences is characterized by combination of property management functions and scientific work, the absence of mechanisms of external control of the quality of scientific findings and non-transparent mechanisms of allocation and spending of funds,” Livanov said in conclusion.



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