The mechanism of financing through FTPs to a significant extent suffers from the need to abide by provisions of the law on state procurement3, which, as far as the R&D sphere is concerned, does not always result in picking the strongest application, as it is the costs of implementation of works (until 2010 – costs of implementation of works and their timelines) that constitutes a principal criterion. That said, last year, the foundation was laid for positive changes.
Mysyakov D. Familiar signs // Poisk, No. 3, 20.01.2012, p. 5.
Up-and-down traffic. Research foundations in search of common language with the authorities. // Poisk, No.
49, 9.12.2001, p. 4.
Federal Law of 21.07.2005 No. 94-FZ “On placement of orders for delivery of goods, implementation of works, provision of services for the public and municipal needs”.
Section Social Sphere New Federal Laws1 enacted in April and in December introduced two important adjustments set to facilitate contract- and grant-based implementation of R&D projects: The first of them makes it possible to place orders without a tender, where an R&D project is implemented by a budget institution at the expense of grants (competition-based subsidies) awarded out of a respective budget of the budget system of Russian Federation as well as grants awarded by foreign foundations, unless otherwise established by grantors. The other novelty is that budget institutions are now allowed to attract, outside of the tender procedure2, in the course of implementation of a public or municipal contract, or a contract under the civil law of Russian Federation, other entities to jointly implement an R&D project, as well as to deliver goods, provide services required for its implementation.
Yet another problem associated with the FTP-based mechanism of financing is the opaque project evaluation procedure. The project awarding statistics evidence monopolization of the “market for public contracts” by a closed circle of research institutes and universities. On the one hand, they indeed might be most qualified for the job, while, on the other hand, the concentration of funding by year in the same structures, with the evaluation procedure being opaque and with no publicity with regard to presentation of respective outcomes whatsoever can result in an increasingly lowering quality of implementation of projects. The RF Ministry of Education and Science planned to post such projects findings and outputs on the Internet, but that has not taken place as yet - both the customers and contractors do not seem to be keen on that.
Lastly, implementation of projects under FTPs’ lots is a time-consuming exercise, with the respective paperwork taking far greater time than overseas. And if this is not enough, the paper squall is intensifying and gradually results in poorer performance. Thus, one of the increasingly frequently cited reasons behind young Russian researchers’ emigration is bureaucratization of the scientific process, rather than low salaries or a primitive research infrastructure, as before3.
The imperfection of financing mechanisms clearly leads to poorer performance. Despite a continuous increase of budget allocations for R&D, the number of Russian papers published in journals referenced and indexed in the Web of Science database is in decline and has presently sunk lower than the other BRIC nations’ respective indicators. (Table 14).
Table Dynamic of the Number of Papers for the BRIC Countries, 2007–2011, as Thos. Pcs Country 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 (estimated) Russia 27.4 29.4 29.8 28.9 27.Brazil 27.8 32.2 34.4 35.8 37.India 36.3 42.3 43.5 46.2 48.China 100.0 114.7 132.2 146.2 160.Source: The Web of Science data. Published in: E.Onischenko. The fall in the number of Russian publications should account for some 10%. www.gazeta.ru/science/2011/11/17_a_3837722.shtml 17.11.2011.
Federal law of 21.04.2011 No. 79-FZ “On introducing amendments to the Federal Law “On placement of orders for delivery of goods, implementation of works, provision of services for the public and municipal needs”;
Federal Law of 07.12.2011 No. 418-FZ “On introducing amendments to Art. 311 (Art. 31 item 1) and 55 of the Federal Law “On placement of orders for delivery of goods, implementation of works, provision of services for the public and municipal needs”.
Sub-items 32 and33 item 2 Art. 55 of Federal Law No. 94-FZ, as reworded on 07.12.2011 No. 418-FZ.
Volchkova N. One day application, another day report // Poisk, No. 5, 3.02.2012, p. 7.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks Regretfully, the planned volumes and priorities of the budget financing of science for next three years cannot be assessed in a positive way. According to budget projections, the allocations to civil research will rise by 1.3% vs. 2012 and then fairly drastically plunge in 2014 (nearly by 15% to the prior year’s level). That will be a serious cut with no sound rationale behind it. One of substantial changes is that the correlation between allocations for civil research and military one will be changing in favor of the latter. While in 2012 the planned expenditures on defense research are projected to be twice as low as those on civil one, the “civil research to defense research” ratio will have already been 1.2:1 by 2014. So the structure of the budget would become similar to the one characteristic of the first post-Soviet years. Notably, with the planned increase in spending on military research, it is planned to trim allocations for science in the frame of the state defense order which currently helps keep afloat research a a fairly wide array of technical universities.
The good news is that spending on fundamental research will be increased; however, both RFFR and RHSF will still remain underfinanced against the respective legislative standards.
The research foundations are supposed to receive thrice as low the funding they would otherwise be entitled to.
As for applied research, the Government seems to be far more generous in this respect. The greatest volume of funding is provided for civil research under the item ‘National economy”:
in 2012-13, this direction of research should receive more funding than the defense one; by 2014, the levels of spending on research under these two directions should be practically even. Such substantial expenditures on the item “National economy” should be ascribed to the fact that it comprises the most science-intensive programs, namely the 2006–2015 Federal Space Program (funding of R&D in 2012–2014 – Rb 66bn, 74.6bn and 71.8bn, respectively) and FTP “Development of the civil aircraft in Russia for 2002–2010 and for the period through 2015” (Rb 34bn, 37.7bn and 23.3bn, respectively). For reference: allocations for research in the frame of the basic FTP aiming at implementation of priority avenues of development of science and research – “Research and development in priority directions of development of the scientific-technological complex of Russia for 2007–2012” – will account for Rb 18.8bn in 2012 and 21.9bn in 2013. This also is in contrast to the funding of science by the item ”Applied research in the health care area”– Rb 8bn in 2012–2013 and 10bn - in 2014.
That spending on research in this area is planned to increase is a positive trend, but its level is too low. All that evidences that long-standing tendencies have not changed, with priority still given to the airspace sector.
So, the civil science should arrive by 2014 with the old system of priorities. That said, given sizeable allocations for defense research, the national scientific complex will most likely to keep focusing on the state as its major customer.
5.4.2. Changes in Organization of Academic Research:
Research and Federal Universities The reform of the public scientific sector which read that all the scientific organizations were to be split into three categories with respective managerial decisions tailored for each category1, has not started in 2011. Changes were taking place only in the university sector of science, with the system of elite universities unfolding continuously. Last year, yet another For a greater detail, see: Russian economy in 2010. Trends and perspectives. Issue 32. – Ì.: the Gaidar Institute, 2011, p.381–382.
Section Social Sphere federal university was added to this category, namely the North-Caucasian one, thus making the total of 9 federal universities. The number of national research universities (NRU) remained unchanged, with development programs for some of them potentially set for some adjustment following results of their 2011 evaluation.
The evaluation of the NRU’s progress in fulfillment of their development programsstarted in the spring of 2011, with the emphasis put on the 14 pioneer universities which were granted the NRU status in 2009. The ultimate objective of the evaluation was to assess the universities’ record of fulfillment of development programs they initially formed, to examine what objective and subjective challenges they faced, and how adequate to the goals of the evaluation in question the existing system of indicators was.
At the end of the day it was found that the NRU drafted their reports in such a manner that it was hard to judge qualitative results of their performance. That said, it became quite evident that most of them were still building on their past developments and know how. Furthermore, the expert evaluation of the federal and research universities’ curricula revealed that only 14.and 13.7% of those, accordingly, proved to be of an adequate quality.2. The result is a consequence of both external reasons and the internal situation at the universities. As far as serious external causes, those are peculiarities and timelines of budget allocations for development programs. For example, in 2009, the funding was allocated with a significant delay to reach recipients in the fall of the year. In 2010, there arose a new problem: while in 2009 the financing was carried out following the budget estimate, in 2010 it was allocated in the frame of the FTP “Research and scientific-pedagogical cadres of the innovation Russia” for 2009-13, under the “Other directions” item. That resulted in extra costs for the universities, as those allocations were taxable. In 2011, a positive development was that it was already in July that the NRUs received all the federal budget funding due.
As the concept of research university per se suggests a vigorous development of research, it was critical to assess developments therein from the perspective of the faculty’s increasing contribution to research. At some NURs, this indicator is higher than nationwide averages:
e.g. at St. Petersburg State Mining University, up to 70% of faculty is engaged in research activities; the respective index at HSE is 45%, while the nationwide average is under 20.
However, the objective is not just to boost the number of faculty engaged in research but also to change the volume and quality of the latter. In this respect, the number of papers indexed in Russian and foreign databases per one faculty member of the group of 14 universities has so far accounted for 0.7 (the median value for all the 29 universities was 0.58), ie. not even a single article per one faculty member. The best results in this regard were posted by MFTI and Tomsk State Polytechnic University whose faculty publish more than one article a year per one faculty member.
The other critical aspect of the NURs’ operations which distinguishes them from other universities is international cooperation in education and research, attraction of cadres (both faculty and students) from overseas. The top 14 NRUs have not performed well enough in this respect and find themselves far below the commonly recognized international standards applicable to their peers overseas. According to the NRUs’ reports, they believe success lies primarily in internships with foreign universities, academic exchange programs, contribution A special expert Commission was established to evaluate the NRUs’ performance (Executive Order of the RF Ministry of Education and Science of 4 February 2011. No. 167 “On commission on evaluation of efficiency of implementation of programs of national research universities”.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks to conferences, publication of research findings overseas, contribution to a string of projects, including, inter alia, the EU Framework Program, and - rarely enough – in conduct of joint research. The NRUs have no developed system of expansion of their international contacts, and only a tiny fraction of them has begun revising approaches to training in English. Prospects for bolstering the number of visiting foreign students from regions other than CIS appear fairly elusive, while just a handful of the universities can afford the luxury to attract a foreign specialist.
That said, the analysis of the NRU’s performance shows there are no clear losers among them. Those universities that failed to report on a number of target indicators put forward quite logical explanations which do not evidence a given university’s poor performance, which is why where the university fell short of attaining the planned value of the targeted indicator, it does not necessarily mean it failed on it. Furthermore, because of the original imperfection of the selected system of indicators, their absolutization is dangerous where a managerial decision is to be made. Plus, unification of indicators without regard to a given university’s profile does not seem to be an unarguable decision. It is impossible to compare medical, technical and classical universities using one and the same metrics or one should thoroughly interpret quantitative data and be well aware of specificity of each given university’s operations.
While addressing the issue of evaluation of universities’ activities on implementation of development program, there arise problems as to how and by what parameters they should be gauged. The existing indicators exhibited a string of deficiencies, namely:
• they are not informative enough;
• there are many of them, but no cogent system is in place;
• integration between research and education is not assessed;
• universities employed different indicator calculation methodologies.