Plus, each NRU would set benchmarks on its own. Understandably, they proved too low, hence, easily attainable in some cases. From this perspective, one should have risen the standard primarily with regard to such indicators as the number of postgraduates from outside organizations, which reflects both the level of academic mobility as a whole and a concrete postgraduate course’s attractiveness to prospective applicants from different universities, institutions and regions, the R&D volume per one faculty member, and publication activity.
The evaluation also exposed that at the stage of formation of programs, the university leadership had had no clear vision of both the Government’s objectives and future moves to develop the national research universities system. Post-evaluation, the decision was made to modify methodologies of calculation of a string of NRU’s performance indicators and introduce a few new ones to ensure a more comprehensive picture of the status quo at the universities. As well, some changes in the indicators were caused by new normative and legal documents which affect NRUs’ operations. More specifically, in August 2011 NRUs were granted the right to send their faculty members and students to study overseas against the guarantee of their employment with Russian corporations, which resulted in a rise of the respective indicator.
In addition to the federal and research universities, the year of 2011 saw the rise of yet another group of “selected” ones, as 55 universities were awarded with up to Rb 100mn out of the federal budget for the term of up to 3 years (2012–2014) to fulfill their development programs. While selecting recipients, both a university’s scientific and educational, as well as Section Social Sphere innovation capacity, and geopolitical importance were taken into account. That is why the support was granted to universities in the Caucasus and the south of Russia, among others.
In all, the volume of university funding was up 3.5-4-fold per one faculty member1, but the university research fell behind that of scientific organizations, nonetheless. This is evidenced by the level of international cooperation expressed in the degree of engagement in it of staff of respective institutions. Thus, a survey on 3,450 PhDs and Drs at research institutions, universities and the corporate sector showed that 3.8% of university faculty is engaged in research at foreign organizations (for the term of up to 3 months) vs. 10.1% of staff at research institutions doing that too. As to joint publications with foreign authors, the respective rates are 10.5 vs. 22.1%, while judging such indicators as engagement in research projects and conferences overseas, universities’ performance is twice as low as research institutions’2. A low efficacy of budget investment can be partly ascribed to the fact that the funding is channeled to universities which are bound to operate in accordance with strict and not yet changed rules (such as, for instance, a high tuition load rate, which hampers academic research), while expenditure items are too rigid. Hence, an insufficient efficiency of the system as a consequence of the rigidity of the system of its support.
5.4.3. Scientific-Educational Centers as a Form of Integration of Education and Research In 2011, the Government continued to fund scientific-educational centers (SECs’) operations. Established under universities and research institutions, over 1,300 SECs received support from the RF Ministry of Education and Science. Most of such centers operate under universities, while some - under RAS institutions.
In 2011, SECs supported by the Ministry in 2009-2010 underwent evaluation of their performance3.
According to the Ministry’s documents, main objectives of allocation of the support were:
1) attainment of world-class scientific results across a broad spectrum of research;
2) shaping efficient and viable research teams wherein young scientists, postgraduates and students work hand by hand with the most effective researchers of older generations;
3) retention of research and scientific-educational cadres in the scientific sphere.
Indicators by which SECs report to the Ministry do not allow to judge whether the objectives of their support were attained, as the indicators in question are only quantitative ones, while the objectives were formulated in such a manner that evaluation of their attainment requires a quantitative analysis too. That is why there were objective limitations in the course of evaluation of the SEC’s performance.
Attainment of world-class scientific results was evaluated chiefly by indicators of publication activity and the number of new educational programs. The respective scores proved very moderate, especially with respect to the indicator of publication activity overseas. There is a whole string of SECs without any scientific outputs. When compared with university SECs, N. Volchkova. Two Quarters of Justice. Rectors are punished for small salaries // Poisk, No. 47, 25.11.
2011, p. 3.
Shmatko N.A. Scientific capital as a driver of researchers’ social mobility // Foresight, 2011, No. 3, p 18–32.
The author ran the evaluation on the basis of data collected and processed by the National Foundation for Cadres Training. The scoring is based on information collected across two masses of SECs: 1) the ones that became victors in the 2009 competition (a total of 502 SECs) and 2) victors of the 2010 competition (809). The author analyzed the data as of late-2010.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks academic ones performed far better. As for the university community, the situation varies by university, and the specific weight of SECs with no research output is greater than at the academic institutions. Interestingly, as evidenced by the specific weight of SECs which have had respective results, SECS are keen on research, rather than development of new educational programs.
Shaping efficient and viable research teams. Whether viable teams were formed is premature to assess right after financial support to SECs came to an end. However certain landmarks can be found by assessing the volume and composition of the attracted by SECs extrabudgetary financing, which can evidence the degree of their successfulness and potential of a sustained development. The analysis revealed that the SECs’s extrabudgetary funds are formed largely by their own ones (it is universities where the specific weight of this particular source of funding is particularly high). The second critical source of finding is “Other” funds, including:
- agreements on delivery of services under the RF civil law;
- co-investors’ funding;
- agreements on execution of works concluded between organizations;
- RFFR, RHSF’s grants;
- target grants awarded under the EU 7th framework program.
Foreign funding constitutes a fairly meager part of financial support to SECs (under 5%);
however, its “weight” at academic SECs is greater than at university ones. It should also be noted that the former SECs boast a greater variety of sources of financing than university SECs, which allows suggestion that the latter are less stable than academic Centers.
So, while assessing the SECs viability and sustainability from the perspective of composition of extrabudgetary funding sources, it can be ascertained that they rely largely on their own funds, which, on the one hand, evidences their future sustainability, while highlighting a small volume of extrabudgetary (including the Centers’ own) financing, which is unlikely to increase in the future to a degree needed to ensure their substituting for the budget financing.
Retention of research and scientific-educational cadres in science and education Attainment of this particular objective was assessed using specific weight of young staff employed specifically to complete a project under the aegis of a SEC. It turned out that the performance of the Centers supported since 2009 was in stark contrast with the one of the Centers supported since 2010. The average index of the proportion of young staffers employed for the said purpose made up 24% for SECs-2010 vs. 41% for SECs-2009.
In all, roughly a half of young researchers was hired to do the job, which proves a fairly high rate, given caps on payrolls at research institutions and universities. But it remained unclear for which term the young cadres accounted by the statistics were hired, as, according to the established procedure, the calculation is run only with regard to those who were “fixed” for the term of the project implementation, rather than given a full-time job at a research center or a university.
In addition to the evaluation of attainment by SECs of their goals, equally important is analysis of types of SECs which have currently emerged under Russian research organizations and universities, as well as examination of their strengths and which centers are missing. The research allowed identification of three basic types of SECs.
The first, most numerous, type of SECs includes those ones which demonstrate medianlow performance in respect to major scientific-educational parameters. In such Centers, exstudents mostly stay on in the same organization where the Center belongs. Accordingly, no Section Social Sphere encouragement of mobility of cadres there, while research efficacy is poor, outputs and findings are not presented at conferences overseas, which is why the level of international relations is low. It can be asserted that such SECs operate in a slow mode. They ensure minimum results required for their support. This type of SECs can be tagged as centers of poorly efficient integration of research with education.
The second type boasts somewhat better results compared with the first one: such Centers are a bit more efficient with training of cadres, a greater number of their graduates find jobs at other universities, ie. diffusion of expertise and skills takes place there. That said, their scientific performance is poor too, and the emphasis is put mostly on education. Their international “visibility” rate is fairly low. To some extent it can be argued they may become resource centers for a short-term advanced training of cadres.
The third type incorporates the SECs with the highest indexes of R&D outputs. Such Centers are based mostly at RAS organizations, federal and research universities. They demonstrate a high degree of retention of young people in the scientific area. Such Centers are successfully engaged in the international research community (judging by the number of publications in foreign journals and presentations made at international conferences), and the proportion of foreign sources in their budgets is quite substantial. It is also possible to identify sub-clusters of SECs which are eligible for the title of international centers of research. There are just a handful of such SECs – some 10% of the aggregate number of examined Centers.
It should be noted that just 6% of SECs are engaged in commodization of their research outputs, which manifests itself in the average statistical structure of funding of SECs’ operations: with 66% of the funding spent on research, another 23% is spent on education and only 10% - on commercialization, despite the fact that commercialization is the most resourceintensive exercise. SECs’ business culture is still nascent. Traditionally, they practice patenting, but none of them has ever sold a single license. So, a Russian patent is still viewed as a means to secure the priority, rather than as a lever to engage results of intellectual activity into economic turnover.
5.4.4. Formation of a World-Class Scientific Base:
Megagrants on Creation of University Laboratories Megagrants on creation of laboratories at universities to be spearheaded by leading international experts1 can be regarded as yet another vehicle to advance the university science, integrate research with education, and shape a world-class scientific base.
The peculiarity of the program lies primarily in the scope of its funding, which is in stark contrast with the one the RF Ministry of Education and Science typically awards to “routine” SECs without foreign leaders. The maximum volume of financing available for a “normal” SEC is Rb 15mn for the term of three years, while the said laboratories can apply for a Rb 150mn-worth grant for the same term. That said, requirements to their performance are even more lenient than those to SECs’.
In 2011, as many as 39 projects on creation of university laboratories were selected on the basis of the nationwide competition; thus, the number of the megagrant-supported laboratories totaled 79. During the competition, applications were reviewed by 1,299 experts of whom foreign ones accounted for 46.9% (609 persons). The contest rate was the same as a year ago, The program was launched in 20101. For a greater detail, see: Russian Economy in 2010. Trends and Perspectives. Issue 32.-M.: the Gaidar Institute, 2011, p. 376-379.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks that is, 13 applications per project. The country-of-residence pattern of heads of laboratories (see Table 15) evidences that, like in 2010, preference was given to projects spearheaded by the diaspora representatives (more than a half of all the grants). The proportion of projects led by foreigners increased substantially, while just a sole Russian resident was awarded a grant (in 2010 – 5 ones). So, greater emphasis was put on attraction of foreign specialists per se to run laboratories, while megagrants appear particularly attractive to Russian-speaking specialists. For them, megagrants are not just extra funding enabling them to make another leap in their research field, but a possibility to frequent Russia and meet relatives and friends1.
Table Megagrants Allocation Pattern Depending on the Team leader’s Residence Team leaders’ residence Grants, 2010, as % to the total (N=40) Grants, 2011, as % to the total (N=39) Russian researcher 12.5 2.Foreign researcher 35.0 46.Foreign researcher – representative of the 52.5 51.Russian-language diaspora Source: calculated on the basis of the RF Ministry of Education and Science.
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