Researchers from overseas were more responsive to the call for competition than Russian-speaking expats – 35%2 and 22% of the total number of applications, respectively (Table 17), with Russian researchers clearly dominating the list of applicants (43% of applications in total). The structure of grant recipients, however, proved to be nearly an opposite one, as the competition winners chiefly became projects spearheaded by expat community representatives (52.5% of all the awarded grants). The proportion of overseas researchers that did not belong into the expat community in the overall number of grants remained unchanged, while the number of Russian permanent residents amid victors was a meager 12.5% (5 people).
Table Distribution of Megagrant Applications and Awarded Grants due to the Project Leader’s Residence Applications, as % to their total number Grants, s % to their total number The project leader’s residence (N = 507) (N = 40) Russian researcher 43 12.Foreign researcher 35 Foreign researcher- the Russian expat com- 22 52.munity representative Source: calculated on the basis of data of the RF Ministry of Education and Science. http://mon.gov.ru/ press/news/7876/ Speciality-wise, the pattern of victorious projects appears fairly balanced and mirrors both the current balance of forces across areas of research (with projects in the field of physics, mathematics and mechanics being traditionally strong) and the government’s new priorities (an unusually great number of grants on biology, biotechnologies, medicine –11 grants combined of 40 ones). Such fields as astronomy, nuclear power and technologies, machine sci Minobrnauki provedet vtoroy otkrytyi konkurs dlya uchenykh na polycheniye grantov dlya nauchnykh issledovaniy//29.10.2010 ã. - URL: http://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/20101029212303.shtml. Date of access: 07.02.2011.
Including 2% of researchers from across the CIS.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks ence, chemistry, energy production and conservation, as well as the direction of “economics, international studies and sociology”, were awarded one grant each.
University-wise, the grant pattern shows that alongside a relatively bug number of grants allocated to several leading universities, the competition organizers also supported a string of projects on creation of laboratories at regional universities that do not hold such status, such as Puschino State University, Udmurt State University, Bashkir State university. The group of leading universities comprised nine universities, each enjoying a certain status (an especially valuable object; research or federal university): MSU, SPSU, MFTU, SU-HSE, Sibir Federal University, Novosibirsk State University, Nizhegorodsky State University, LITMO, and Tomsk Polytechnic University.
After the competition results were made public, the research community found themselves engaged in a heated debate on to what extent the choice was fair. The evaluation process was arranged well - for the first time ever some 2/3 of experts engaged in the primary assessment of projects was represented by researchers from overseas1. The evaluation stage resulted in picking 114 finalist projects, of which it was supposed to select 80 winners. That the Council for Grants under the RF Government, which has the final say on the matter, singled out only 40 winners and did not care to publicly substantiate the move sparked the most acid comments. In a situation when 13 applications rival for a grant (the actual level of the competition), indeed, the choice no longer can be made solely on the basis of assessment results –it already becomes political and in favor of projects that will be led by expat community representatives.
Legislative Changes Aimed at Attraction of Highly Qualified Specialists into Russia Grant programs aside, the Government undertook other measures aimed at promotion of interaction with the expat community. More specifically, the Government introduced measures to facilitate foreign specialists’ employment conditions in Russia.
The legal ground of the move became Federal Act of 19 May 2010 ¹ 86-FZ “On introducing amendments to the Federal Act “On legal status of foreign citizens in Russian Federation promulgated on July 1 2010. The Act reads that work permits are now granted to foreign citizens who are highly qualified specialists for the term of up to 3 years, with a possibility of their repetitious extension. The said foreign citizens shall also be granted the RF resident tax regime, with their personal income tax rate being 13% (regardless of length of their stay in Russia). Meanwhile, the highly qualified specialist is construed by the law as a foreign citizen who has a professional background, operational skills or achievements in a given field of activity, should conditions of his attraction to labor activity in RF provide for his receiving a salary (labor compensation) in an amount of Rb. 2 mln. more over the period not exceeding one year. No doubt the new Act will be instrumental in the first place to those foreign citizens who will be awarded grants for creation of laboratories with universities, as well as to those who are planned to be attracted for contribution to the Skolkovo project. However, like a number of recently promulgated legislative acts, this one does not appear fully consistent with the already effective law and Codes in particular, either. Furthermore, it comprises equivocal formulations that engender legal collisions. Problems of this kind have already arisen, with the most obvious of them being the following ones:
According to the RF Ministry of Education and Science, there were 600 foreign experts out of the total of 1,000 experts engaged in the evaluation process.
Social Sphere 1. The amount of salary forms the only imperative criterion of identification of the invited specialist’s qualification. In a number of other countries that likewise regulate attraction of qualified human resources, their national legislation emphasizes imperativeness of the presence of at least yet another criterion – namely, the period of service in the speciality, or a diploma on the speciality by whose profile the specialist is hired. Introduction of qualificatory characteristics of a highly qualified specialist increases prestige of a given category and forms a “filter” on the way of hiring those who in reality are not qualified employees.
2. The preferential employment and visa regimes do not concern highly-qualified specialists’ family members of an able-bodied age. Russia cannot boast a great variety of kinds of visas, which is why employers of highly qualified specialists have to journey through all circles of bureaucratic hell in an attempt to obtain a visa and employment permit for a foreign citizen who is the highly qualified specialist’s family member.
3. The 2m ruble-worth labor compensation is not linked to the calendar year, which might provoke an employer to abuse the contract (an early termination of the contract without paying the amount due in total). The monthly labor compensation would form a more efficient criterion than the “period not in excess of one year”.
4. The preferential tax regulation with respect to highly qualified specialists does appears vain in the event they are classified as non-residents, for tax treaties read they are bound to pay back taxes in the country of residence, notwithstanding their tax contributions in Russia. So, for a prospective specialist the tax benefit is not that important, and it per se results in the migration of funds from the RF budget to foreign countries’ ones.
The above list is not exhaustive, as there exist a whole string of local and detailed challenges facing both employers and employees eager to benefit from the status of highly qualified specialist.
The government reacted to the challenges with a laudable speed by promulgating already on 23 December 2010 Federal Act ¹385-FZ “On introducing amendments to individual legislative acts of the Russian Federation”. The Act is aimed at remedying a number of the above problems.
First, the Act introduced the variative definition of the concept of highly qualified specialist, which is now recognized as a foreign citizen with a professional background, skills or achievements in a specific field of activity, should conditions of his attraction to labor activity in Russian Federation provide for his receiving a salary (labor compensation):
1) In an amount of no less than one million rubles a year on the basis of one year (365 calendar days) payable to highly qualified specialists who are researchers or faculty members in the event they are invited to carry out research or tuition activities by publicly accredited higher educational institutions, state academies of sciences or their regional subsidiaries, national research centers or public research centers;
2) Without regard to the amount of a salary – to foreign citizens participating in implementation of Skolkovo project, per the Federal Act “On innovation center “Skolkovo”;
3) In an amount of no less than two million rubles on the basis of one year (365 calendar days) – to other foreign citizens.
So, the Act classified Skolkovo and the research sphere into separate categories, which, fundamentally, is correct.
Second, the Federal Act establishes a more liberal and simpler procedure of issuance and a subsequent extension of working visas for the highly qualified specialist’s family members.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks In all likelihood, such a prompt fine-tuning of the normative and legal regulation can be explained by the government’s keenness to complete the model projects – that is, the innovation town of Skolkovo and the megagrant program designated for inviting world’s leading researchers to Russia.
5.5.3. Plans on Reforming the Public Scientific Sector The principles and methodologies of the organizational reforming of scientific organizations under the federal agencies of executive power and state academies of science have been developed since 2008. In April 2009, the RF Government issued its Resolution of 08 April 2009 ¹ 312 “On assessment of performance of research organizations conducting civic research, pilot-plans and technological works”. In compliance with the Resolution, the assessment should result in optimization of the research organizations network with a subsequent reallocation of volumes of budget appropriations for R&D for departmental research institutions.
Upon an inventory check, all such organizations should be classified into three categories:
leaders, stable organizations, and institutions that have lost their research profile and development prospects. After that, there should be designed plans on solidification of leading positions of organizations of the 1st category, building of institutional development programs for organizations of the 2nd category, and design of proposals on reorganization or liquidation, and – in individual cases - on replacement of their heads – for organizations of the 3rd category.
Despite the standardized methodology approved by the RF Ministry of Education and Science, principal budget funds managers (ministries and the RAS) had the right to modify the standardized version of assessment criteria with account of the departmental organizations’ profile. As a result, through 2010 agencies have been designing their own performance assessment methodologies1, and the inventory check should kick off only in 2011. According to the RF Government’s plans, conduct of a comprehensive research audit on public organizations should be implemented no later than in 20122. It was only institutions under Rosatom that were able to avoid the comprehensive inventory check, as from the perspective of it legal status, Rosatom is an incorporated entity, rather than a public agency, and as such, it defended the right to deal with subordinated institutions on its own.
In all likelihood, the conduct of the above audit would procrastinate the reform process in a given sector, for, as proved by the past record, no post-Soviet interdepartmental reform attempts have ever yielded serious positive consequences.
Methodologies designed by different agencies practically replicate the standardized one and, accordingly, bear the legacy of all its problem criteria and indicators. Thus, a great attention is paid to the performance assessment on the basis of citation indexes and impact factors.
Meanwhile, it is suggested to employ both the Russian Research Citation Index (RRCI), which is still under development and object of harsh criticism, and the Web of Science database. The excessive pursuit of citation indices is dangerous, as their main mission is to assess Thus, the RF Ministry of Education and Science approved the standardized methodology with Executive Order of 14.10.2009 ¹ 406, while, for example, Rosobrnadzor approved its own methodology with Executive Order of 25.06. 2010 ¹1756, and the RF Ministry of Health Care and Social Development did that with Executive Order of 26.08. 2010 ¹ 738n.
Porjekt strategii innovatsionnogo razvitiya RF na period do 2020 g. materials of the RF ministry of Economic Development. Section VI “Efficient science” (September 2010).
Social Sphere ongoing changes across various directions of research on the basis of mapping the science’s development trends, rather than to evaluate research teams and institutions’ performance.
While assessing smaller objects, such as institutions, along a short time interval (according to the aforementioned Resolution, reports should cover the preceding five years), there appear numerous biases. An article is cited not only because it is important and instrumental, but because a certain theory or direction of research might have grown fashionable at the moment.
There also exist such problems as self-citation, negative citation, citing colleagues and seniors. There exist statistical methods that allow cleaning databases from such “inaccuracies”, but it is highly unlikely there will be anyone in each reporting institution to take care of that.
The methodology also features a clear predominance of quantitative indicators (machinery and equipment in value equivalent, the number of established start-ups, the number and proportion of researchers).