No matter how important may be the competitions organized precisely in or der to attract more young people into science, they still are aimed at a single, and quite limited, target group, because they involve only those persons who are al ready employed in research. At the same time, vast reserves are hidden among students. Therefore, the involvement of young people in science must begin as early as during their undergraduate years, through their participation in real re search activity. In this field, rich and variable foreign experience is available, as well as some interesting domestic initiatives, which date back to Soviet times. Different methods are practiced throughout the globe in order to stir an interest in science, among them – lectures to freshmen students who are working toward a bachelor degree, delivered by eminent scientists, who are capable to speak of the latest achievements in their specific fields and at the same time establish a certain benchmark for an academic level of research. Another possible approach is to de velop specific programs of advanced studies for future scientists. This approach used to be well developed in the Soviet system of higher education. The third ap proach consists in implementing special research programs for students. Nowa days, however, this approach is being practiced on a very limited scale: if back in the early 1990s no less than 10% of all the funding allocated to higher educational establishments and earmarked for research and development had to be spent on students’ research activity, presently, according to the data presented by the Min istry of Public Education and Science, this index has decreased threefold.
Solutions to the personnel problems were looked for also within the RAS’ sys tem, and took the form of a pilot system of remuneration. In April 2006, the Gov RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks ernment’s Decree “On the implementation, in the years 2006–2008, of a pilot pro ject aimed at improving the system of remuneration of the research staff and direc tors of research institutions, and the research staff of the research centers of the Russian Academy of Sciences” was issued, whereby a list consisting of 410 organi zations was established, the staff of which was to be involved in the pilot project. In accordance with that decree, from 1 May 2006 the sum of remuneration to be paid to the research staff was to be composed of a fixed salary, the rates for which were also determined by the decree, and bonuses paid as incentives. Both these com ponents were to be funded from the budget resources. Off budget resources have remained a supplementary source of income for scientists. Simultaneously with the introduction of the new system of remuneration, within the period of three years the number of research staff employed at the research institutions and research cen ters of the Russian Academy of Sciences is to be cut by 20 %. In this connection, the decree determines the precise number of the employees of the RAS’ research institutions which must be achieved as a result of these reductions: as of 1 May 2006, the total number of staff employed at the institutes within the RAS system was 112,370 including 55,281 of directors and researchers. By 1 January 2009, these indices must be equal to 89,896 and 44,225, respectively53.
The development of approached to determining the size of bonuses to be paid as incentives continued, in fact, throughout the whole year. The main subject of discussion was the principles to be applied for establishing the additional payments and the criteria for estimating the performance and efficiency indices of research activity. The Ministry of Public Education and Science and the RAS presented two different approaches: the Ministry had developed a system of strict quantitative es timation indices54, while the RAS’ Presidium had focused its attention on the quali tative estimation, augmented by a limited number of quantitative indices55. The ac tual coordination of the criteria and procedures was completed only toward the year’s end56.
The final document took a sufficiently well balanced shape: the system of quantitative indices was preserved, but at the same time 15% of the funding allo Decree of the RF Government “On the implementation in 2006–2008 of the pilot project for im proving the system of remuneration for the research staff and directors of research institutions and the research staff of the research centers of the Russian Academy of Sciences”, No. 236 of 22 April 2006.
Proposals of the Ministry of Public Education and Science of Russia concerning the procedure and terms for the application of bonuses paid as incentives to the research staff and directors of re search institutions and to the research staff of the research centers of the RAS (24 May 2006). See http://mon.gov.ru/science politic/news/2507/.
Types, procedure and terms for the application of bonuses paid as incentives to the research staff and directors of research institutions and to the research staff of the research centers of the Russian Academy of Sciences. See http://www.ras.ru/feu/zarplata.aspx.
Order of the Ministry of Public Education and Science and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development “On approving the types, procedure and terms for the application of additional allow ances paid as incentives aimed at improving the performance of the research staff and directors of research institutions and the research staff of the research centers of the Russian Academy of Sci ences”, No. 273/745/68 of 3 November 2006.
Section Social Sphere cated from the Fund for incentives for research institutes could be distributed at the discretion of an institute’s academic council. Besides, the director of an organi zation may use up to 30 % of the Fund’s resources for the inducement of the re search staff performing research under the RAS’ programs. And, finally, an aca demic council may make decisions concerning the establishment of adjustment coefficients in the range of 0.5 to 1.5, to be applied to the quantitative indices.
Thus, approximately one half of the Fund’s resources will be distributed in accor dance with the strict quantitative criteria. Among these, the principal ones are the indices of publications, including citations, the numbers of patents, the number and size of monographs, the participation in conferences, the development of aca demic educational courses and the training of supreme qualification personnel.
Some of the indices seem to be dubious from the point of view of compatibility with the goal of estimating the research performance level. Thus, for example, the cita tion indices are very useful for the follow up of the development of certain areas of science, for determining among them those that are new and growing (science maps). However, when individual scientists and organizations are estimated in this way, there emerge too many factors that can distort the results: group citations, self citation, negative citation, the impossibility to estimate performance levels in those areas where access to publications may be restricted because of state se cret, etc. Moreover, as demonstrated by the experience of countries with devel oped science and technology, the bibliometric indices are relevant only for natural and some technical sciences, and therefore are not applied to the estimation of performance of social sciences and humanities. Much will also depend on the spe cific adjustment coefficients established for each index, on the conferences that are to be taken into account when generating the summary estimation, on the types of monographs, etc. Thus, the system that has been suggested is rather flexible, and the positive effect of its implementation may be higher than the various poten tial side effects.
At the same time, it should be noted that such a complex system for comput ing the individual level of scientists’ performance is not being practiced in countries where science is well developed (in the USA and Western Europe), because it is bulky, labor consuming and is capable of reflecting the real state of affairs with a certain degree of approximation only. Besides, it is appropriate only for scientists engaged in fundamental research. The introduction of such a system in Russia can be explained, first of all, by the insufficient scope of the grant type financing of fun damental science.
In its approach to the planned cuts in the number of budget funded staff, which were to take place alongside the implementation of the pilot system of remu neration, the RAS Presidium applied the leveling principle: each institute, irrespec tive of its performance level, was to cut, during last year, some 7% of its research staff. Quite early on, it became obvious that this approach is destructive: in “strong” institutes it was rather difficult to select the necessary 7% of staff to be dismissed, because the staff structures there were well balanced, and any further cuts could result in lower performance, while in some other institutes more than 20% of staff RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks was redundant. The cuts also meant that no new young employees could be ac cepted. To prevent this, the RAS Presidium introduced an adjustment measure, by entering into plan 500 additional budget funded vacancies specifically to be filled by young scientists. If the target staff reduction indices remain the same, then this innovation will mean greater cuts among the other age groups. By the year’s end, the RAS Presidium had acknowledged the failure of the leveling principle when ap plied to staff number reduction. However, if the individual approach is to be applied to each of the academic institutes, specific criteria must be developed for deter mining the scope of personnel cuts in every specific case. This will give rise to the same problem as that which emerged when the approaches to estimating the size of incentive bonuses were being developed: what must be the quantitative and qualitative criteria What should be the degree of formalization of the selection pro cedure If expert’s estimations are to be applied, who will perform them So far, no answers to all these questions have been provided.
The problems of ensuring a well balanced personnel structure have to do not only with the reproduction of manpower in science, but also with the need to bal ance these structures by type of activity (scientists, engineers and technicians, auxiliary personnel). The problem of inadequate personnel balance is becoming more and more acute in Russia. In a majority of research institutes belonging to the fields of natural sciences and technologies, the shortage of engineers, laboratory assistants and technicians is growing, which results in poorer generation of knowl edge and lower opportunities for its proper protection, promotion and transforma tion into new products and technologies. From this pint of view, the system of re muneration being introduced within the RAS network is aggravating the situation still further, because it results in producing a greater gap between the sizes of sala ries assigned to researchers and to all the other categories of personnel.
If one compares the situation in Russia with those in developed countries, in the latter case one can observe a higher percentage of engineers, technicians and auxiliary personnel. In the government sector of science in the USA, researchers proper comprise 42.2%, engineers – 21.6%, technicians – 27.4%57. In Russia there exists no statistics as to the number of engineers; some of them are included in the category “researchers”, and some – in “auxiliary personnel”, and so no correct comparisons with foreign countries can be possible. Nevertheless, it is evident that in Russia scientists do prevail in the government sector of science, where their per centage is 51.3% and has remained unchanged for several recent years. At the same time, the number of technicians is 9.8% of the total staff employed in re search and development, while that of auxiliary and other types of personnel is 38.9%58. The recommended average weighted indices of the research and devel opment staff for the OECD member states (which can be found in the international standards for science and innovations – the so called “Frascati Manual”) represent The data for 2001. Source: Morrison R., Green M. Scientists, Engineers, and Technicians in the United States: 2001. NSF, 2005, tab. 1, p. 10–21.
The data for 2004. Source: Indikatory nauki (Indices of Science). A collection of statistics. Ì.: SU HSE, 2006, p. 117.
Section Social Sphere 50% for researchers, 25% for engineers and technicians, and 25% for all other types of personnel that provide support to research and development. At the same time, at the government level (by representatives of the Ministry of Public Education and Science) there has been voiced the intention to further change the personnel ratios toward increasing the percentage of scientists proper. These plans can be explained only by a lack of proper understanding of the situation in this country’s research institutions as it really exists, and of the objective demands intrinsic to the organization of the research process.
4.5.4. Organizational Changes in the Government Sector of Science Last year, the restructuring of the government sector of science was very slow. Organizational reforms were restricted by the absence of legislation on the new organizational forms applicable to the spheres of science and education. Only as late as November 2006, the Federal Law “On autonomous institutions” was passed, which introduced a new type of a state institution – an autonomous institu tion60. This form may become especially attractive for the organizations in the for mer branch sector, which presently are performing in the organizational legal forms of an institution or a unitary enterprise.