Attracting Leading Scientists to Russian Universities
On April 9th, 2010 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed the decree No. 220 on “Measures to Attract Leading Scientists to Russian Educational Institutions” (Mega-grants), through which RUB 3 billion have been approved from the federal budget in 2010, with an additional RUB 5 billion allocated in 2011, and another RUB4 billion in 2012.
Programme funds were available through a competitive grant process. The first call of proposals to participate in the contest was held in June, 2010. 507 applications were received from researchers and 179 higher education institutions. The proposals evaluation has been accomplished by 971 independent experts (335 Russian and 636 international) through the panels by priority scientific fields. On 29 September, 2010 the Grants Council of the Government of the Russian Federation has identified the names of 40 researchers, who have won the open public contest. The majority of the winners is represented by Russians (20), Germans (7) and US-citizens (10).
The winners of the second call 2011 are 39 researchers, among them are 19 Russians (including 13 double citizenships), 10 US-citizens, 6 French and 4 Germans. 517 applications were received from researchers with 176 Russian universities.
Grant stipends were offered in amounts of up to RUB 150 million for each research project in 2010-2012 and 2011-2013, with opportunities to extend the research period for 1-2 years. Funding for the program comes not from the current educational budget, but is planned as additional federal appropriations. Calculation and specification of science grants was determined by the host institutions where successful applicants were planned to conduct research. The call for proposals is open, with any Russian university eligible to apply through a joint proposal with the scientist applicant. Scientists of all nationalities and countries of residence are eligible to apply.
Research projects are implemented by university research teams under the supervision of leading scientists in the following research areas determined by the Grants Council of the Government of the Russian Federation for support of scientific research activities implemented under the supervision of leading scientists at Russian institutions of higher education (hereinafter referred to as “Grants Council”): astronomy and astrophysics, nuclear power and nuclear technologies, biology, biotechnologies, information technologies and computing systems, space research and technologies, mathematics, engineering, health sciences and technologies, mechanics and management processes, nanotechnologies, Earth sciences, material sciences and technologies, psychology, cognitive research, construction and architecture, physics, chemistry, ecology, economics, international research, sociology, power production, energy efficiency and energy saving.
Scientists are free in determining their research area, limited only by the general guidelines set by the Council. The number of projects undertaken by each institution of higher education is unlimited, but only one research project is allowed per applying scientist.
Upon approval of project funding, scientists collect their research team, composed of students and employees of the host university. Each research team should consist of no fewer than two PhD candidates, three graduate students, and three undergraduate students. Salaries and compensation for the visiting scientist and members of the research team can not exceed 60% of the total grant allotment. All requirements to project proposals are subject to special agreements between visiting scientists and their host universities. In accordance with that agreement, visiting scientists will assume responsibility for organizing and managing their work.
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