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Other Mechanisms to Support Academic Mobility

Academic mobility is also supported by Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), Russian Foundation for Humanities (RFH).

Russian Academy of Sciences

The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) is the main basic research organisation in Russia. It maintains relations with almost all leading countries of Europe, America and Asia. The main forms of cooperation include:

  • joint research within the framework of interagency cooperation agreements,
  • implementation of intergovernmental agreements,
  • participation in international organisations (more than 50),
  • activities of international centres and laboratories.

It currently has agreements with organisations in 19 EU Member States and 9 Associated Countries of FP7. RAS has a long tradition of researcher exchanges with a broad range of the EU MS and AC. RAS is the leading Russian research organisation which, similar to other academies of sciences in EU MS/AC, uses a small portion of its funds for the mobility of its researchers, mainly with partner academies. RAS usually concludes a framework agreement with foreign partners, which is then filled with projects, mostly with mobility projects. RAS scientists cooperate with their colleagues from other countries under agreements concluded at different levels: agency – agency, institute – institute, laboratory – laboratory. In 2006, RAS cooperated with foreign partners under 105 interacademy agreements on scientific cooperation and 6 intergovernmental agreements on S&T and cooperation.

According to representatives of RAS, over the years only few foreign scientists have come for scientific working visits to Russia. The reason for this development is their view that equipment and other facilities are not up-to-date. But in recent years the equipment and infrastructure of several institutes have drastically improved. It would therefore be important for Western scientists to re-discover Russian R&D institutions to work with their Russian colleagues, and for bilateral and multilateral cooperation programmes (e.g. mobility programmes) to be put in place for furthering these necessary exchanges. However, grants of Western European organisations are often too low, given the high living costs and expensive housing in Russian cities, especially in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Russian Foundation for Basic Research

The Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) is the focal point of bilateral funding cooperation in basic research. It has bilateral agreements and funding programmes with partners in 9 EU Member States and 3 Associated Countries. It is de-facto implementing a large part of the practical side of intergovernmental agreements concluded by the Ministry of Education and Research.

RFBR provides support to cover expenses related to the implementation of research projects, organisation of workshops, publication costs, and travel expenses. In its activity the Foundation adheres to bottom-up principle and allows scientists great latitude in choosing research subjects and methods. The Foundation provides financial resources for mobility. It assists researchers but not organisations by awarding grants on competitive base. The EU area is a key area and priority of the RFBR activities. 40% of the Foundation’s resources dedicated for international cooperation are allocated for implementation of the joint projects with the EU counterparts. Two types of grants for research mobility are available: for scholars irrespective of age and for young researchers. There are grants for Russian researchers to attend EU scientific conferences. Annually the Foundation provides approximately 1000 grants to researchers from the Russian Federation to participate in EU events. Approximately every third application is a grant recipient between the amount of USD1000 - EUR1000 for travel and accommodation abroad.

Another area of RFBR activity is support of international scientific events in Russia and provision support for foreign experts to attend such events. In 2009 about 200 of such events were supported. The support is provided by RFBR through grant agreements. Such grant programmes are implemented on an annual basis within the bilateral agreements. Every year about 1500 Russian researchers go abroad to participate in scientific events with the support of the Foundation.

In March, 2011 the RFBR announced a call for proposals under “the mobility of young researchers” programme in such fields as: mathematics, physics and astronomy, chemistry and science on materials, biology and medicine, science on Earth, information technologies, engineering.

The RFBR together with Russian Academy of Science (RAS), RFH and the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises has taken part in the joint initiative with European countries, such as Germany, Greece, Spain, Norway, Poland, France and Switzerland under the auspices of the 7 EU Framework Programme ERA.Net RUS project on establishing new multilateral cooperation system in the field of natural and social studies and innovations. In March 2011 the first call on multilateral research projects has been declared. The purpose of the call was to form new mechanisms for long term cooperation of scientific communities in the Russian Federation and in European countries.

Russian Foundation for Humanities

On a much smaller scale, Russian Foundation for Humanities (RFH) implements bilateral cooperation in the Humanities and Social Sciences and has concluded agreements with partner organisations in 4 EU member states. In 2006, cooperation agreements were signed with two French organisations: Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (to support mobility) and CNRS (to support joint research projects).

The main RFH instruments to support international cooperation are:

  • research projects;
  • projects on organisation of scientific events (conferences, seminars, etc.);
  • projects of expeditions.

RFH supports mobility of Russian researchers within its target areas of responsibility. From 1994-2008, RFH funded 29061 scientific projects, among which 1949 projects on the organisation of scientific conferences, seminars, etc.; 1035 projects on mobility; 1922 projects on participation of Russian scholars in scientific actions abroad.


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