On April 23, Russian Science Foundation held a press conference at TASS to present a summary of its 2018 results. The Foundation’s Director General, Alexander Khlunov, outlined the main results of RSF-funded research projects and programmes and talked about the visible trends in research since RSF was established 5 years ago, and the plans for the future.
The press conference participants included the Director General of the Russian Science Foundation, Alexander Khlunov and two of the RSF grantees - Dmitry Ivanov, director of the laboratory of functional organic and hybrid materials, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the laboratory of engineering materials science, Lomonosov Moscow State University; and Anastasia Efimenko, director of the tissue repair and tissue regeneration laboratory, Lomonosov Moscow State University.
“The past year was special for us as we celebrated our fifth anniversary. And we have something to be proud of. 50 000 outstanding scientists working in Russia are funded by our grants, more than 5 500 research projects awards were released. The research results are reflected in 105 000 publications, appearing on the covers of high-quality academic journals, not to mention Russian science-related hype in media,” Alexander Khlunov said.
With an annual budget of about 21.4 billion Russian rubles (fiscal year 2018), RSF funded 4 000 programs and projects involving 34 300 scientists (23 300 of them are young scientists under the age of 39), representing 578 research organizations. The results of their work were peer-reviewed and are reflected in 12 000 scientific publications in Web of Science Core Collection.
The majority of project proposals submitted to and funded by the RSF are coming from the Central Federal District (43.3%). However, in recent years there has been an increase in applications from the Siberian Federal District (18%), followed by the North-West (15.1%) and Volga Federal Districts ( 13.6%). The projects hosting organizations are located mostly in Moscow (34.1%) and St. Petersburg (11.2%), as well as in the Novosibirsk Region (6.6%), Moscow Region (4.3%), Sverdlovsk Oblast (3.8%), Tatarstan (2.4%), Primorsky Krai (2.2%), Tomsk region (1.9%), Irkutsk region (1.7%) and Bashkortostan (1.7%).
“We follow the mission of the Russian Science Foundation to engage outstanding researchers and to enhance excellence and leadership in research across the whole country. We support the best,” the Director General of the Foundation highlighted.
The following institutions received the highest number of Russian Science Foundation grants in 2018: Lomonosov Moscow State University (7,5%); St. Petersburg State University (4,3%); Ural Federal University (1,8%); Institute of Applied Physics, RAS (1,6%); St. Petersburg ITMO University (1,6%); Kazan (Volga) Federal University (1,4%); Moscow University of Physics and Technology (1.4%), Tomsk Polytechnic University (1.4%), Tomsk State University (1.3%) and Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry RAS (1.2%).
In 2018, the RSF launched the second wave of calls under the Presidential Research Funding Program for early-career researchers. The awards were released to 816 scientists from 54 regions, representing 281 host organizations.
Throughout 2018, the Foundation continued to improve its review procedures: a regular rotation of members of its expert councils was carried out and a separate expert council for Presidential Research Funding Program was established. RSF also fully operationalized AI-powered, efficient procedure for reviewers assignments. This is a pioneering initiative in Russia.
For its 5th anniversary, the Russian Science Foundation has released a collection of stories about the work and life of Russian scientists. The book titled "I am a scientist! Ten inspiring stories about life and science” has a collection of interviews about how the Foundation changed life and career trajectory of researchers who received RSF grant. The book features not only the scientific component of the daily work of scientists, but also helps to find answers to bold life questions, it describes successful and unsuccessful episodes in researcher’s life and also demonstrates how grantees can succeed further, holding RSF grant.
“This is a collection of essays about concrete, real people. Thus, we want to dispel the myth that “everything is bad” in Russia, stressing out that you can do good science in our country and live in your brilliant research work”, Alexander Khlunov noted.
The 2018 Annual Report is available here http://rscf.ru/fondfiles/other/rsf_in2018.pdf (in Russian only)