Recently The Russian Science Foundation held a press conference at TASS to present a summary of its 2017 results. The Foundation’s Director General, Alexander Khlunov, outlined the main results of research projects and programmes funded by the Foundation and talked about the new trends in research, the outcomes of the first year of implementing the Presidential Research Funding Programme, and the plans for the future.
In 2017 the Russian Science Foundation funded 2942 projects worth of 18.5 billion roubles – approximately 5.4% of the total funding for civil science allocated from the federal budget.
The RSF provided support to a total of 28,900 scientists from 541 organizations. The scientists presented the results of their research in 23,700 publications in 2017, including 10,300 publications indexed in the Web of Science – 16.4% of the total number of publications by the Russian scientists in Web of Science in 2017. These articles were published in a number of highly cited peer-reviewed journals, including Chemical Reviews (impact factor: 47.928), Nature Biotechnology (41.667), Nature (40.137), Nature Photonics (37.852), Science (37.205), Nature Reviews Neuroscience (28.88), Nature Chemistry (25.870), The BMJ (20.785), Accounts of Chemical Research (20.268) and Advanced Materials (19.791).
The Russian Science Foundation’s pool of external reviewers in 2017 increased to 6000 people, 20% of whom were from outside Russia. The planned rotation of the expert council members was initiated. The new candidates for the positions in the expert councils were ranked by the academic community in an online vote, with over 3000 Russian scientists taking part in the vote. In 2017, the Foundation’s Supervisory Board approved 28 new members of the expert council (44% of the total members).
In total, 10,500 project applications from 80 regions and 928 organizations were submitted in 2017, with 10,200 being approved for funding. Over 1600 projects from 55 regions and 407 organizations received awards of up to 30 million roubles each.
The regional distribution of organizations carrying out projects funded by the Russian Science Foundation in 2017 is as follows: Moscow (189); St. Petersburg (60); Novosibirsk Region (35); Moscow Region (30); Sverdlovsk Region (20); Tomsk Region (13); the Republic of Tatarstan (11); Primorsky Territory (10); Irkutsk Region (10); and the Republic of Bashkortostan (9).
The following institutions received the highest number of Russian Science Foundation grants in 2017: Lomonosov Moscow State University (230 projects); St. Petersburg State University (108 projects); the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Science (61 projects); Kazan (Volga) Federal University (41 projects); St. Petersburg ITMO University (40 projects); Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod (37 projects); the Ioffe Institute of the RAS (36 projects); the Ural Federal University (35 projects); and the National Research University Tomsk Polytechnic University (35 projects).
The Russian Science Foundation strengthened its cooperation with foreign funders from Germany (41% of its international collaborative projects funded), India (26%), Taiwan (17%), Austria (8%) and Japan (8%).
In 2017, the Russian Science Foundation announced the launch of three new calls under the Presidential Research Funding Programme carried out by leading scientists, including young researchers. These calls are intended to support: independent research conducted by postdocs; young research teams coordinated by young leaders; and world-class laboratories. The funding was granted to 504 pilot projects carried out by the individual postdocs (grants of 1.5 to 2 million roubles annually), 239 young research teams (grants of 3 to 5 million roubles) and 31 laboratories (30 million roubles from the RSF and 2 million roubles in additional co-funding from the business or founder in 2017).
The distribution of the projects funded under the Presidential Research Funding Programme by the priority areas specified in the Strategy of Scientific and Technological Development of the Russian Federation was as follows: advanced digital technologies (29.6%); personalized medicine (26.1%); environmentally clean and resource-saving power economy (16.2%); highly efficient agriculture and aquaculture (7.5%); human–nature and human–technology interaction (7.3%); counteracting technology-related risks and terrorism (6.8%); and smart transportation and telecommunication systems (6.5%).