I am pleased to present to you the report on the Russian Science Foundation’s performance results for 2020. Last year, we experienced coronavirus pandemic, which brought many challenges. Regrettably, we have lost the lives of several outstanding scientists who stood at the origins of the Foundation and contributed to our activities. Despite all the difficulties, the work of the Foundation has not been suspended for a single day. Thanks to our advanced information system and digital infrastructure we had built earlier, we were able to adapt quickly to the new conditions. In 2020, we launched 11 calls for proposals, providing funding to 5 000 research teams. Thanks to RSF funding, more than 37 000 outstanding researchers in Russia are generating new knowledge in every field of basic research. Realizing how difficult it was in the context of ubiquitous lockdowns and restrictions to carry out research, the Russian Science Foundation introduced a number of measures to support our grantees, treating with understanding the problems they faced during the implementation of projects. The reporting campaign was carried out on time, and the funding was provided smoothly without any cuts or delays.
As a result, our grant holders were able to publish more than 12 000 publications in leading international journals, based on a strict international peer-review procedure, many of those excellent works were related to personalized medicine and improving the quality of life. Our grantees have appeared repeatedly in media, providing an expert assessment for the corona-situation, helping prevent panic and the spread of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemics allowed us to transform some of the crucial processes. Firstly, we digitalized the process of submission of proposals and reports through the use of electronic signature. Secondly, together with our expert councils, we developed and implemented a computer-assisted toolkit for finding reviewers. It provides a quicker, more efficient and more fair review process with less human-related involvement and without any quality losses. We will continue to work with the digital profiles of our reviewers to enhance the excellence of the review process even further.
Despite the international restrictions associated with the pandemic, we have noted an increase in the level of internationalization of the RSF-funded projects. In 2020, through the bilateral partnership programs RSF provided funding for 122 international collaborative projects in the total amount of US$ 10,3 million. The Russian Science Foundation will face 2021 financial year with a budget of 22,9 billion Russian rubles, which means a year-to-year increase of about 3%. The current pandemic did not affect the number of applications and our grant awards, our review or funding cycle. We are proud of that, and we are committed to keep the position of the funder of choice for the talents in science.In closing, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to those who have expressed an interest in the Russia Science Foundation’s programs, to our reviewers and, naturally, to our grant recipients. The RSF team will make every effort to ensure that your future work with us is even more comfortable and fruitful.