The President of DFG Dr. Katja Becker, the President of DAAD Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee, Deputy Head of the German Embassy Beate Grzeski, Director General of the RSF Dr. Alexander Khlunov Chairman of the Board of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research Academician Vladislav Panchenko addressed welcoming remarks to the participants.
In his speech, Alexander Khlunov shared the results of 5-year cooperation with DFG, noting that 70% of more than 800 researchers engaged from the Russian side in the implementation of collaborative projects are young scientists.
“Today we will talk about COVID implications on research funding. First, we became aware that science is more important than ever. Secondly, we quickly transformed most of our core processes to on-line without any compromises on quality. We offered flexible solutions for researchers who experienced any problems associated with COVID. In this totally new context of uncertainties and lockdowns, most importantly, we have managed to run our funding operations as smoothly as usual, without any cuts or delays”, highlighted Dr. Khlunov. “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 remain the position of the funder of choice for the talents in science”.
In his key note speech "Impact of COVID-19 on research in Russia and the RSF," Chairman of the Expert Council Alexander Makarov introduced the measures taken by the Russian Science Foundation to minimize the risks of the research community associated with the new coronavirus infection, concerning the transfer of some research works to the next year, more flexible conditions for reimbursement of certain project costs, lifting of restrictions for project investigators in difficult conditions and the canceled visits of leading scientists.
“COVID-19 has not yet had a significant impact on the projects that the Expert Council of the Russian Science Foundation is reviewing. In 2020, we even see an increase in applications - about 10% - for the main funding programs of the RSF. At the same time, there is limited impact on thematic areas in comparison with 2019 - neither by applications, nor by projects portfolio funded. In 2020, we received only 1.8% of applications with the keywords “SARS-CoV-2; COVID; coronavirus; pandemic". This is a little more than last year", noted Academician Makarov.
Because he is director of Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, he also shared his practical experience of work of that research institution during pandemic. Despite the lockdowns, the researchers were able to performed research activities funded by several RSF grants and were engaged in active international collaborations, including coronavirus-related projects.