The Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), which in accordance with the decision of the government of the Russian Federation joins the Russian Science Foundation, canceled the most massive competition for funding scientific research of Russian scientists. The corresponding announcement was published on Monday on the fund’s website.
“In accordance with the decision of the government of the Russian Federation of February 12, 2021, the competition for projects of fundamental scientific research (” a “) has been canceled. On the basis of this decision, further acceptance of applications for the competition was terminated. The applications received will remain without consideration, ”the message says.
The RFBR announced a competition on September 30, 2020, declaring as a goal the support of fundamental research projects that contribute to the acquisition of new knowledge, a priority for the country. Applications were planned to be accepted from November 25, 2020 to March 31, 2021. The maximum amount of the grant was to be 1.5 million rubles, the minimum – one million rubles.
At the same time, competition “a”, which is the most massive and significant among the other grants of the foundation, is traditionally announced no later than June. At the end of July 2020, the trade union of workers of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) issued a statement that the cancellation of this competition would have a negative impact on the development of science in the country. The union also appealed to President Vladimir Putin with an appeal to instruct him to announce the competition and increase its funding.
The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation then reported that the terms and conditions of the competition would be changed “taking into account the financial and epidemiological situations, new scientific and state priorities and the results of the analysis of previously completed projects.”
The cancellation of the RFBR competition will leave projects of several thousand scientists without funding, Viktor Kalinushkin, chairman of the trade union of workers of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), told TASS on Monday.
“The decision means a delay in the receipt of funds for at least another six months, even if a new competition is announced within the framework of the Russian Science Foundation (RSF). With the accession of the RFBR to the Russian Science Foundation, the problems of fulfilling the presidential decree are aggravated [о доведении зарплат ученых до 200% от средней по региону], because in fact there is no money from these funds now, “Kalinushkin explained to TASS.
He added that annually several thousand scientists received support within the framework of the competition, and the total funding for two-year research from the RFBR was about 3 billion rubles. “
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on November 23, 2020 announced a large-scale optimization of development institutions. Some of them should go under the control of the state corporation “VEB.RF”, the other – to merge with similar in functionality, almost every fifth institution will be liquidated.