What is the effectiveness of research? This is a question discussed at the highest levels of government recently.
During the latest meeting of the Council for Science and Education President of Russia Vladimir Putin said that it’s no use supporting ineffective science institutions because they consume funds that could better be allocated to someone more successful, “I would like to stress that the resources allocated to carry out research should go to strong research teams that are capable of creating breakthrough technology in areas especially important for the nation, and capable of competing with leading world centers. This is the logic we should proceed from in prioritizing funding for developing the country’s research. I would like the Government to develop efficient mechanisms, including those involving project financing”.
He ordered that the new strategy of scientific and technical development of Russia be worked out by autumn 2016. It should consider all the global trends and be flexible in reacting to the society’s requirements.
Politicians and academics supported the initiative. Rector Ilshat Gafurov said, “Science is a major factor in national development. We cannot provide the economic growth in Russia without relying on scientific progress. We had such a system in Soviet Union, and we should restore it. Development and support of science is a factor of national security”.
He added, “We are talking about import substitution these days, but we cannot only substitute the final product, we have to substitute the whole chain – from an idea to necessary technologies. Without this we cannot concentrate resources on the necessary tasks that are essential for technological breakthroughs and preserving the country’s security and sovereignty. I think that the strategy of scientific and technological development is pertinent now”.
But what is the effectiveness of science?
Head of the Division of Research Management of Kazan University Natalya Zhuravlyova shares, «Effectiveness of science is a multi-layered phenomenon. In general, we can include publication activity and revenue into this. For fundamental research publications are more important, whereas for applied research we can say the same about economic yield and implementation in industry. These are the basic – although not all – criteria of effectiveness. Another indicator is the number of dissertations».
According to the recent Bloomberg rankings Russia is 14th in the list of most innovative economies. This is higher than Austria, Norway, Belgium, Canada, China, and some other industrial nations.