Dear colleagues, I am pleased to present to you the report on the Russian Science Foundation’s performance results for 2019. Last year was productive and extremely busy. We launched 14 grant competitions and funded over 4700 projects involving more than 33,000 scientists. The results of their efforts can be found in leading international and Russian journals, heard at prestigious academic conferences, appeared in the newspapers headlines and on television.
What sets the Russian Science Foundation (RSF) apart is our openness and our willingness to improve competitive funding procedures – and we are ready to listen to what the academic community wants in order to make this happen. One of the Foundation’s priorities in 2019 was to create the optimum conditions for applicants, grant recipients and reviewers to carry out their academic work. We now allow the use of e-signatures and have abandoned the practice of submitting hard copies of applications and grant reports. We also succeeded in making the procedure for selecting expert council members even more democratic.
The quality of the Russian Science Foundation’s review processes is recognized in Russia and around the world. One example of this was the decision of the Government of the Russian Federation to engage RSF in assessing applications for the establishment of world-class genome research centres. The Russian Science Foundation was the only research funder in Russia that appeared in the global ranking of international reviewers based on their grant review contributions.
We take the matter of educating future generations and unlocking the full research potential of women in science. For the first time in Russia, we have created special genderequality conditions for female researchers whose work is funded with our grants. RSF continues to promote and advance scientific knowledge. In addition to our activities to promote science to the general public, last year we spearheaded special events for scientists and journalists that aim to develop academic ties within Russia.
To sum up, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to those who have expressed an interest in the Foundation’s programs, to our trustees, 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.
The RSF actively encourages international research cooperation. The Foundation participates in a number of bilateral funding schemes that provide assistance to the outstanding Russian researchers to participate in collaborative research projects with their top international peers based on the principles of excellence, parity funding, credible independent peerreview and mutual trust.
In 2019, the RSF together with its international partners provided funding for 83 international collaborative projects.
The total amount of funding for these projects exceeded US$ 8 million. The results of this work are represented in over 280 articles in peer-reviewed journals indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus, with 126 of them appearing in the most reputable Q1 journals.
In 2019, RSF launched the first joint calls for proposals in collaboration with its new strategic partners: the French National Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche, ANR) and the Research Foundation – Flanders (Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen, FWO).
On behalf of the Russian Federation, RSF actively participates in discussing and shaping the relevant global agenda for research funding agencies. In 2019, RSF representatives spoke as invited guests at the Symposium for Heads of Research Agencies and Foundations held as part of the OECD Global Science Forum (GSF) in Paris, at the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity in Hong Kong, at the Global Science and Technology Leaders Forum in Taipei, and at the World Science Forum in Budapest.
The Foundation’s grant recipients are actively involved in international scientific collaborative work. In 2019, 33% of the publications came out of the RSF-funded projects are prepared jointly with foreign researchers, which is above Russia’s average collaboration level of 30%. Today, RSF grant recipients are mostly involved in productive cooperation with researchers from Germany, United States, France, United Kingdom and China. Collaborations with scientists from India and China have grown the most over the past four years.