Following up the discussions, Director General of the Russian Science Foundation Alexander Khlunov and Chairman of the RFBR Council Vladislav Panchenko signed a joint statement.
The document states, in particular, the full fulfillment of all obligations already assumed by the RFBR for funding active projects and for their interim review, as well as the respective replacement of new RFBR calls for proposals with the corresponding calls for proposals of the Russian Science Foundation.
One of the main principles of merging RSF and RFBR will be the use of the "best practices" of the work of both funders. This is, first of all, the wide spectrum and availability of funding programs, obligations of grantees to achieve scientific results, focus on the quality of scientific results, credible and competent review processes and transparency of funding activities.
It is important that the RFBR will fully fulfill the obligations already assumed to provide funding for existing projects, including their monitoring and remote review, and ensure the continuity of their grant support. The funding amounts will also remain, including for some of the main activities of the RFBR, in particular for the competition for basic research projects (competition "a").
In the process of merging two funders the continuity of the main activities of the RFBR for funding basic research based on the principles of granting researchers the right to do research in their own creative way, choosing the necessary directions and methods of research, will also remain.
Research funding will continue in all fields of knowledge, including social sciences and humanities. At the same time, in order to improve the conditions for conducting research and increase their effectiveness, certain funding programs will be transformed.
Basic research projects of the RFBR (competition "a") will continue to be supported by expanding the fundng activities of the RSF in the priority area "Conducting basic and exploratory research by individual research groups" through increasing the number of available grants, introducing a new “project seed” type of grants by the Russian Science Foundation, providing for the development of new ideas, formation of research plans, definition of research methods and approaches. At the same time, the increased size of grants and the duration of projects will enable grantees to attend the conferences, to conduct expeditionary and field research, to gain access to unique research infrastructure, to publish scientific papers, to pay for the publication of research results within the framework of the ongoing project and without seeking additional funding.
Funding for the projects aimed at developing international research cooperation will continue by expanding funding activity of the RSF in the priority area "Conducting basic and exploratory research by international research teams." At the same time, the choice of foreign partners, areas of international cooperation and the announcement of specific calls for proposals will be carried out in compliance with the national interests in terms of obtaining new competencies and results aimed at developing science, ensuring economic growth and social development of the country.
Additionally, when implementing international cooperation parity of contribution, credibility of review process and quality control of projects’ implementation will be considered.
Two funders also intend to continue funding for projects aimed at developing regional research cooperation, attracting regional funds to support projects selected based on the results of the RSF review. The funding scheme will be implemented taking into account the decisions taken following the meeting of the Presidium of the State Council and the Council for Science and Education, held on February 6, 2020, regarding the possibility of allocating budgetary allocations from the budgets of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation to educational and research organizations that implement the competitive selection of projects and events without additional selection procedures. Funding for such projects will be aimed at both attracting and developing new research competencies in the regions, and at obtaining new knowledge for their use in the regional economy. In particular, this concerns the academic mobility of scientists, the development of world-class research and educational centers as well as the implementation of projects with the participation of industry in the regions.