Posted 21 апреля 2021,, 12:28

Published 21 апреля 2021,, 12:28

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

No money, no equipment... Academicians of the Russian Academy of Sciences explained why scientists are emigrating en masse

No money, no equipment... Academicians of the Russian Academy of Sciences explained why scientists are emigrating en masse

21 апреля 2021, 12:28
The absence of the necessary conditions for conducting research at the world level not only makes Russian science uncompetitive, but also stimulates the mass departure of scientists abroad, where there is necessary for their work.

Two pieces of news characterizing the state of modern Russian science were reported by the media at once. First, since 2012, the number of scientists and highly qualified specialists leaving Russia has increased by 5 times (from 14 to 70 thousand people). This was announced by the Chief Scientific Secretary of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nikolay Dolgushkin during the General Meeting of the Academy. According to him, in the last three years alone, the number of scientists in the country has decreased by 30 thousand. "As a result, Russia cannot fulfill the indicators of the Nauka (Science - editor's note) national project, which set the task of increasing the number of specialists by 35 thousand people in three years. It turned out exactly the opposite", - said Dolgushkin.

Now Russia is the only developed country where the number of scientists has been declining for several decades in a row. In 1990, Russia ranked first in the world in terms of the number of scientists, but since then their number has decreased from 992 thousand to 348 thousand. Three years ago, the Russian Federation was in fourth place in the world in terms of the number of researchers. That is, by 65%, we have lost two-thirds in three decades, ”Dolgushkin said, adding that today the country is already in sixth place.

According to Academician Dolgushkin, there are three main risks for Russian science: lack of funding, backward infrastructure and the most important one - “human and intellectual potential”.

Secondly, since 2010, the number of graduate students in Russia has almost halved. This was announced by the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Sergeyev, at the same general meeting of the members of the Academy of Sciences. At the same time, the proportion of postgraduate students who manage to complete it with a defended dissertation has also declined. “In Russia, there is a decrease in the number of graduate students, if in 2010 their number was 157 thousand people, in 2019 - 84 thousand people. And the share of those who graduated from postgraduate studies with a defended dissertation in 2019 was 10%, and in 2020 even less - 8.9%”, - Sergeyev said.

Sergeyev said that in Russian science there are "negative tendencies in ensuring the quantitative and qualitative composition of researchers." The President of the Russian Academy of Sciences proposed to "seriously analyze the situation" and take measures to change it. He linked the problems with attracting young people to science with the low prestige of a scientist's career - this problem persists, despite the existence of a large number of grant programs. “The prestige of the profession of a scientist and scientific activity in general is not very high and there are many career paths that lead to less difficult, faster and more monetized success than an academic career”, - Sergeyev said.

There are problems not only with the number of researchers. There is a high level of equipment wear and a shortage of modern devices: the wear rate of fixed assets of research organizations is over 67%, and the average age of equipment use is over 10 years. “We all understand how important it is for science to obtain world-class results is the use of modern equipment. If this equipment is 10 years old, then in most cases the results that can be obtained on it, of course, are not advanced... The lack of necessary instruments for conducting research on a global level makes our researchers not only uncompetitive, but also stimulates drift of our scientists abroad, where there are the necessary instrumental bases for the implementation of their ideas”, - summed up Sergeyev.

Meanwhile, Novye Izvestia recently covered in detail the problem of the emigration of Russian scientists, which continues at an even faster pace than before.

In an interview with our publication, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Rector of Skoltech Alexander Kuleshov explained that this is also happening because the level of salaries of scientists in Russia and in the West is incomparable. Kuleshov noted that their university salaries are quite competitive with Western ones. Theoretically, Moscow State University and HSE could also appoint fairly high salaries for a small number of professors, but it is impossible to do this en masse:

“Scientists need more than the money they receive every month. It is much more important for them to obtain research funding. But in general, unfortunately, the outflow continues. And this is an outflow of the young and talented. The country is getting older, poorer and dumber, sadly. We are trying to counter this. On our local slice, it works. But, as I already said, there should be a hundred such Skoltechs in the country, at least fifty, then we will change the situation..."


In this regard, many commentators recall how, years ago, the director of the Federal Service of the National Guard of Russia Viktor Zolotov proudly told reporters that the number of personnel of the Russian Guard had almost doubled in comparison with the number of personnel of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, on the basis of which it was created..."

So there is actually nothing to be surprised at: according to the law of conservation of matter, if something diminishes in one place, it will certainly arrive in another.