The statement of the Trade Union of RAS workers, published on the website of the Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation, says:
“The All-Russian Trade Union of Workers of the Russian Academy of Sciences is alarmed by the situation with the most massive and significant competition of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) - the competition for the best projects of fundamental research (competition code “a”). The competition is traditionally announced no later than June, but this year it has not been announced as of mid-July, which causes understandable concerns.
They are connected with the reform of scientific foundations, discussed since the fall of last year, first of all - with the absolute uncertainty of what is supposed to be done. An extremely important issue for Russian science is resolved by officials in the course of backstage discussions, without a clear explanation of the goals and objectives of the reform to the scientific community. Despite the lack of approval of the reform plan by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the position clearly expressed in the statements and appeals of public organizations of scientists about the need to preserve the most important mass competition of the RFBR, its fate remains unknown. There was no more certainty after the communication between the Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation V.N. Falkov with members of RAS on July 14, 2020. Ignoring the opinion of the scientific community causes discontent among scientists, which only intensifies over time and can result in protest actions.
In the framework of the competition for the best projects of fundamental research, teams of tens of thousands of scientists are supported. Every year, 8-9 thousand articles appear in scientific journals indexed in the Web of Science database, which contain a link to the support of this RFBR competition. For comparison, over the years of the existence of megagrants, links to support for the work of this program have appeared in about 6 thousand articles in scientific journals indexed in the Web of Science database.
The cancellation of the most important RFBR competition will leave thousands of research teams without funds for research, which will cause great harm to Russian science and dramatically complicate the task of achieving the goals in the field of science established by Presidential Decree No. 204 of May 7, 2018.
The Presidium of the Central Council of the Trade Union discussed the situation and unanimously confirmed the position of the Trade Union - the destruction of the most important RFBR competition should not be allowed! The trade union appealed to the President of the Russian Federation with an appeal to instruct to urgently announce the competition and significantly increase the amount of its funding in the coming years, which will allow to return to the time-tested practice of supporting every third project submitted for the competition, while simultaneously significantly increasing the amount of funding for grants..."