The government will allocate grants to universities depending on the success of their work

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The White House has changed the rules for granting grants from the federal budget to support “world-class research and education centers (RECs)” – 15 sites that bring together leading universities and businesses as part of the Science and Universities national project to develop research commercialization models. The amount of grants that the government allocates to RECs will now depend on the success of their work. The list of parameters for its assessment has also been expanded, including through the amount of extrabudgetary funds they attract, which will make it possible to identify the level of real achievements of the centers and provide more funds to the most effective of them.

Educational competition

White House links university funding to university performance

The White House has changed the rules for granting grants from the federal budget to support “world-class research and education centers (RECs)” – 15 sites that bring together leading universities and businesses as part of the Science and Universities national project to develop research commercialization models. The amount of grants that the government allocates to RECs will now depend on the success of their work. The list of parameters for its assessment has also been expanded, including through the amount of extrabudgetary funds they attract, which will make it possible to identify the level of real achievements of the centers and provide more funds to the most effective of them.

Mikhail Mishustin signed Government Decree No. 1001 dated July 4, 2023 – these are the rules developed by the Ministry of Education and Science for providing federal grants to support world-class RECs. Changes are needed to evaluate the activities of the centers using a point system and rotate grant recipients based on the results of dividing them into groups of leaders, stable and lagging behind. The first will receive the maximum amount of the grant, the second – the basic part of the grant, and the third – the minimum part of the grant and a “yellow card”, while the assessment of the REC according to the new rules will begin this year.

“World-class REC” – 15 platforms that unite universities and scientific organizations with business with the support of one or more regions within the framework of the national project “Science and Universities” to develop models for the commercialization of science. As Kommersant was told in the Ministry of Education and Science, the activities of the REC in 2022 contributed to the receipt of more than 3 thousand patents for inventions in priority areas of scientific and technological revolution, the development and transfer for implementation of more than 2 thousand competitive technologies and types of high-tech products, as well as the creation of 13.7 thousand . high-tech jobs. In 2022, more than 1.6 billion rubles were allocated for grants (from 55 million to 119 million rubles).

“The old evaluation system was more focused on the achievement by RECs of the quantitative parameters of their program of activities. The new one introduced a component of qualitative assessment, designed to identify the level of real achievements of the REC and the degree of integration of their scientific and educational organizations with regional enterprises, ”the department explained to Kommersant. Among the qualitative criteria (there are 12 of them), there are, for example, the total number of developed results of intellectual activity for the year, the number of technological projects ready for transfer, the amount of funding for the REC from the regional budget. Also, the results of the work of the REC will now include “the amount of extrabudgetary funds attracted for the implementation of the center’s program of activities.” In February last year, the head of the Ministry of Education and Science, Valery Falkov, stated that one of the main criteria for the success of the REC would be the amount of funds invested by businesses in their projects. “And the more business invests, the more we, for our part, will help such centers,” he said. Recall that the budgets are still the main source of funding for science in the Russian Federation (on average, about 60-70% of the costs of research and development), which does not contribute to the commercialization of research.

The new methodology, for the first time, offers a mechanism for redistributing funding between RECs based on the results of assessing their activities, noted in the office of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko. After two years of underperformance, the center’s funding could be cut in favor of other program participants, allowing healthy scientific competition for the REC and supporting the best, most efficient centers.

Now the centers are implementing more than 170 technology projects, 145 universities, 140 scientific organizations and more than 300 technology companies are involved in the work. The Ministry of Education and Science clarified to Kommersant that the decision on the amount of budgetary funding for each individual center for 2023 (total 1.8 billion rubles) will be made at a meeting of the Council of the REC under the government, it is planned to be held in July.

Venera Petrova

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