RIC
Regional Information Centre
for Scientific and Technological Cooperation with EU
 

D. 1.3., D. 1.4, D. 1.6



 


Project no. PL 043911

Project acronym: RegionERA

Project title: REGIONAL NETWORK FOR SUPPORT OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL CO-OPERATION BETWEEN EUROPEAN UNION AND RUSSIAN REGIONS

Instrument: FP6 Specific Support Action

Thematic Priority: INCO

 

 

Deliverable 1.3.: Analytical materials

Due date of deliverable: 31.05.2007, Actual submission date: 31.05.2007


Deliverable 1.4.: Analytical materials: recommendations on more extend participation of regional community in FP7

Due date of deliverable: 30.08.2007, Actual submission date: 30.08.2007


Deliverable 1.6.: Survey report, definition of obstacles to participation of the regional universities in RTD programmes. Possible ways of its negotiation. Recommendations on the optimising of informational and consultancy provision of regional research community

Due date of deliverable: 30.11.2007, Actual submission date: 30.11.2007


With a view to study the experience of FP6 projects in the field of informational provision of participation in S/T programmes, define ways to remove obstacles to enhancing its participation in joint projects and programmes and identify needs of regional universities and research institutions there was carried out a survey on the issues of promoting S&T cooperation between Russian regions and the EU.

The survey objectives:

  1. To map a list of regional universities and research institutions carrying out research in the EU programmes themes and identify research teams and individual scientists who have already had experience of participation (both successful and not) in the European research programmes. The survey was made in order to analyse the experience of participation and to identify the reasons for nonparticipation. and was based on the questionnaire, where the main focus was on the following issues:
    • information resources of European research and education programmes;
    • reasons for unsuccessful participation (nonparticipation) in European programmes;
    • positive experience of participation in European framework programmes;
    • needs and kinds of support, that are necessary for regional universities and RTD organisations;
  2. Through the data analyzing to identify problems that Russian regional universities and research institutions face while establishing S&T cooperation with the EU and also potential ways to solve them.
  3. To develop recommendations on raising efficiency of S&T cooperation between Russian and European research communities.

The survey was carried out since December 2006 for April 2007. The expert group consists of heads of research and international departments, researchers and teachers from 50 CBS HEIs. Out of them: 45,7% - professors, DSc, 34,2% - PhD. The majority of experts (65,8 %) is older than 45. There were questioned 125 people.


Survey report, definition of obstacles to participation of the regional universities in RTD programmes. Possible ways of its negotiation. Recommendations on the optimising of informational and consultancy provision of regional research community


Funding sources for research in universities

In opinion of 31,4% of the interviewees the major funding source for research in universities is the government budget. For 40% the funding from the budget is delivered partially only.

More than a third (37,1%) of the experts thinks that research in the university funds nobody. The staff carry out research without any extra payment. For 11,4% of university scientists the main funding resource is implementation of their own achievements on the market.

Every third (37,1%) stated, that their universities partially receive funding for research from the local authorities. Another third (34,2%) receives such funding very rare.

Only 17,1% marked that their university is partially funded by international foundations grants. Every third (37,1%) indicated very rare funding from this foundations.

Conclusion. The experts note a lack of funding of research in universities from both government and private sides. Funding from international resources is insignificant. It should be mentioned that the majority of the interviewees represents natural and engineering sciences. Sequently, the whole range of funding opportunities is not properly exploited in such an important sphere.

Awareness of the EU research activities

In general only 11,4% consider themselves well aware of the EU research and innovation policy, about the half of the researchers (48,5%) is poorly aware, and 40% think they are not well aware of the relevant information.

Only every fifth (20%) knows about opportunities and rules of participation in the FPs and about 50% of the researchers are poorly aware. More than a half (57,1%) are also poorly aware of creating common EU-Russia space in research and education («roadmap»).

Conclusion. The significant part of the regional researchers is poorly aware of the EU activities in RTD, creation of common EU-Russia space in research and education and the EU research programmes, including FPs. It should be mentioned, that those scientists who have already received EU grants consider themselves poorly aware.

Information resources of European research programmes

The major information resource on European calls for proposals is newsletters and web-sites for 54,2% of the questioned experts. Almost every third (31,4%) uses information from mass media as well as by conferences, symposia and workshops (37,1%).

Every fifth (25,7%) named the CBS RIP Newsletter the main resource of information on the European and Russian calls for proposals.

Less than 10% of the interviewees define their main information resource as delegations of international and European foundations and programmes to Russia (8,5%); CORDIS (8,5%); Russian National Contact Points (NCPs) (5,7%); Intellectual Information Resource newsletters (8,5%).

Conclusion. Information of the Federal Agency for Science and Innovations, the Ministry of Education and Science, scientific conferences, symposia and workshops still remains an essential source for university scientists.

The role of other information sources , including Russian National Points (NCPs), is less noticeable. The reason for this might be insufficient activities of the Centres in collaboration with regional universities.

The survey shows, that the CBS RIP Newsletter is an important information resource for regional universities and research institutions.

However the above mentioned level of awareness of opportunities and ways of Russian participation in FP7 and other European programmes, number of successfully funded projects of regional universities (see below) indicates that there are problems in access to information on European and international programmes.

Participation in projects funding by EU programmes

The overwhelming majority (91,4%) has never participated in EU-funded projects. 5,7% of the interviewees have participated in such projects more than once while 2,8% of them have been involved only once.

Support of research by foreign foundations

Every fifth (22,8%) has ever been supported by international foundations. It should be mentioned, that the overwhelming majority is researchers of advanced ages.

Conclusion. Regional universities rarely receive the EU grants. The reason for this might be insufficient activities of regional universities in involvement of such grants in research funding. Involvement of young scientists is very low. Such low participation of universities is justified by different reasons mentioned below.

Factors, influencing participation intensity of Russian researchers in EU scientific and education programmes

Among the main reasons for low participation of Russian researchers in scientific EU programmes the overwhelming majority (74,2%) chose «difficulties in search for partners from EU-member states».

Almost the half of experts (45,7%) noticed that the main obstacles in this field are «poor European partners’ awareness of Russian regional scientific potential» and «Russian research teams have no opportunities to build project consortia» (40,0%).

Every third (37,1%) believes that «the proposal writing procedure is too complicated», whereas the other part of the experts (40%) thinks it becomes an obstacle sometimes only.

A considerable reason was called a «lack of information» about EU programmes and «poor level of European languages comprehension» by a third of experts (34,2%), relatively 34,2% and 40% believes these reasons become an obstacle sometimes only.

28,5% of the experts consider “lack of transnational access to EU research infrastructure” the main reason for low activeness of Russian researchers in this field.

In opinion of 40% of experts an obstacle to participation in the EU calls is also «lack of experience of proposal writing».

Every forth (25,7 %) calls «psychological obstacles (lack of self-confidence, chance to get funding seems unreal)» and «insufficient technical facilities» as hurdles occurring from time to time.

The less significant barriers are related to legal issues: 25,7% think, they occur occasionally and 40% believe they are not obstacles at all.

Conclusion. The main reasons for insufficient participation of Russian regional researchers in the European initiatives are poor awareness of the EU programmes, «difficulties in search for partners from EU-member states», «poor European partners’ awareness of Russian regional scientific potential» and «Russian research teams have no opportunities to build project consortia» and also lack of transnational access to EU research infrastructure.

Psychological barriers (lack of self-confidence, chance to get funding seems unreal)» and «insufficient technical facilities» prevent from participation to smaller extent.

Kinds of promoting participation of Russian researchers in EU programmes

The most handful way to promote participation in the EU programmes is indicated as «training workshop on proposal writing» by more than a half of the interviewees(57,1%).

The experts put «publication of Russian-language guidelines on participation Russian research teams in FP7 projects» on the second place (45,7%). The third place went «presentations of new calls for proposals of European foundations and programmes in the regions» (40%) and « on-line advising through Internet».

The experts regard information workshops on the main priorities of European programmes (31,4%); expertise exchange, including the closed calls-based (e.g. presentations of the best projects) (28,5%), publication of specific materials (newsletter, reference books, journals) on the issues of S&T cooperation between Russia and EU as essential kinds of promotion.

Conclusion. To increase involvement of regional scientists into the EU projects the following aspects should be developed: awareness of European programmes requirements, proposal writing skill, opportunities to get advice while proposal writing.

Assistance that universities expect to get from national and regional contact information points

for S&T cooperation with EU

From point of view of the majority of the interviewees (85,7%) regional universities need raising awareness of the forthcoming calls. Moreover there is a need for assistance in search for European partner for joint research projects (74,2%).

About a half of the questioned people (48,5%) chose assistance in access to EU research infrastructure, assistance in proposal writing (45,7%) and advising on the issues of participation in European programmes (48,5%).

The legal aid in international cooperation under the programme, getting visa or other papers is less necessary.

Advantages of participation of regional universities in EU programmes

According to the greatest part of the experts (71,4%) participation in the EU RTD programmes will firstly helps to contact with European partners. Secondly, it will give an opportunity to acquire modern equipment for research (68,5%) and thirdly, will promote raising the level of researchers’ skill (57,1%) and provide opportunities to present the research achievements on the European market (54,2%). Moreover, involvement into the EU programmes will extensively promote getting of additional funding by Russian scientists (51,4%).

Considerable part of experts believes, that participation of regional universities in the EU programmes will provide access to EU scientific achievements (40,0%), improvement in human resources training in the field of research (31,4%), development of research infrastructure (34,2%).

Conclusion. Representatives of regional scientific community hope that participation in the EU RTD programmes will first of all provide: facilitating of contact-building with European partners, new equipment for research, improvement in human resources training, opportunities to present the research achievements on the European market and support for scientists funding their research activities. Taking into account the abovementioned, the majority expresses willingness to participate in FP7 and other European initiatives.

Importantly, according to the results of the second survey in December 2007, 68% of the interviewees said that they definitely intended to take part in upcoming FP7 calls, 32% express willingness to participate in FP7 calls, however they are not sure of certain ways of participation and calls. A question «Do you need any support from the CBS RIP?» was answered positively by 96%, whereas the most needed kinds of support are information and advising support and assistance in partner search. 98% of the experts confirms that publication of «The guidelines on participation in the Seventh Framework Programme» in Russian is essential.

Thus, participants of the survey mentioned that despite high and permanently developing scientific potential of the Central Russia involvement of Russian regional universities and research institutions in S&T cooperation with the EU is insufficient. The main obstacles are: poor awareness of opportunities and rules of participation in European RTD programmes as well as, lack of skills in proposal writing and problems with partner search.

Analytical materials: recommendations on more extend participation of the regional scientific community in FP7

In the light of European experience in arranging information and advising system the most efficient is multilevel model of organizing international S&T cooperation consisting of federal, regional and local levels.

The federal level in Russia is represented by National Contact Points. NCP functions in Russia are rather different from European NCPs tasks, however it is considered essential to extend NCP network in Russia. Thus, NCP network in Germany contains 19 NCPs on all the FP7 Themes, while under the largest priorities such as “Environment including climate change” or “Nanosciences, nanotechnologies new materials and production technologies” there are several NCPs on more specific aspects of the Theme, united in a network and working under common coordination. At present there are 11 NCPs in Russia that considered insufficient taking into account its vast territory and high scientific potential.

There is a need in establishing common coordination centre for NCPs on the basis of the Ministry of Education and Science and providing it with the following functions:

  • Making national policy in the field of international S&T cooperation and coordinating it with national policies of European countries;
  • Coordination of administrative, legal and financial aspects of participation of Russian institutions in FP7;
  • Coordination of the NCPs activities.

In Germany these functions are implemented by the EU Office of the Federal Ministry of Education and Science. The EU Office is a part of the Ministry and funded by it though is located in one of the largest German research centre, German Centre for Aeronautics and Space (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR))

The regional level is supposed to set up by Regional Information Points acting in each federal district as well as information centres in each region (at a university or research institution). The specific feature of the RIPs is the fact that they deal with all the Themes (that’s why they should collaborate with the NCPs) and are targeted on regional research communities. It is also supposed reasonable to apply experience of German Innovation Relay Centres and Euro Info Centres to information centres on regional level.

The local level can consist of a consulting manager network at universities. Consulting managers play a role of intermediaries between individual researchers, NCPs and RIPs. They are the first who scientists should address on the issues of participation in European RTD programmes. Major aims:

  1. to disseminate information on European RTD programmes;
  2. to advise researchers on the issues of participation in European RTD programmes;
  3. to organize and carry out information and training events in universities;
  4. to look for partners for joint research and proposal submission, support individual scientists under consortium-building, proposal writing and project life.

The certain factor of research and technology development is a change of Russian status under participation in FP7 – it should be involved as an associated country.

A great number of researchers in Russia (391121) is quite comparable in indicator per 10 thousands of employed: Russia – 72, Germany - 69, France - 77, Norway 92, Denmark 95, and is even superior in comparison with such countries as the Netherlands - 45, Poland - 45 Italy – 29.

Research :

  • Number of articles published by Russian researchers in world leading scientific journals 15 782 (2003) [1];
  • Share of Russian publications in the world publications in world leading scientific journals – 2,4% (2005);
  • Index of citation – 0,85% (2005);
  • Out of 3400 Russian scientific editions in index of citation there are presented 113[2] ones.

Efficiency:

  • Number of delivered patents in 2005 – 23390 (human necessities – 28,7%; performing operations; transporting – 15,7%; chemistry and metallurgy – 15,6%; physics - 13,1%; mechanical engineering; lighting; heating; weapons; blasting – 11,2%; electricity -7,7%; fixed constructions – 7,1%; textiles and paper – 0,9%);
  • Setting up of advanced production technologies in 2005 – total number is 637, 60 out of them are absolutely new.

Commersialisation of the research outcomes

Russian share in global hi-tech export remains rather small (0,13%) (for comparison – the EU – 19,7%; the USA – 28,5%; Japan – 26,5%)<>

According to the Ministry of economy development, at present "the absolute value of the national hi-tech export reaches 2,5-3 billion of dollars last years". In 2005 Russia exported this production almost three times less than Philippines, four and a half times less than Thailand, 10 times less than Mexico, 13 times less than Malaysia and China and 17,5 Malaysia the South Korea[3].

The content of export has not changed for 10 years and consists of crude oil for one third.

Taking into account increase in government RTD funding there is no increase in efficiency. So Minister Fursenko says in his interview to “Izvestia” («Izvestia» of 14.08.2006) «….In Russia allocations to research has increased twice for 8 years in comparable prices but a number of publications decreased from 18 thousands to 14 thousand annually. Share of Russian publications in global scientific press is - 2,4%, but according to index of citation our position is lower - 0,85%. According to publications Russian science occupies the ninth place by index of citation - the 15th. However the saddest indicator is the 120th place in the world by references to a published article".

Moreover, despite increase in funding since 2000 for 2005 there was a decrease in some indicators.

Thus a number of research institutions in 2000 was 4099; in 2005г. – 3566; a number of researchers in 2000 was 425 954, in 2005- 391121 Research activities (1996-2000)[4] 

Share of Russian publications in the world publications in world leading scientific journals – 3,52% (2,4% - 2005)

citation index – 1,58% (0,85% - 2005)

Benefits of participation in FP7

  • Increase in efficiency of research activities;
  • Projects of the EU FPs is a «quality mark» of research;
  • direct access to information about state-of–the-art and new trends in current research;
  • access to achievements made under European consortia;
  • vast extension of international scientific contacts;
  • extra opportunities for new projects (involvement in a network);
  • involvement of young scientists;

Today pace of development of research and technology and international cooperation as well as global scale of urgent problems requires to reinforce international collaboration. National programmes are necessary supplement targeted on solving specific problems of the country.


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[1] - Science indicators. Official Statistical Compendium, jointly published by Ministry of Education and Science, Federal Service of State Statistics and State University "Higher School of Economics", Moscow, 2006. - 320 p.

[2] - http://scientific.thomson.com/products/jcr

[3] - http://www.newsru.com/finance/10oct2006/hitecexport.html

[4] - magazines.russ.ru/oz/2002/7/2002_07_39.html The National Science Indicators on Diskette database (1996-2000)