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Science in Russia in dire straits: Report

Posted on Dec 08, 10:24AM | IANS

Science in Russia is in crisis, mainly due to underfunding and the lack of a coherent national development strategy, according to a report by a non-governmental group, the Russian Science Promotion Association (RSPA).

The report, prepared under the supervision of Yevgeny Velikhov, RSPA head and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, says Russian science continues to significantly lag behind international research standards, is experiencing an acute personnel shortage, is affected by bad organisation and bureaucracy, and has serious problems in following through on innovation.

"Overall, the current state of Russian science can be described as catastrophic," the report said.

Science has been crippled by pervasive commercialisation and the growing divide between a manager's personal success and national interests.

Television only contributes to the problem, the report continued.

"Numerous programmes broadcast on federal channels on subjects requiring professional expertise that are conducted by unprofessional hosts with unprofessional participants undermine the authority of professional knowledge," it said.

These programmes create the illusion that anyone can solve serious problems, "regardless of education and practical experience", it says, adding that one devastating result is the elimination of the "cult of knowledge" in mass consciousness.

There is a pressing need to develop a coherent scientific-technical policy based on long-term strategic development priorities, the report concludes.