PROBLEMS OF THE ACADEMY SCIENCE IN THE SCIENTISTS' EYES
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The article contains results of interviews with scientists and directors, conducted as part of the latest sociological study of the institutes of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of Ukraine. Information given by experts from the NAS covered R&D sourcing, changes in research themes and research quality, innovation, international scientific cooperation (ISC) and integration with the European Research Area, the official S&T policy. The current condition of the Academy is judged more optimistically than it was in the middle of the economic crisis of 90s, that is, as stabilization, although at a very low level. With respect of funding and personnel, stabilization is seen in regular payment of salary and stoppage of mass-scale fleeing. Main problems referred to by experts include the status of doctors and candidates of sciences within the Academy, underfunding of research facilities and technical support, evaluation of basic research. As for the dynamics of research themes, notable change occurred in social fields. Changes in natural fields, if any, have been caused mainly by the expanding cooperation with foreign research centers, and the situation in technical fields has been aggravated by rigid reduction of the industrial demand. The worst situation is in the institutes of physical and technological profile, where R&D requires great investments in facilities. As for R&D funding, the old ('institutional') principle has been prevailing, which stirs up discontent. Inflow of contracts has grown, but insignificantly. Structure of R&D funding by category has changed in favor of salary (above 50%), utility services (above 20%), equipment purchase accounting for only 2 to 3%. As for R&D personnel, the most dangerous trend now is 'generation gap', with prevalence of older persons (of which many are pensioners), on the one hand, and post-graduates, on the other. While post-graduates' recruitment has been stable, the share of defended dissertations has sharply reduced. As regards ISC, it gave a chance to have international grants, both as a funding source and a stimulus for international publications in the West (in parallel with falling of publications in Russia), and a chance to use modern facilities on line of international projects, which has become the only chance to do advanced R&D in fields like physics. As for the innovation capacities, in spite of many losses that the Academy had in 90s, they are still significant or even increasing, but innovation-related barriers in Ukraine are as rigid as before.
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