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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Jump Start for Russian R&D Businesses
25 March 1997 8:00 pm
WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Russian government is about to launch two programs aimed at feeding the flames of an already-hot cottage industry: science-based businesses. The initiatives were announced here at a conference on Russian science policy at Georgetown University.
While Russia has had a hard time reforming its network of bloated scientific institutes, researchers have embraced capitalism by forming small businesses attempting to sell everything from new drugs to spark plugs. The government estimates that 70,000 science-based companies, employing about 360,000 people, have sprung up in the past decade. Most occupy space in moribund institutes. "In some cases, these enterprises are doing more R&D than the mother organizations," says former Science Minister Boris Saltykov.
Hoping to bet on a winner, the Russian government plans to pour at least $15 million into two new efforts to shore up existing science firms and spur new ones. The programs, run separately by the science ministry and a new entity called the Federal Fund for Industrial Innovation, will disburse short-term loans and seed grants in such areas as biotechnology and ecological monitoring. It's unclear, however, how the programs plan to coordinate to avoid overlap and how their priorities will differ.
The funds will augment $30 million budgeted this year by Russia's Fund for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE), which makes loans to start-up companies in a wide range of high-tech businesses. Says FASIE director Ivan Bortnik, "Russian science is evolving into smaller units."