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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...
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Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
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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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Russia's Science Budget Diving Toward New Low
18 December 1998 7:00 pm
MOSCOW--Russian scientists received more gloomy news this week: The government has sent to parliament a 1999 budget that is unlikely to even keep pace with inflation next year and which amounts to a 70% cut when converted to dollars. Discussions about how to rescue Russian science dominated a workshop here earlier this week sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Science and the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). But the meeting produced no tangible strategy for reforming a beleaguered scientific community.
Russia's R&D budget has spiraled downward in the last decade, from $10 billion in 1990 to $1.83 billion in 1998. The Yeltsin Administration's budget submitted to the lower house of parliament, or Duma, last week would give science 11 billion rubles next year, at the present exchange rate about $520 million. Federal spending per researcher has dropped from $9000 in 1997 to $5000 in 1998--less than 4% of expenditures typical in the West. Such numbers will make it harder than ever for new Science Minister Mikhail Kirpichnikov to protect basic research.
At the meeting, Russian officials said the best hope for salvation is the development of high-tech industries. "This is the only way to pull Russia out of the crisis," says deputy science minister Gennady Tereshchenko, who says the ministry could lay the groundwork for such an industry. OECD's Michael Oborne, however, says he doubts that an industry could be born from "administrative measures." The OECD has estimated that getting such a sector on its feet would require a cash infusion of approximately $1 trillion. Bake sales and IMF loans are unlikely to do the trick.