News FocusInterview: Andrei Fursenko

University Research Should Compete With Russian Academy, Science Minister Argues

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Science  19 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6007, pp. 1038-1039
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6007.1038

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The collapse of the Soviet Union led to hard times for Russian research, but recent administrations have been trying to prioritize science again by investing billions in nanotechnology through a state corporation called Rusnano and developing a high-tech hothouse in the Moscow suburb of Skolkovo. But the government has had to struggle against significant legacies: industries that are more interested in exploiting natural resources than developing new products; a fiercely independent Russian Academy of Sciences that's resistant to change; and a university system more geared to churning out large numbers of graduates than carrying out research. Minister of Education and Science Andrei Fursenko met with Science at the ministry's imposing Tverskaya Street headquarters in September to discuss how Russia plans to reinvigorate its research base.