The John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation gives $11.5 million in support of scientific education and research in Russia

April 23, 2001

Chicago, IL-The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced a grant of $11.5 million in support of work designed to help Russian universities build science research programs and renew Russia's capacity to train scientists.

The grant was awarded to the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) in support of the Basic Research and Higher Education Program, a project jointly managed by the CRDF and the Russian Ministry of Education. This funding brings to almost $18 million MacArthur's support for the program.

Established in 1998, the Basic Research and Higher Education Program has already brought about the formation of eight scientific Research and Education Centers at Russian state universities. The MacArthur grant, coupled with a grant of $1 million for the same purpose by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, provides funding that will enable the program over the next five years to double the number of such university-based centers to 16. It will also enable the CRDF to establish a number of activities designed to help the research centers work more closely together and help build the infrastructure necessary to their long-term stability.

Under the Basic Research and High Education in Russia Program, Russian universities are invited to apply, on a competitive basis, for funds to establish Research and Education Centers at their universities. The proposals are put through an independent review process by Russian and American experts. Each university receives approximately $1 million over three years in funding for the center.

"The MacArthur Foundation has a long term commitment to strengthening and sustaining the type of vibrant, independent, academic communities that are so essential to a healthy democratic society," said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation. "By helping build the science research capacity of Russian state universities, the Basic Research and Higher Education Program is providing the current generation of scientists a place to continue their work while at the same time providing the next generation of scientists the motivation, training, and leadership they need to build both their research and teaching careers."

According to Gerson Sher, president and executive director of the Civilian Research and Development Foundation: "We hope that by focusing on education and the next generation of scientists and engineers, the program will have a real impact in Russia and beyond. Response to the Basic Research and Higher Education Program has been very positive. This work offers significant hope for the long-term survival of the Russian scientific community. We are anxious to launch into the second phase of the program and to build on our success and partnership with the Russian government and local authorities.

Traditionally, training for young Russian scientists took place in the network of free-standing research institutes established by the Russian Academy of Sciences, a system that has been hard-hit over the past decade by deep cuts in funding. The Basic Research and High Education Program, by linking scientific research and training more closely with Russian universities, is providing Russian scientists with the facilities and resources they need to stay productive and to train young scholars.

Many of the Academy of Sciences institutes are involved in the operation of the BHRE centers. This involvement takes the form of institute personnel serving in managerial roles at the centers, joining in center research projects, and teaching and advising center-affiliated students.

Contributions by the U.S. foundations cover about one half of program costs, with the other half provided by the Russian Ministry of Education and Russian regional governments, universities, and research institutes.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grantmaking institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. The Foundation has assets of about $4.6 billion and makes grants in excess of $170 million annually. The MacArthur Foundation was one of the first international foundations to begin operations in the former Soviet Union where it has made more than $60 million in grants since 1992. In addition to its support for the university-based science centers, MacArthur participates with the Carnegie Foundation in a parallel program in the social sciences, supports three private universities in the social sciences, and 15 independent public policy institutes. The Foundation also offers an annual research and writing grant competition that so far has provided support to 563 Russian scholars and practitioners.

The U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation for the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union, founded in 1995, is a private, non-profit charitable organization created by the United States Government as an American response to the declining state of science and engineering in the former Soviet Union. The CRDF seeks to address this issue by fostering opportunities for collaborative projects between researchers in the former Soviet Union and the United States.
Contact: MacArthur Foundation
Ray Boyer 312-726-8000

Civilian Research and Development
Chantal Guess 703-526-9720 x272

Macarthur Foundation

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