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There can be no economic progress without creating an environment which motivates scientists

© Форпост Северо-Запад

On 8 February, Russia celebrates Russian Science Day. Today is not so much a holiday as an occasion to talk about its prospects, and the potential of scientists engaged in fundamental and applied research. Is it fully exploited? Do young people go into science? Will they be able to ensure a generational change in the future and maintain our country's place among the undisputed leaders in technological development?

A few years ago, the St. Petersburg Mining University launched a financial incentive mechanism that allows postgraduate students to receive a decent salary. It is a salary, not a stipend, as postgraduate studies are not just another step in higher education, rather one of the first stages of a scholar's career.

Undoubtedly, training elite-class scientific and pedagogical personnel adapted to modern realities is one of the priority tasks facing universities. This is obvious, because the sustainability of the domestic economy in the coming decades will directly depend on the number of competitive knowledge-intensive Russian products that will appear on the market in the foreseeable future. Whether or not we will achieve results in this area depends on the level of competence of the current graduate students and young scientists.

In order for it to meet our expectations, we need to shape and disseminate knowledge about modern technology, create the material base necessary for experimentation, and, of course, an environment that motivates promising young people to do research. This is why the University of Mining continues to work on improving incentive tools for researchers. This includes successful postgraduate students.

Today, they can earn anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 rubles a month. The exact amount depends on the level of foreign language skills, adherence to scheduled laboratory research and the preparation of reviews of relevant scientific articles that broaden the scholar's horizons and a priori contribute to the quality of the dissertation.

If a doctoral student publishes an article based on the results of his theoretical and experimental research in a highly ranked journal with a high citation rate even before defending his doctoral thesis, he is entitled to a substantial lump sum payment. He also receives another 300,000 rubles for getting his degree on time. When they sign an employment agreement with Gorny, the young PhD candidate is given a preferential housing certificate and guaranteed a monthly supplement to their salary of up to 30 percent during their first three years at the university.

Naturally, the motivation is not limited to money. Science is about creativity, experimentation. And it is necessary to create the right conditions for young scientists themselves (under the guidance of experienced mentors) to set serious goals, to strive in practice, not in words, to reach their full potential.

In 2021, we did a lot to bring our infrastructure to an even higher quality level. In particular, we modernised 32 laboratories, which became part of six major global research centres. They bring together all full-time scientists, teachers, students and postgraduates conducting research on similar topics. Creating an environment conducive to increased scientific activity has increased the number of interdisciplinary studies as well as the accuracy of measurements taken in experiments.

Scientists at St Petersburg Mining University are working in areas such as increasing the profitability of mining and processing raw materials, improving the energy efficiency of production, reducing the carbon footprint, recycling and minimising the man-made impact on the environment as a whole, reproducing the mineral resource base, and many others. Our task is to obtain a reliable result during scientific experiments, create an innovative product on its basis, and implement it into production. In many different sectors of the economy.

The strategy for training elite-level scientists developed at the University of Mining will still be transformed. However, all the conditions necessary to intensify research and meet the scientific challenges we face are already in place.

Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University

Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta