As winner of the state prize, academician Pustovoit was in disgrace

At the presentation of the state prize, academician Pustovoit told Vladimir Putin, as the gravitational field can be used for navigation systems that will allow to opt out orbiting satellites. By the way, this award was the fifth for the scientist. (The contribution Pustovoit in the discovery of gravitational waves “RG” told in detail in the article “the Waves are not agreed” (16.07.2018). And now this world-famous scientist was in a difficult conflict situation.

Photo: iStock Academician sees in the study of homeopathy scientific interest

what’s the point? Academician Pustovoit many years headed the Scientific-technological center of unique scientific instrumentation RAS, in 2015, at the age resigned as Director and became a supervisor. Soon with the new Director of the conflict began. According to Pustovoit, the new leadership dramatically changed the themes of the centre, in fact rejecting the scientific areas in which there were engaged many years. In addition, Pustovoit believes that the work committed serious financial irregularities. The opinion he repeatedly expressed the new leadership. In the end, the head of science decided to abolish, and the life of a scientist in the center seriously complicated.

In one of the Central Newspapers published an article where all the blame for the situation imposed on the current leadership of the center. In response to his website there is extensive material, where each charge of the refutation.

Today the Director of the Institute reports to minnauki not for the great scientific achievements, and the number of publications and other scientometrics

– Change of Director, especially if he for many years headed the team, of course, very difficult situation. Especially if the person comes from, he’s not from this school, and it happens that not one of science, which hanimaetsya the Institute. What happened in the center of the instrument, – told “RG” the academician – Secretary of the Department of nanotechnologies and information technologies of RAS Gennady Krasnikov. – Who is right? In the scientific community it is always decided by the arbitrator, colleagues from the Russian Academy of Sciences. But it was not until the reforms of hoakalei 2013, when the Academy lost its institutes. They are transferred to FANO, and then came under the wing of the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation. So our ability to influence these situations are extremely small. We have no such rights. We have repeatedly invited the new Director of the center to make a scientific report about the work of the organization, but he, under various pretexts, had ignored these proposals.

the President of RAS Alexander Sergeev:the conflict has revealed serious shortcomings in our science

Alexander, as you could comment on the situation in the centre?

Alexander Sergeev: would now like to legally assess who is right and who is wrong in this conflict, although clear to my fellow scientists reasons my sympathies are on the side of the supervisor. I asked the head of the Ministry Valery Nikolaevich Pulkovo with a request to create a Commission to objectively it all figured out. I am sure that this will be done in the near future. But it seems to me that this conflict requires much more attention. It is like a drop of water highlighted the “pain” of our science. After all, situations in which Vladislav Ivanovich Pustovoit, we are faced for the first time. In them there are subjective aspects of particular people, but there are objective factors. The fact that many academic institutions are only as strong Directors, including those put institutions “on the wing” and kept the high creative potential, is forced by age to leave his post. Now “elected” Director’s age is restricted to 65 years. But often an adequate substitute this distinguished scientist just yet. Academy have repeatedly drawn attention that the existing age limit for dof Directors of the institutions should be changed, as it harms the science.

You heard?

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Alexander Sergeev: fortunately, Yes. Now before the Duma is a bill that the age of appointment to the post of Director of the Institute should be extended to 70 years. Thus, a strong Director for another five years will be able to lead their teams. This is extremely important for science.

the Second point, which is also manifested in a situation with Pustovoit, is associated with the position of “scientific Director”. The position sounds nice, weighty, and in fact the Director in case of conflict, can make it virtually powerless. If a formal approach, today’s supervisors can not de-jure influence on decision-making by the Directors on the scientific programme of the Institute. Yes, some of the institutions they chair the scientific Council, but the Director may so change its composition in a way that the head is not in the business. This situation must change, to make a scientific adviser at the Institute where this position is provided, an iconic figure, having legally the right and responsibility along with the Director important matters of the Institute the issues.

the Merger of black holes has allowed us to open gravitational waves. Photo: NASA/ames research center/c.henze

But for the work of the Institute meets one person, the Director. With a demand for everything. Yesterday the Director may have their own views on the development team that does not coincide with what makes new. They each certainly have their own ambitions. Why all this increase, raising the weight of the supervisor? Especially making it equal? Maybe the problem solvessmiling is simple: to opt out of this post. She was introduced to “attach” to the outgoing age of the Director. By the way, in Soviet times there were no supervisors, the number one man in the Institute always was the Director.

Alexander Sergeev: Right. But it is essential that he was a scientist and one. There was no doubt. In the Academy he worked as an inviolable rule: to lead the teams needs the best scientists, it is their Academy and was elected as a Director. All outstanding Director of the Union consists of outstanding scientists recognized in the world. Then do not competed Hirami, a number of publications, and science were in many areas at the global level, and in some areas exceeded. Now everything is turned upside down.


Alexander Sergeev: Director, swamped with bureaucracy, they 50, and then 80 percent of their time is spent not on science, but on administration, writing endless reports. Their main task is to provide budgetary process: how to justify and get money how to spend it, in order to implement the plan in the number of publications. For this he is accountable to the Ministry of education and science, and not for great scientific achievements. Therefore, the work of a Director in a large volume of far from art and science to it it just hands do not reach. Which, incidentally, are well aware of the strong young scientists. They don’t want to take the Director’s chair, and prefer to do science.

So maybe we need to fight bureaucracy in science…

Alexander Sergeev: Necessary, but I think to do is now extremely difficult. Because science does not live in a vacuum, but as the whole country, in the new economic reality. The budget is sacred. Each spent him, the ruble should bring benefits, “shoot” the number of publications Hishami and other metrics. Need to report to the Ministry of Finance with the accuracy of the ruble, and it needs to deliver. Tsuch a purely utilitarian approach leads to the dominance of bureaucracy. But science is the creativity that is incompatible with the bureaucracy.

Therefore, the Institute should be a scientist-a leader who does not 30% and all your time will care about science. And is scientific Director. But it should work in a completely different coordinate system to exclude the situation in which the academician Pustovoit. Need a well-functioning tandem Director – head of research, with clear allocation of rights and duties. For example, a matching signature should stand on the most important documents related to development programs and financing. And of course, the supervisor shall constantly monitor the implementation of the scientific programme that is constantly thinking about science, not about the implementation of the budget and scientometrics. Now in the Duma introduced another bill that strengthens the role of the supervisor, and the Academy will actively participate in the discussion.

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But then it obviously must not be a former Director, as it is now?

Alexander Sergeev: This should be a recognized scientific leader in the Institute. It is essential that the recommendation of the supervisor gave the Academy of Sciences and the Ministry it claimed. Today everything is Vice versa. There is no doubt that the attitude towards career growth of young scientists strong will change fundamentally. They will receive a tempting perspective to realize themselves continuing to study science. This post will seek and we will be able to choose the most worthy.

as for the former Directors, who retired by age, I think there may be options. Someone while still in the Prime of life and good health, according to their scientific qualities will be worthy to hold this post, and for those who for various reasons can not a lot of time to give science, in the Institute’s Charter to provide for the position of honorary scientific adviser.

If quite simple, you propose a system where almost equal work Director and supervisor, in fact, the Manager and the scientist. Of course, everyone has their own niche, their natural “habitat”. Maybe this scheme may be reasonable, but these are real people, they are not perfect, each with its own character. Surely between them there will be conflicts. And who is going to resolve? How to get on in one den two bears? Who gets the last word?

Alexander Sergeev: I don’t really want to call the Director Manager. This is often also a scientist who knows the science in his Institute, but he took over managerial functions. If, however, there will be conflicts? Today, in universities formed Supervisory boards that are top on their management. They do not interfere in the current work, but in control of key points and on sharp turns the life of the University actively involved, consider the situation and render its verdict. I think Supervisory boards for scientific activities you can create to assist academic institutions, and to form their wounds should be consistent with the Ministry of science. Because the Academy by law is responsible for the scientific supervision of institutions that conduct fundamental research. Let me remind you, that in former “pre-reform” the days of the Academy are regularly sent to the institutions of the Commission on checking the activities. Supervisory boards could take over the former functions of academic committees, but to work more regularly and interested.

in short, you propose to create a fundamentally new model of management of the Institute, which clearly separated the functions of the supervisor and Director, and disputes between them will decide the arbitrator – the Supervisory Board.

Alexander Sergeev: Rather, we are talking about the new model, which is the main tandem in a coherent and productive working Director and scientific Director with the participation of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It can be offered to research institutes, and have them decides, it is convenient for them or not. In those institutions where it continues to operate effectively the Director’s command, to change the system unreasonable. But today we are discussing just the other case that is not isolated. The model is first “run” on several pilot projects. I hope that the new system will not be situations similar to the one which was such a prominent scientist as Vladislav Ivanovich Pustovoit. Science in no case must not lose the knowledge and experience of such people.