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Friday, March 16, 2018

Actions FANO shock: chemical Institute want to unite with the clinic

The last straw that overflowed the Cup of patience of many scientists, dissatisfied with the actions of the Ministry of education and FANO (Federal Agency of scientific organizations) has become the campaign for the restructuring of institutions that are now actively developed in the regions. Mikhail Sadovsky is one of academics, head of the laboratory of theoretical physics, Institute of Electrophysics UB RAS, on the eve of the signatories of an open letter to the President asking him to relieve the institutions from the pernicious influence of FANO explained “MK” its position.

Photos uran.ru

The initiators of the letter were scientists, United in the so-called “Club July 1, one of the centres of fight against government reform of the RAS. Mikhail Sadovsky is among them.

– Scientists speak out against unacceptable methods of reforming of a science which started officials. But what exactly was the reason for writing the letter now?

The last straw was a completely crazy campaign for the restructuring of institutions of the RAS – Association of linguists with physicists, mathematicians and historians, – says Mikhail Vissarionovich. – It has already happened in Krasnoyarsk, it happens in the Komi Republic, the Perm scientific center at the Udmurt scientific center in Dagestan. Similar attempts are being made now and at us in Ekaterinburg. But integrating heterogeneous institutions this is a completely unnatural way of development because normal development of science occurs only by fission. She must develops like a tree throwing out new branches. And back branches are not fused.

– Give examples of this division.

What was the Soviet physicist? The first physics Institute, Leningrad Fiztekh spawned itself from Kharkiv physical-technical Institute, Ural Fiztekh, which is now called the Institute of metal physics, and was still Siberian physical-technical Institute. Another example, more modern, is the history of the FIAN, which is becoming a very large split in FIAN (Physical Institute RAS), IOFAN (Institute of General physics, Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for nuclear research, Troitsk.

The second side of the case, explaining why we are against the merger. The experience of the last 25 years clearly showed that in modern, post-Soviet economic conditions, and effectively work in relatively small institutions. They are easily manageable, easier to adapt to different realities of an ever changing economy. I believe that the optimal number for the Institute is from 200 to 400 people, because they have specific experience in large and relatively small Institute. Major have great organizational difficulties. There is the cartridge to buy, and that’s the problem. Believe it or not, sometimes this small the purchase takes 2-3 months! In a small Institute such pressing problems can be solved much simpler: went, bought, grew, and receipt.

It’s one thing when institutions bring together on a similar topic… You’ll laugh, but one of the new projects of FANO, which is now much debated in Yekaterinburg, concerns the merger of the Institute of high temperature electrochemistry… clinic!

With clinic?! Did I hear right?

– Yes, with the clinic Uroran. Doctors want to call the research staff, Institute of electrochemistry, together with the fundamental research will handle a… dental crowns. There is an idea even more radical – to unite all in one Federal Research center. Then the archaeologists and physics, and chemists and metallurgists, and biologists will be in one pot stew. You can imagine how it will be managed?

In FANO at all this answer, that all merging processes occur on a voluntary basis…

– I heard about it. In fact, all this is happening, as in the joke about the executioner and the victim, which asks: “the Ropes to bring or you will provide?” Namely, the management of the Institute makes offers that cannot be refused, under the tacit threats until the termination of funding. Documents fixing all this, of course not. Conversation, it usually happens at meetings of the Directors, is as follows: “You let us settle for good, this year you can still volunteer. But next year will be enforced. All this, alas, is an unfortunate consequence of the reform of the RAS, 2013, when the institutions of RAS reassigned FANO. The people of this structure is basically interested in numbers: how many articles we will write for next year? I worked for many years as the head of a small laboratory of theoretical physics of seven people. And people – the managers and financiers, who do not even understand the meaning of the words about what our lab does, I need the figures to 2021…

– You understand why they need all this?

– One of the simplest explanations is that FANO after the unification of the three academies in the submission were more than a thousand legal entities. Even with a considerable number of employees of FANO, which is approximately 500 people, is a lot. To manage this edifice they just can’t do. The second reason is the Ministry of Finance, which, the smaller the budget, the better. It is a materialistic explanation. Idealistic explanation is as follows. Officials (mostly all of them — unfinished lawyers and economists, which have multiplied over the past 25 years) need to justify their existence and salaries, showing a flurry of activity. Due to what? It is necessary to prove that the old is inefficient and create all sorts of reasons for “revolution” and “reform”. They work, alas, to the best of their understanding, come up with new rules and regulations. While none of us would object if they were doing their duties and business activities, registration of ownership… But they are, despite their incompetence, aiming to control directly the science. And it already threatens to be a disaster. To paraphrase a famous phrase of Henry Ford, say, “Trust the accountant to make decisions and you’ll lose science.”

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