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Higher School of Economics Creates a Platform of the Best Science Management Practices

The HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge with support from the Ministry of Education and Science launches the online project 'Knowledge Network' to Share Best R&D Management Practices and S&T Results'.

There is no uniform management manual in the academic sphere, and the heads of scientific organisations and universities often use the 'trial and error' method or turn to the experience of their colleagues through informal channels. How to improve the effectiveness of scientific activities? How to encourage employees to publish papers? When to register patents? How to build interaction with the business? Where to find additional grants? What do the heads of scientific organisations need to do on a systematic basis in order to become successful 'engines of progress', and to compete with other businesses?

The project provides for the creation of a navigator is planned to cover the most effective practices, and the development of a platform for exchange of experience on key aspects of management in science, such as:

  • management organisation;
  • HR policy;
  • physical facilities and infrastructure;
  • management of financial resources;
  • communications and cooperation;
  • management of scientific results.

Each aspect of management is revealed in the form of brief descriptions of possible solutions, supplemented by exemplars from Russian and foreign experience. The resource also provides links to Russian scientific organisations in which a particular practice has been successfully implemented.

The results of a series of interviews with heads of 90 scientific organisations and 31 universities from 45 cities in 37 regions of Russia are a foundation for the 'Knowledge Network'. The sample is drawn from the data of the Federal monitoring system of performance of the organisations performing R&D of civil appointment. The selection was carried out on the basis of numerical performance criteria in 39 areas of science in accordance with the rules outlined by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia on the monitoring website.

The study revealed some trends in the practice of management and network communications in the field of science:

The success of the organisation depends on the achievements of individual scientists. Measures to support professional growth of specialists proved to be the most popular management practices. The majority of successful managers demonstrate a focus on the development of the personnel potential of organisations and the formation of competitive research teams.

Russian science usually focuses on domestic experience. The experience of foreign lead organisations, according to most managers of science, is not quite applicable in Russia. Russian universities and research organisations focus mainly on the practice of their reference group: universities study the experience of universities, organisations for applied scientific research — practice of other scientific organisations in the same field of research.

The results of scientific activity are increasingly shown in public. Support of communications and development of cooperation were the second most important direction of management activity. Most of the surveyed managers see policy of transparency and promotion of best practices in popularization of science as a key strategy. It is noteworthy that according to the responses on co-operation and communication, the latter often receives more attention, since it allows to reach new audiences, discover new activities and engage in new value chains.

Finding partners is easier and faster abroad than in Russia. Difficulties with internal communications and building cooperation within the country were noted by the majority of respondents (most often — representatives of technical Sciences).

Business orientation in science management is increasing. Despite the active position of the majority of interviewed managers, subjects related to the implementation of the project approach, long-term development and planning remain among the issues addressed on a residual basis.

The authors of the study are grateful to all the participants of the survey and will be grateful for comments and updating the knowledge base of R&D management practices, which are proposed to be sent through the feedback form on the project website goodpractice.hse.ru