HSE attracts Leading Scientists
On October 29th the results of the open public competition of the Ministry of Education and Science for financial support of research conducted under supervision of leading scientists in Russian universities were announced. Fedor Bogomolov, Professor of Mathematics at the New York University, and Ronald Inglehart, Professor at the University of Michigan Center for Political Studies, will both receive grants for research work at the HSE.
‘The competition was extremely tough, 507 applications were made. After detailed discussion, a ranking was made as a result of voting. The council decided that 40 leading researchers will win the competition, whose applications received more than half of total Council members’ votes’, Andrey Fursenko, Russian Minister of of Education and Science and Chairman of the Council, announced.
Under the terms of the competition, the priorities in Russian universities include creation of international-level laboratories within universities, getting international-level scientific results, preparation of high-class experts and the transfer of promising developments to the economic sector.
Grants are assigned for research between 2010-2012 with the possibility of extension for up to 2 years. Leading Russian and international scientists participated in the contest. Each application was evaluated by both Russian and international experts.
Under the contract with the RF Ministry of Education and Science, each researcher takes the responsibility for project administration and final reporting, and a university – for the provision of appropriate conditions.
As a result of the competition, the Higher School of Economics will receive two grants, and one of them is the only one in social sciences out of the 40 winners. The grants will be used to open a Laboratory for Socio-Cultural Studies at HSE Moscow, and a Laboratory for Comparative Social Research in the HSE Saint Petersburg branch. The latter will be headed by Professor Ronald Inglehart, who has been conducting the World Values Survey for the last 30 years.
The World Values Survey has measured value priorities in about 100 countries including Russia since 1981. Ronald Inglehart is the author of the original theory of modernization. Its key idea is that a certain level of economic development leads to the appearance of a generation of people who no longer need to strive for survival. In such a generation, a shift of values takes place, from materialistic and conformist, to those of self-expression, individualism, trust and tolerance. These values create a new environment which promotes economic growth, social consolidation and democratization.
According to the Professor, Russia is an interesting example, since the subjective well-being of Russians (according to their own evaluation) is worse than might be expected on the basis of economic indicators. Russian participants in this research have many hypotheses on this issue, and they plan to discuss them with their American colleagues and implement research in the Moscow and Saint Petersburg laboratories.
Ronald Inglehart will come to Russia in mid-December to organize the laboratories and conduct the first classes. At the same time, an international conference will be held in St Petersburg, where project participants and their colleagues from Europe and the U.S. will discuss perspectives of comparative studies in the world.