Russian Postdocs as a New Tool for Academic Development: an HSE University Perspective
The system of postdoctoral fellowships in Russia is relatively new. The first postdoctoral programs started to appear only in 2013. Their development was accelerated by “5-100” Russian Academic Excellence Project initiated by Russian Ministry of Education and Science. Postdoctoral initiatives started to be implemented in over 10 Russian universities - project participants – as well as Lomonosov Moscow State University and Saint Petersburg State University.
Most programs were designed to follow the western model of postdoctoral fellowships (postdocs). Originally, the aim of such programs was to attract scholars with high scientific potential and various research backgrounds to carry out their independent research as well as extend the pool of a university research projects. The universities generally expect external candidates with PhD degree (or its Russian equivalent, stepen’ kandidata nauk/Candidate of Sciences degree), publications in high-ranked international academic journals and international experience. These young researchers are 30 years old in average , with advanced knowledge of English.
Conducting research is the primary task of postdocs. They can also be involved in joint research work with students, fellow scientists, as well as in giving open lectures and holding seminars. As a rule, call for applications is opened both for foreign and Russian researchers. However, Russian universities focus their efforts on attracting international colleagues to a greater extent .
The positioning of postdoctoral programs in Russia is still under development and reflection. For instance, Russian universities sometimes compare it with the well-known system of Doctorantura, education program for Candidate of Sciences who are willing to get the degree of Doctor of Sciences. As, for example, National Research Tomsk State University claims that “The Institute of Postdoctoral Studies at TSU replaced Doctorantura, familiar to all of us ” , National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University calls its postdoctoral program “Postdoc of TPU as an analogue of Doctorantura” . The second aim of the Russian universities is to use the postdoctoral Programs as a tool of international recruiting. These are the cases of Ural Federal University, Novosibirsk State University, Far Eastern Federal University e.t.c. So, Russian universities currently regard postdoctoral programs as a development tool of their staff.