Russian President Vladimir Putin issued decrees this month that may affect how science there is conducted, ScienceInsider reports.
One decree calls for research funding from the state to be given out through a competitive process — currently, research institutes receive state money for costs like building and utility expenses. ScienceInsider notes that the Russian Ministry of Education and Science has been trying to institute such a process since the fall of the Soviet Union, but has been blocked by the Russian Academy of Sciences. However, it adds that the influence of the RAS has waned recently.
However, the decrees do not describe how the process would work.
"One can only welcome the introduction of a competitive funding system," says Valery Rubakov from the RAS Institute for Nuclear Research. "But only on one condition: if the competition is absolutely transparent. In this case it may do much good. Otherwise, it will be deadly for many laboratories and not only for the ones that are ineffective."