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brain drain

Threats of layoffs in Russia

The news that the government of Russia plans to dismiss about 10,000 government researchers over the next three years has caused apprehension in the Russian scientific community. Most of the layoffs are expected to be in institutes that are part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the journal Science reports. The cuts would amount to 17% of the workforce in the institutes, which currently employ more than 49,000 researchers. The proposal is being prepared by the Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations (FASO), established in 2013 to manage and regulate research performed by federal institutes. The agency recently announced that it will cut costs to make the institutes leaner and more efficient. In an open letter to President Vladimir Putin, about 150 researchers criticized the proposal. According to them, the planned reforms could jeopardize the image of science in Russia and cause an unprecedented brain drain. One Kremlin source told Science that the government is concerned about the scientists and will pay “close attention” to the situation.