On Economics Programm
Research Potential Foundation
The grant application program in the field of economics has been created in order to support original research projects. Initially, we followed a regular procedure that stipulated a competition of proposals and funding of the winning projects, with the project participants' efforts being narrowed to report writing. However, the results of such researches were mostly unavailable for general public although they could be transformed into scientific articles or any other profound works. We wanted to see more significant results of the Foundation activities. In 2004, a decision was taken to change the Economics program format - making it more industry focused. Projects were regarded as a foundation for writing and publishing monographs.
The past four years showed that this approach matched the applicants' motivation. Any serious researcher would like to summarize the outcomes of his or her years-long work in a monograph. Every author (and the Foundation management) would like their works to sell well instead of piling up on the bookshop racks - stimulating publishers to release more copies. This is basically what we sought.
How could we achieve this result if Moscow's and other cities' book shops were flooded with editions of all sorts? With tough competition, catching the readers' attention in such fields as bookkeeping, management, micro- and macroeconomics was quite a challenge. It seemed at times that industry-specific books were cloned like detective stories.
We focused on unexplored themes that were important to Russia. Of course, the participants' expertise and the conformity of their applications to our criteria also mattered. One of our objectives was to find out how knowledgeable authors were in their fields; interviewing the applicants (whose requests have been preliminarily approved for funding) helped us in that matter. We are pleased to admit that we were not mistaken in most cases.
The very first monograph that opened the new-format Economics program was a success. It was a profound investigation into the Islamic economy performed by two experts in the history of economics. There is so much talk about the role of Islam in the modern life! Incorrect speculations are suggested in this regard (some even predict an upcoming clash of civilizations). But there wasn't an unbiased, thorough and comprehensive scientific analysis of economies based on the Islamic religion values. Shortly after the book by N. Ulchenko and N. Mamedova Specific Economic Development of the Modern Islamic States (studying Turkey and Iran) was released, it was sold out. Exploring a specific topic, the book attracted a wide audience.
Other economic books enjoyed similar popularity: A. Razumov's and M. Yagodkina's Poverty in Modern Russia, V. Ratushnyak's and V. Kupman's Reviews of Socio-economic Development of the Northwest Caucasus Under Market Economy. Another fresh release is the Foundation-financed S. Ryazantsev's Migrant Labor in the CIS and Baltic States. Trends, Consequences, Regulations.
Many requests that we selected attracted us as they focused on socio-economic and humanitarian topics standing at the crossroads of many disciplines including history, geography, sociology, culture history, etc. We are also interested in projects aimed at investigating the socio-economic development of Russia's particular regions.
We do not discard the usefulness of purely academic approach towards theoretical research and meticulous empirical analysis, but these are well covered by a number of respectful journals published abroad and in our country. Nevertheless, we sometimes make exceptions for interesting reviews in certain fields of the economic theory. We are glad to mark the projects successfully accomplished in 2007 - S. Afontsev's Political Markets and Economic Policy and V. Matvienko's Resources, Institutes, and Economic Growth.
We do not conceal that in request selecting we have certain preferences. All other factors being the same, we tend to select representatives of regional rather than capital-based research centers. First, we take into consideration unequal competition: Moscow and St. Petersburg offer broader research and fund-raising opportunities; secondly, Russian regions must develop faster to catch up with the two major cities, so they badly need modern social-economic investigations and research school development.
We hope that, our efforts in selecting projects for funding and implementing them stimulate creativity and revelation of research potential in Russian scientists, thus justifying the name of our Foundation.
A. B. Pomansky, director of the Human Capital Foundation
G. Y. Trofimov, director of the Human Capital Foundation