The Leading Scientists initiative of the Russian Government under decree N220 –Mega Grants - aims to support Russian scientific research by attracting highly qualified scientific and, in particular, foreign leading scientists into Russian institutions of higher education. The distinctive feature of this initiative is that financing for the leading scientists is provided solely from the Russian side, which considerably expands the possibilities of foreign researchers.
For the implementation of this project the Russian government allocated 3 billion roubles (€75 million) in 2010, 5 billion in 2011 (€125 million), and 4 billion (€100 million) in 2012. About 11 billion roubles (€270 million) will be allocated in the next four years, 2013-2016, including 4 billion (€100 million) in 2013.
The grants of 90 million roubles each are given for 3 years with the possibility of further prolongation for 2 more years. Moreover since 2012 not only institutions of higher education but also scientific centres have been allowed to take part in the call and invite leading scientists.
3rd call (2012): 720 applications were received from researchers with 576 Russian universities and 144 Russian research organisations. 42 grant contracts were signed. Among winners 19 are Russian citizens (including 9 with dual citizenship) and 23 are nationals of foreign countries.
4th call (2013): 503 applications were received. 42 grant contracts were signed. Among winners 19 are Russian citizens (including 11 with dual citizenship) and 23 are nationals of foreign countries.
Detailed information is available from the website of the Leading Scientists Initiative.