M. C. Roco
Directorate for Engineering
U.S. National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230, USA
fax: 703 306 0319
e-mail: mroco@nsf.gov

Support for the generation of nanoparticles and nanostructured materials has a long tradition in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU). The strengths are in the areas of preparation processes of nanostructured materials and in several basic scientific aspects. Metallurgical research on special metals, including those with nanocrystalline structures, has received particular attention. Research on nanodevices has been relatively less developed, even if recent activities indicate promising results. Because of funding limitations, characterization and utilization of nanoparticles and nanostructured materials requiring costly equipment are less advanced than processing. Funds are allocated mainly for research personnel and less for infrastructure.

In retrospect, the first public paper concerning the special properties of nanostructures was published in Russia in 1976, and in 1979 the Academy of Sciences Council created a section on Ultra-dispersed Systems.

Funding for nanotechnology is channeled via the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research, the Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Higher Education, as well as other ministries on specific topics. The Ministry of Higher Education has relatively few funds for research. Overall, 3% of the civilian budget in Russia in 1996 was allocated to science. The plan for 1997 was a slightly lower percentage (2.88%). There is no centralized program on nanotechnology; however, there are components in specific institutional programs. Currently, about 20% of science in Russia is funded via international organizations. The level of interest can be seen in the relatively large participation at a series of Russian conferences on nanotechnology starting in 1984. The first Conference on Physics and Chemistry of Ultra-dispersed Systems was supported by the Soviet Union, followed by a second in 1989 and a third in 1993.

This presentation is based on input received from the presentations and discussions at the WTEC/NSF Review Workshop in St. Petersburg on August 21, 1997, as well as at the NATO ASI on Nanostructured Materials (August 10-20, 1997).

Government Funding of Nanotechnology

Ministry of Science and Technology

This Russian agency contributes to nanotechnology (NT) through several of its specific programs:

Universities, industry, and institutes are allowed in the competition. Typical projects are for 2 years. The success rate is 10-15%, and budgets are allowed only for cost sharing (0.05 to 4% of the total research cost of the project).

The Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research

This foundation provided about 40% (or $122 million) of the funding for all basic research in Russia in 1993-1996. In the same period, Russia received $66.5 million from the Soros funds, $57 million from INTAS (EC), and about $45 million from INCO-Copernicus (EC). It is not clear what percentage of those funds was allocated for nanotechnology research.

Ministry of Atomic Energy

This ministry initiated the "Atomic Energy Industry" program in 1996, including research on ceramics, the restoration of motor oil with additives, magnetic materials, and diamond film coating.

Federal National Technology of Russia Program

This program addresses the issue of the conversion of military R&DD to civilian use. One project focuses advanced materials, including nanostructures.

Support from International Organizations

The INTAS and INCO-Copernicus Programs of the European Community

Currently, INTAS provides $20 million per year for basic sciences in former Soviet Union, and INCO-Copernicus will provide an additional $20 million per year for information science, the environment, and other areas. INTAS is an important source of funding for physics and chemistry, including aspects of nanotechnology.

U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation

INTAS provided $8.2 million for research in the former Soviet Union in 1996, with an additional $2.1 million in matching funds from local governments. Several projects are related to nanotechnology, including "Highly Non-equilibrium States and Processes in Nanomaterials" (1996-1998, Ioffe Institute).

International Science and Technology Centers

The typical total cost for supporting a center is about $500 million for 2-3 years. The funds originate mostly from the European Community and the United States, and collaboration with researchers from those areas is required. Proposals related to nanostructured materials have been submitted.


The Russian government and international organizations are the primary research sponsors for nanotechnology in Russia. However, laboratories and companies privatized in the last few years, such as the Delta Research Institute in Moscow, are playing an increasingly active role. The research focus is on advanced processing and continuum modeling and, to a lesser extent, characterization and advanced computing. Especially noteworthy are the achievements made in physico-chemistry and in innovative processing methods.


Proc. NATO ASI on Nanostructured Materials. 1997. G.M. Chow, ed. Kluwer Academic Publ.

Science in Russia. 7 April 1997. Chem. Eng. News 75:45-47.

Published: September 1999; WTEC Hyper-Librarian