A System of University Endowments Would Be Premature in Russia

16 november 2016

“The use of budget funds, such as those available in the Reserve Fund of Russia, for university endowments would not make much sense in a crisis,” said Aleksey Shiryaev, advisor with the Department of Legal Assessment of the Analytical Center, speaking at the conference Market of University Endowments in Russia: Emerging Trends and Prospects.

Mr. Shiryaev offered to use private funds for that, including the money of major Russian companies. This would make it possible to increase the financing of science and research while actually reducing the share of state sources of financing. The expert also expressed doubt as to whether a system of endowments could be implemented in Russia under the current economic conditions. While in the developed countries, the companies managing university endowments ensure returns averaging about 10%, in the rate of return hardly exceed the inflation rate. In addition, the stock market in the developed nations is not as volatile during crises as in Russia where the ups and downs in the stock indices are much greater.

Thus, Mr Shiryaev concluded that the risks associated with university endowments are much greater in Russia than in the developed countries because there is a very real probability of significant difficulties with the introduction of the new mechanism and freezing of significant funds without any guarantees that they will be effectively used to develop universities.