With its unique processing and research equipment, which meet world standards in chemical engineering, the institute can conduct a full array of research on the structure and properties of polymer materials and composites.
With its highly-qualified scientific personnel (110 researchers, including one member and one corresponding member of the Russian Academy, 10 doctors of science, and 51 with the candidate of sciences degree [equivalent to the Ph.D.]), along with the theoretical, computational, and experimental methods at its disposal, the institute is capable of solving basic and applied problems concerning the physics and chemistry of polymer materials. In addition, the institute educates scientific personnel through its professional training system. As part of this system, the institute has established a special on-site Polymer Physics Department at the Moscow Physical-Technical Institute (MPTI). Approximately 20 students are educated and receive specialized training at the department each year. The department's graduate school offers degrees in three fields. Among the institute's staff are 18 young scientists (under age 33) and 15 graduate students.
The institute maintains strong scientific ties with institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS); universities; industrial or sectoral institutes and design bureaus; and foreign scientific organizations such as the University of Ulm (Germany), Chalmers University (Sweden), and the Dow Chemical and Armstrong companies (United States).
For a long time, the activities of the institute were directed toward research to create fundamentally new types of polymer materials as part of the overall state plan for scientific and technological development. This work was performed in accordance with the RAS research plan, which had been worked out by the country's planning agencies. Given this organization of scientific activity, commercialization of research was not a task for the research institutes themselves. Instead, the end results of scientific research were passed on to the industrial scientific production centers, which had their own experimental production bases to conduct testing and design work and to develop concepts to the level of industrial technology demonstration projects, at which point the finished technologies were handed off to industry.
With the process from scientific development to industrial production organized in this manner, the question of property rights to newly created scientific products did not arise as the results of the work of all those involved in the process belonged to the state. Moral incentive was the main factor giving researchers an interest in creating new scientific products. However, the scientific collectives that proposed new developments, and thus displayed their high creative potential, received additional support from industrial centers. This support took the form of contracts for research on the technological issues that these centers addressed.
With the transition to a market economy, the scientific organizations of the Russian Academy of Sciences face two major challenges. The first is identifying new areas of strategic development. The second is attracting sources of