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Precarious employment becomes a trend in labour relations in Russia

Researchers at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (PRUE) have found that precarious forms of employment — irregular earnings and no guaranteed working conditions — are on the rise in Russia.
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Unconventional employment is a complex of forms of employment, which in one way or another do not fit into the framework of the Labour Code — for example, freelance or home office, irregular working hours, lack of social protection, pensions and fixed-term employment contracts. In some cases, such employment may become precarious, which means vulnerability to various risks.

Scientists have calculated the number of people in Russia who, according to the International Labour Organization’s precarious employment criteria, might be considered to be in precarious employment. They used data from a variety of sources, including Rosstat and the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS). As it turned out, 60 to 80% of employees were in precarious employment to some degree in 2016, in both formal and informal parts of the economy.

Scientists concluded that precarious employment is the result of acceleration of structural changes in the economy. «The volatility of employment is a consequence of the dominance of local and global capital focused on creating „flexible labour markets“ that bring costs to a minimum», the researchers believe.

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Six Russian NTI centres to receive grants for the development of advanced technologies

Results of the grant competition, organised by the Ministry of Education and Science, for the National Technology Initiative (NTI) centres based at universities and scientific institutions, were announced on 22 of December. Six selected centres will receive 7.8 billion rubles for the development of advanced technologies
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Grants for 2017−2020 go to: NTI Centre for research direction «Artificial Intelligence», based at MIPT; Centre for Quantum Technologies, based at Moscow State University; Competence Centre for New and Mobile Energy Sources Technologies, based at the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences; NTI Centre «New Production Technologies», based at the Institute of Advanced Production Technologies of the St. Petersburg Polytechnic University; Centre for Technologies of Managing the Properties of Biological Objects, based at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and NTI Centre for research direction «Neurotechnology, Virtual and Augmented Reality Technologies», based at the Far Eastern Federal University.

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Scientists have found the origin of obesity in stem cells

Researchers at the Moscow State University described a new mechanism which possibly underlines the development of obesity. They found a group of stem cells which actively transform into fat cells under the action of a hormone called angiotensin II.
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Scientists have investigated the effect of angiotensin II on stem cells during the process of their specialization — these «universal» cells have the ability to become any type of cell.

In the course of the experiments, Russian scientists identified a group of stem cells which are particularly actively converting into fat cells (adipocytes) when under the action of the hormone. This group of cells shows particularly strong reaction to the hormone, speeding up the process of specialization. The authors of the paper believe that such an intensive differentiation of these cells can underlie disturbances in the formation of adipose tissue, leading to obesity.

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The best science communicators to be announced February 7

Popularizers of science — scientists, journalists and businessmen who have contributed to the development of Russian science — can apply to participate in the IV National «For Loyalty to Science» Award competition until January 15, the press service of the Ministry of Education and Science informs.
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The list of nominations for the most prestigious national award for the popularization of science has grown to 11 positions: to the traditional best television, radio, print and internet projects, photographic works and the «anti-prize» four additional prizes will be awarded for the best project on science in social networks, the best children’s project about science, the best popular science project of the year and, of course, the «Popularizer of Science — 2017».

Applications for participation in the award can be submitted through the Ministry’s website. The winners of «For Loyalty to Science — 2017» will be announced on February 7.

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