Young Researcher from NArFU Wins RFBR Grant

Young Researcher from NArFU Wins RFBR Grant

Nikolai Ulyanovskiy, a junior researcher at the Center for Collective Use of Equipment ‘Arktika’ (Northern Arctic Federal University), has won a three-year and five-million-ruble grant from the Russian Foundation of Basic Research (RFBR).

This year’s grants are provided for the second time and aimed at keeping young researchers in Russia. Nikolai Ulyanovskiy became the first winner of the grant in the history of NArFU.

‘The funding is intended to support the work of young researchers’ – says Nikolai Ulyanovskiy, a PhD in Chemical Sciences and NArFU’s graduate of 2010. ‘My research is devoted to the study of highly toxic fuel components used in rockets launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. We are investigating their transformations in the soil after the fall of the rocket stages in the Arkhangelsk region. These issues were the subject of my PhD thesis’.

‘Similar researches have already been conducted at the national level, but in those cases the scientists used the soils of Kazakhstan instead. Which is understandable, considering the fact that the Baikonur Cosmodrome was the leading facility for space launch. But our region has its specific features - we have a lot of peat soils, rich in organic substances’.

— According to the studies of the areas affected by rocket stage fall, the levels of soil pollution by fuel residues in our region aren’t critical.

— Yes, the pollution is localized and does not extend far from the fall epicenters. The fuel residues and its transformation products affect the territory of only several dozen meters in radius. Peat is a good absorbent.

— What's the point of your research then?

— In changing environmental conditions the fall epicenters can become sources of secondary pollution by carcinogens due to chemical reactions. Therefore it’s important to understand how these substances behave in the new environment. We must be ready for the consequences of climate change.

— Having supported your work, the Fund emphasized its importance?

— So it appears. But, though the grant was given to me, I’m conducting the research together with my colleagues at the CCU. Without their help it would be difficult to perform such work.

— It’s not your first federal grant . What would your advice be to other young researchers?

— Don’t give up if your application is declined. There’s nothing tragic about it. Even if you failed at first attempt, you still have a chance to win next time. You have to be persistent in achieving your goals.

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