Last decade the BRICS countries have been catching up rapidly in terms of both economic growth and investment in knowledge, as expressed by investment in tertiary education and R&D. These countries adopted policies to promote science, technology and innovation as the result of greater recognition by governments of the crucial importance of science for socio-economic development. The BRICS countries are investing considerable heavily in the R&D sector to improve their position in the scientific output. For these reasons it is of strategic importance that a satisfactory recruitment of talented people to the science sector is secured, that the scientific profession is attractive for (potential) researchers. Employment opportunities, payment conditions, research facilities, career prospects are of major importance for career development.
Academic careers considerably differ between national science systems. This paper presents the results of a research conducted by the Center for Sociology of Science and Science Studies, Institute for the History of Science and Technology, St. Petersburg Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, whose main interest was to examine the social context, factors and mechanisms of the academic career development in the BRICS region; to analyze the impacts of international mobility on the professional trajectory of researchers, his/her career development. The paper will also highlight the policies for research career development in the BRICS nations, the special features of academic job market, the mechanisms of reproducing scientific elite and academic leadership.