Great attention is being paid to the problems of the development of science and state support for the involvement of young people in the scientific activity in the Russian Federation. Science is one of the important mechanisms for the development of society and the state. Thus, the role of the higher education system in the training of highly qualified and competitive specialists who can make up the human resources of science in the country is growing.?Among the urgent problems of modern Russian science are obsolescence of scientific personnel, violation of the continuity of generations of scientific traditions. It determines the special social significance and relevance of the scientific search in the field of psychological and pedagogical mechanisms for involving young people in research activities, their activation, the formation of positive motivation for research work in higher education.?The paper focuses on the approaches to the consideration of research activities in psychological science; motivation of scientists and university students involved in research work; sources and mechanisms of interest formation, motivation of research activities among students. The analysis of scientific sources has revealed that the perception of science, scientific activity, and the image of a modern scientist can also become a significant factor inhibiting or activating the interest of young people in participating in scientific work.?The aim of the study is to study the image of a scientist in the representations of students of a Russian university.?230 students involved in research activities of a regional Russian university have taken part in the empirical study. It? has studied the ideas about modern problems of science, the image of a scientist and motivation for scientific activity of famous scientists of the country and region.?A comparative analysis has been conducted between groups of university students, differing in the degree of activity and effectiveness of participation in research activities, involvement in the scientific environment.?The work highlights the experience of a regional Russian university in popularizing science, enhancing the research activities of students, including raising the awareness of university students about modern scientists through organizing various meetings and master classes with scientists. It gives information about the achievements of science and higher school teachers as research scientists.