The Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) consistently works towards advancing the technology and science ecosystems of Armenia. In line with that mission, this year EIF continued the Driving Force of Science” series of events organized within the framework of the programs implemented with the support of PMI Science R&D Center Armenia in the direction of the development of the science ecosystem in Armenia.

The Driving Force of Science” series of events gathers researchers, students, and people interested in scientific progress on one platform and brings leading Armenian and foreign scientists to the table as special guests. Each event has three major components: thematic presentations on the latest scientific developments that can be applied practically, panel discussions, and free communication. This format enables attendees to share knowledge and ideas and establish ties with one another.

Bagrat Yengibaryan, Director of Enterprise Incubator Foundation

The first event of 2023 was held on March 1 and was titled “Driving Force of Science: Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI in Science.” Beneficiaries of the PhD Support and Faculty Research Funding programs, implemented by EIF with the support of PMI Science R&D Center Armenia, attended the event to present thematic reports and moderate the panel discussions. The event’s special guest was Arsen Arakelyan, Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology NAS RA.

The second event, “Driving Force of Science: Neuroscience and Toxicology,” was held on May 26. The beneficiaries of the PhD Support and Faculty Research Funding programs were in attendance. As special guests, the event featured Konstantin Yenkoyan, Vice-rector for Science of the Yerevan State Medical University, Naira Ayvazyan, Director of the L.A. Orbeli Institute of Physiology NAS RA, and Anna Karapetyan, Head of the Chair of Human and Animal Physiology of the Yerevan State University.

We discussed the interest in our initiative and its effectiveness with the beneficiaries of the PhD Support Program from previous years.

Ruzanna Shushanyan, a PhD Support Program beneficiarybelieves such events are of enormous importance for the research community, as they provide a unique opportunity for experts, particularly young ones, to present their studies to a larger scientific audience and organize collaborations. She also underlines the importance of the topics covered by the “The Driving Force of Science” events. “Researchers are facing big challenges in the study of neurological diseases, and more in-depth research is needed, including on possible new means of prevention and treatment,” she explained.

 “So, it’s great to see neuroscience covered at events dedicated to research.” Ruzanna reflected on the effect of the EIF programs on the development of Armenia’s science community, noting: “We have received a great deal of support from EIF. The programs enabled us to present our work to local and international audiences, which brings recognition to our scientific work and improves its efficiency.”

Another PhD Support Program beneficiary, Eliza Gyulgyulyan noted that a country can be developed if it promotes science. “Events of this kind help reveal the scientific potential and achievements we have in Armenia,” she said, adding that the “The Driving Force of Science” series also facilitates research collaboration. According to her, it’s important to hold such events to navigate science correctly in the modern world, which currently has three major components: humans, computers, and their relationships. Eliza gave the event a high ranking of 9 out of 10, noting:

“Dedicating yourself fully to science is a struggle because we are not paid sufficiently.” The programs of EIF enable scientists to devote all their time to science. Naturally, this produces much better results for their field.”

Lilya Parseghyan, also a beneficiary of the PhD Support Program, said: “These series of events focus on most relevant topics in science and help understand the existing problems and possible solutions. It is great to talk to other researchers and to see research teams, which work on similar problems, discuss their studies.” According to Lilya, the events and programs organized by EIF contribute a lot to the development of science in Armenia by “incubating” scientific thought in a new environment and enabling publicization of the results of research.

Hayk Gasparyan, PhD Support Program beneficiaryunderlines the importance of making scientific works public and accessible. “It motivates other researchers and helps create new connections and interdisciplinary fields,” he explained. Hayk said he was also excited with the choice of topics, noting: “It is in those fields that key scientific developments are happening. By promoting these fields, we can increase the visibility of our country internationally and gain a good position for competing with others.” According to Hayk, each EIF program helps a particular sector of the science ecosystem in Armenia, but altogether they support the whole ecosystem.

Armenia’s scientific community undoubtedly has much more to expect from the “The Driving Force of Science” series of events, as more events are coming soon. They will explore more relevant scientific topics and engage more experts to build on and expand the series’ impact.

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