At the initiative of the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST), the representatives of the US Office of Naval Research Global (ONRG) and US Army Development Command (DEVCOM) visited Armenia in pursuit of blue-sky ideas. The delegation looked to identify fundamental research that could potentially disrupt our conventional understanding of science and technology. The goal was to explore the breadth of scientific research in Armenia and enable brilliant minds to explore unconventional thinking in hope of creating awesome new technologies in the not so distant future.
The US delegation, together with the FAST representatives, visited various scientific, educational, and technological centers both in Yerevan and surrounding regions, including Yerevan State University, National Polytechnic University of Armenia, American University of Armenia, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics and Institute for Physical Research located in Ashtarak, Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory, TUMO center and a number of tech companies, such as Synergy and PicsArt.
According to FAST Foundation, the visit was intense , consisting of both formal and informal meetings with university rectors, professors, scientists, and the startup and tech community. Through these meetings the US delegation had a chance to learn about the ongoing research projects and achievements of local scientists, as well as to hear about their ideas and aspirations for the future.
Along with the visits to various institutions, there were separate meetings organized at the FAST Creative Campus with the young scientists, tech companies, and the startup community.
This visit created the first discourse to identify opportunities for cooperation between the participants. ONRG and Army ITC can leverage three mechanisms of funding in support of Armenian scientists: (1) Provide travel grants for Armenian researchers to visit the US for knowledge exchange and international collaboration. (2) Support local workshops and conferences that bring together the regional and international scientific communities to enable scientific exchange. (3) Provide basic research grants, one to three years in duration, that explore fundamental issues, challenge conventional thinking in science and technology, and harness innovative thinking to enable cutting-edge research.
“Armenia has a long storied history of developing world-class science and technology innovation. This fact was repeatedly highlighted during the week-long visit to Armenian science and technology institutions. It was impressive to see what work is ongoing. It was refreshing to see a new perspective in addressing foundational challenges in science and technology. The unequivocal passion and personal dedication to basic research, the sheer determination to make a difference highlights what opportunities Armenia has to offer. We are looking forward to a continuous and long-standing collaboration with FAST to support the brilliant ideas Armenia has to offer.” – ONRG Chief Scientist Patrick Rose, and International Technology Center’s Basic & Applied Research Team Lead Jon Brame concluded during their visit.
“Considering the creation of such platforms and international collaborations an important investment, FAST Foundation will continue to coordinate this entire process and will serve as a bridge between the local scientists and our US partners, doing its best to help Armenian scientists bring their ideas to life.” – highlighted Suzanna Shamakhyan, Vice President for Strategic Programming at Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology.
The US Office of Naval Research Global (ONRG) and US Army Development Command (DEVCOM) are already looking towards their next planned visit in the coming year.