NFSAT Event Bolsters Foundation’s Role as Key Supporter of Armenian Science

Main Agenda Congratulations List of Participants Summary in Photos

Yerevan, Armenia – July 31, 2007 - The National Foundation of Science and Advanced Technologies (NFSAT) celebrated its successes in the development of Armenia’s scientific and technological potential with its ten-year anniversary commemoration on July 30, 2007. The International symposium chaired by Dr. Ashot Chilingaryan (NFSAT Scientific Board Member and head of Cosmic Ray Devision of YerPhI after A.I. Alikhanian), acad. Yuri Sargsyan (NFSAT Scientific Board Member, SEUA) and Dr. Galik Demirchyan (NFSAT Scientific Board Member, Institute of Complex Electric Equipments) was held at the Armenia Marriott Hotel, "Tigran Mets" Conference Hall, in Yerevan. About 100 government representatives, scientists, business leaders and NGO officials from Armenia, the United States, Georgia, and Moldova attended the event, which showcased NFSAT’s accomplishments in support of Armenian science and its international role.

The conference was opened by the Founding President and CEO of the National Foundation of Science and Advanced Technologies, Dr. Harutyun Karapetyan, who welcomed the participants and congratulated them on the event. The Adviser to RA President, Sergo Yeritsyan, recognized the significance of the programs carried out by NFSAT and the importance of NFSAT’s positive influence on the scientific development of Armenia:
“NFSAT’s great experience shows us the most efficient way of carrying out reforms in the field of science.”

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arman Kirakosyan, reflected the sentiment in his speech, stating: “Let me congratulate the NFSAT on its 10th anniversary. I think this is one of the cornerstones of the U.S.-Armenian cooperation, and we very much look forward to seeing this cooperation continue. The government of Armenia, and certainly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will do their best to maintain this cooperation in future.”

The Chief of the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy of Armenia, Thomas Mittnacht, and the director of the “Centers and Institution Building” program of the U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation, John Modzelewski, praised the U.S.–Armenian collaboration during the event.

The speakers, including acad. Radik Martirosyan (President of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia), Ms. Larisa Minasyan (Executive Director of OSI-Armenia), acad. Harutyun Terzyan (Chairman of ARENA, created under NATO’s “Virtual Silk Highway” project) and RA Prime-Minister Adviser acad. Fadey Sargsyan, emphasized the importance of the international collaboration and the integration of Armenian scientists into the international scientific community. The response to the event was impressive, ranging from interest in continuing international collaboration with partner organizations.

The CEOs of NFSAT’s sister organizations in Moldova and Georgia, Dr. Lidia Romanciuc and Mr. George Khokhobashvilli, also noted the important international role of NFSAT.

Dr. Arthur Petrosian, the Chief of the Office of Scientific Review of NIH, appreciated the reviewing process of NFSAT at its true value and emphasized its compliance with the international standards. He said: “When I found out that there is an opportunity to apply for a grant, I applied myself and I got funded, but more importantly, I was very pleased when I got the written comments, I was very surprised with the quality of the reviewer comments and I thought that may be there is something that these people are doing right so they can produce such high quality of review. I think it goes way beyond scientific-technical enterprise. This experience, as a whole, can show Armenian people at large, that with good organization, with the right model, you can really accomplish very interesting things, not only in science, but in business and in other areas of life”.

Mr. Raffi Mardirosian, President of the Stanford Armenian Student Association and member of the “Fast For Armenia” organization of American-Armenian Students declared: “NFSAT has made “Fast For Armenia” much more efficient by dealing with logistics and purchasing the materials locally, which also simultaneously supporting Armenia's economy. On behalf of “Fast For Armenia” team, we thank you for your support of our program and for joining us to help the children of Armenia! Thus, I am proud to announce a new collaborative effort between Stanford University and NFSAT, where NFSAT will be working closely with our Armenian Students' Association to forge a lasting relationship between Universities in the United States and Armenia.”

NFSAT-funded scientists discussed the impact of their research in Armenia and its relevance to the international science and praised the many achievements of NFSAT during its ten years of existence. Young researchers reviewed the results of the Graduate Research Assistance & Stipend Program (GRASP) 2006-2007 that provided early-career Armenian investigators (graduate students / aspirants) involved in full-time research the funds to perform high-quality research in fields of basic science and provided the opportunity to become more integrated into the international scientific community by participating in international conferences, workshops, and meetings.

The Deputy Director of Exlab expert analytical laboratory, Gayane Khachvanqyan, evaluated the role of NFSAT in such a way: “I think it is impossible not to see and evaluate the role of NFSAT, as it has been the one which was holding the heavy load of science in its hands and carrying it to the future during the difficult period of our republic. This is a very heavy and honorable work. I am proud today for being the first who has received that long-term travel grant, which has changed my fate, and I think NFSAT has changed the fates of many others who dealt with it as well”.

At the end of the symposium Dr. Harutyun Karapetyan (NFSAT), Dr. Charles Dunlap (CRDF) and Dr. Samvel Harutyunyan (YSU) announced the results of the University Centers of Excellence Program (UCEP), which is cooperatively organized by NFSAT, the U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation (CRDF), and Yerevan State University. The grant applications by three team leaders have been selected for funding by international peer review:

Hakobyan Tigran (Theoretical Physics Department, proposed center name: Algebraic and Geometric studies for Condensed Matter Physics)

Kryuchkyan Gagik (General Physics Department, proposed center name: Center for Quantum Information Technologies and New Non-linear Materials)

Gevorgyan Samvel (Condensed Matter Physics Department, proposed center name: Superconductivity & Scientific Instrumentation)

Three university centers, each funded at US $100,000, will be created and maintained by NFSAT. They will be equipped with modern equipment and will focus on the preparation of young researchers and students in internationally competitive fields of science.

Modeled on Western grant-making science organizations, NFSAT is an independent, nonprofit foundation that promotes scientific research and technological development in Armenia.

The organization was established on July 4, 1997 and its programmatic activities were and are carried out with the funds received as grants from the U.S. CRDF as part of a U.S. Department of State program to further scientific and technical assistance to Armenia.