On March 9, 2021, the RA Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan participated in the final discussion session of the three-day workshop titled “Collaborative doctoral education: discovering best practices and planning for future”.
Welcoming the workshop participants, Vahan Kerobyan in his speech expressed confidence that science, relying on technological progress, has no alternative for Armenia but development. “It is obvious that only in that case we can create a high-value result in Armenia, and being a small country, have a strong economy, such as Israel, Switzerland, etc. During the three months of my tenure, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports, we reviewed the approach of allocating state funding for postgraduate slots. We offered businesses to present projects that require research, and we have already made the selection. We believe that continuous close collaboration awaits us. It is obvious that scientific thought helps business, and in this direction we shall move forward”, said the Minister of Economy.
During a separate working discussion, the representatives of the ARMDOCT program presented to the Minister and the staff of the Ministry the results of the research on the tools for promotion of the connection between science and economy, specified the problems and opportunities for improvement. An agreement was reached to set up a scientific council under the Minister of Economy, which, in close cooperation with other agencies, will develop a roadmap for the connection between science and economy.
Among the urgent issues requiring solution the representatives of the universities presented the problems of taxation of equipment and materials acquired for scientific research, attributing importance to provision of tax incentives (including exemption from the value added tax), which will significantly stimulate investments in the field and increase of the efficiency of the process. It was also proposed to launch mechanisms of financial incentives by the state, including tax incentives, for interested organizations conducting joint research to train scientific manpower in a certain scientific field. Emphasizing the importance of these suggestions, Vahan Kerobyan noted the issue will be studied in more detail and a corresponding project will be circulated in the near future.
The Minister expressed readiness to attract resources and provide financial support to academic “spin-offs”. In order to raise awareness and disseminate information, as well as promote cooperation between scientists and the business sector, the Ministry representatives expressed readiness to organize a conference in the near future together with the ARMDOCT project’s working group.
The Director of the National Center for Professional Education Quality Assurance Ruben Topchyan defined the lack of applicable knowledge as one of the main problems identified during the accreditation of universities. He expressed confidence that this program will provide sufficient solutions by creating doctoral schools, as well as by providing university-industry connection. He also emphasized ensuring the connection between the doctoral education and master’s education.
During the workshop, examples of collaborative doctoral programs, research programs jointly conducted by universities and industry were presented by universities and other social partners. The workshop concluded with discussions on organization of collaborative doctoral educational programs.
The “Collaborative doctoral education: discovering best practices and planning for future” workshop was held on March 4-6, 2021, within the framework of the “Reforming Doctoral Education in Armenia in line with the requirements of the academic community and industry and the EU experience” (ARMDOCT) Erasmus+ Capacity Development Program.