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Hrant Gadarigian

Armenia’s “Academic City” Project Lacks Focus, Says Local Tech Coalition

A coalition of tech and science sector entrepreneurs and researchers in Armenia, going under the name Gituzh (Power of Science) says the Armenian government’s plan to build an “academic city” housing eight universities in the country lacks a clear purpose and cannot address Armenia’s challenges through science.

 In September 2022, Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan visited the Institute for Physical Research of National Academy of Sciences in Ashtarak and discussed his administration's plan to establish an "Academic City" that will include eight universities with facilities to accommodate 50,000.

Pashinyan announced that the city will be built on the premises of the Institute for Physical Research and Institute of Radiophysics and Elecronics of the National Academy of Sciences and adjacent areas.

The Gituzh initiative has criticized the Armenian government for adopting a haphazard approach towards the sciences and argues the “academic city” program is the latest example.

The initiative, in a statement issued today, writes:

“Over the past two and a half years, the responsible ministries within the Armenian government (Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports; High Tech Industry Ministry; Ministry of Economy) have failed to collaboratively define clear scientific priorities aligned with the Republic of Armenia’s goals and needs. Consequently, they have failed to give due importance to, and have not included on their agenda, the development of a national research and innovation system explicitly tailored to address and support these priorities.

“As a result, Armenia’s research and development policies continue to lack coherence, relying on superficial research and abrupt solutions.”

Gituzh wants the government to allocate one percent of the country’s GDP to science and technology and to publicly commit to investing taxpayer funds in establishing a national research and innovation system primarily focused on addressing the challenges faced by the Republic of Armenia.

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