responds to global challenges and opportunities and is grounded in the economic realities of the country. Strong Armenian government leadership is needed, including a long-term budgetary commitment to upgrade the science and technology base. Although the Armenian government has set a reasonable target of devoting 3 percent of the total national budget to S&T, actual funding has been only about one-third of that level. This low level of support by the government has led to excessive dependence on foreign sources of funding for the nation’s S&T capacity. Insistence by foreign funders on cost sharing by the Armenian government should be considered as a means of encouraging it to fulfill its budget commitments.
Improving consensus within the country on S&T priorities, institutional responsibilities, and interactions with international partners is important in optimizing the use of resources. To this end, a series of well-structured national conferences, with international participants, on selected aspects of S&T policy should be considered. International experience can provide Armenia with a range of options as the country seeks the best road to making science and technology more potent development forces. Discussion of the issues by Armenians themselves can assist the international community in understanding how its members can most effectively participate in future activities in the country.
Armenia must move toward an integration of education and research, focusing on fewer research institutions than now exist and creating centers of excellence corresponding to areas of national priority. Over time, the results of research will increasingly be applied in the local economy, when the latter improves its capacity to absorb research and researchers. Alternatively, research results may be sold abroad as part of cooperative projects. From these relationships and from the increasing marketability of students trained in these activities should emerge a condition of sustainability, meaning economic viability, and a greater contribution to the Armenian economy.
The process of moving toward a knowledge-based economy is not simple and must be supported by committed political leaders with an appreciation both of what science and technology can contribute to economic and social development and of what they cannot.