SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN ARMENIA
TOWARD A KNOWLEDGE-BASED ECONOMY
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This publication was made possible through support provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development Mission to Armenia, under the terms of Award No. 111-A-00-03-00080-00. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the National Research Council Committee on Science and Technology in Armenia and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (NRC) COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN ARMENIA
John D. Baldeschwieler (chair)
J. Stanley Johnson Professor (emeritus)
California Institute of Technology
Robert P. Anex
Associate Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Iowa State University
Barry C. Barish
Linde Professor of Physics; Director,
Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory
California Institute of Technology
John R. Filson
U.S. Geological Survey
Norman P. Neureiter
Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy American Association for the Advancement of Science
Professor of Microbiology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Biographical information on the committee members may be found in Appendix O.
The committee greatly appreciates the assistance and hospitality of the organizations in Armenia that received its members. The National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia was particularly helpful in arranging visits to its institutions and facilitating visits to other organizations as well.
Ambassador John Ordway and the staffs of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Agency for International Development Mission in Yerevan also provided indispensable assistance to the committee in the form of information and contacts with Armenian organizations.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: G.J. Reza Abbaschian, University of Florida; Mihran Agbabian, University of Southern California; Vartan Gregorian, Carnegie Corporation of New York; Charles Hess, University of California, Davis; Irving Lerch, The American Physical Society; Gerard Libaridian, University of Michigan; Bill Long, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Retired); Edwin Przybylowicz, Eastman Kodak Company (Retired); and Joseph Silva, University of California, Davis.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Charles Tilly, Columbia University. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
In February 2004, the National Research Council (NRC) arranged for a six-person committee of American specialists in scientific research, engineering, science and technology (S&T) policy, higher education, and small-business development to travel to Armenia at the request of the U.S. Ambassador in Yerevan. The purpose of the visit was to carry out an analysis of the current status and future development potential of Armenia’s science and technology base that would be helpful to the Armenian government, the U.S. government, and other organizations that support economic and social development in the country, as well as the Armenian S&T community itself.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided financial support for the activity. USAID’s five-year strategy for addressing development challenges in Armenia is updated annually. The most recent strategy is set forth in the USAID Armenia Strategy for 2004-2008 (available on-line at http://www.usaid.gov/am/strategy.html), and a description of current USAID program activities is set forth in Appendix A. Although support for science and technology is not indicated in these documents, USAID has assured the NRC that it would seriously consider the recommendations in this report.
The Statement of Task for this project was as follows: “An NRC ad hoc committee will analyze the current status and future development potential of Armenia’s science and technology base, including human and infrastructural resources and research and educational capabilities. The committee will identify those fields and institutions offering promising opportunities for contributing to economic and social development, and particularly institutions having unique and important capabilities, worthy of support from international financial institu-
tions, private investment sources, and the Armenian and U.S. governments. The scope of the study will include both pure and applied research as well as education in science-related fields. The committee will prepare a report addressing the existing capacity of state and private research institutions, higher education capabilities and trends, scientific funding sources, innovative investment models, relevant success stories, factors hindering development of the science sector, potential domestic Armenian customers for scientific results and products, and opportunities for regional scientific collaboration.”
The committee divided into three subgroups and visited 47 Armenian organizations (see Appendix B for a complete list). While many other entities are involved in S&T activities in Armenia, the visits provided a sampling of the capabilities and activities of the nation’s leading organizations. The committee then prepared this report, supplementing their in-country findings with additional information gathered prior to and after the trip. Given the limited time in-country and the many other Armenian organizations involved in the topics of interest, this report is not intended to be comprehensive but rather to be indicative of impediments in developing a strong, self-sustaining S&T base in the country and of opportunities for cooperative activities. It emphasizes the contributions of S&T to economic development, which is an essential precursor to broad social development.
In accordance with the sponsor’s request, the committee gave special attention to the following themes:
Existing institutional capacity of research and development institutions, state research centers, small innovative firms, and medium-sized technology-oriented enterprises
Higher education capacity and trends
Funding sources for S&T
Innovative investments in industry, agriculture, and business
Success stories in S&T
Factors hindering development of the science and engineering sector
Customers in Armenia for products of science- and engineering-related investments
Opportunities for regional scientific collaboration
Also, the committee considered the following issues set forth by the sponsor in varying levels of detail depending on the availability of information.
Which sectors should be supported by private investors, large donors, small donors, and the limited budgetary resources of the Armenian government?
What are the expected payoffs from investments in these sectors?
What is the potential for job creation from investments in these sectors?
What is the customer base in Armenia and in export markets for scientific findings and for science-based products?
Does Armenia have unique scientific capabilities or existing infrastructures that are in short supply regionally or globally? Could these become scientifically significant and/or commercially useful?
Which areas of S&T are unprofitable for investments in terms of job creation or other economic impacts?
How can development assistance in S&T best be sustained so that Armenia can benefit?
In May 2004, the U.S. government established the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) as a new mechanism for supporting development in selected countries. Since Armenia was selected as one of the 16 countries eligible for participation in the programs of the MCC, this report may take on greater significance than originally anticipated.
JOHN D. BALDESCHWIELER
Chair, NRC Committee on Science and Technology in Armenia
GLENN E. SCHWEITZER
Director, NRC Office for Central Europe and Eurasia
List of Tables and Figures
Enrollment of Ph.D. Students by Discipline, 1998-2002,
Available Places in Master’s and Ph.D. Programs at All Institutions in the 2003-2004 Academic Year,
Financing of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, 2003,
Financing for Science Provided by the Armenian Government Budget, 2003,