Armine Abramyan: 'To develop science in Armenia, it has to serve the industry'

07-03-2019

Armine Abramyan, an agronomist, environmental specialist, and doctor of biological sciences, who heads the recently created International Research Program Coordinating Unit at the Armenian National Agrarian University, is trying to increase the capacity of the university's research centres while developing innovative areas in agri-food ecosystems based on international scientific projects.

“To develop science in Armenia it is essential to establish close linkage with the economy and to serve the industry”, says Armine Abrahamyan.

A graduate of Armenian National Agrarian University, Armine continued her studies abroad. She worked as a researcher in the research centres in Latvia, France and Spain, where she coordinated various projects, also in the innovative fields. Armine is one of the few young specialists who decided to return to Armenia and serve Armenian science with their knowledge.

2017 was a special year for Armine. Having participated in the  Horizon 2020, the major EU programme aimed at supporting research and innovation,  she had the chance to implement new ideas.

To present H2020 successful projects it is important to look for the possibilities of establishing relevant partnership with EU countries. 

"By applying for EaP PLUS (Eastern Partnership +) grant, I received an opportunity to participate in a business-to-business (B2B) meetings, present there Horizon 2020 project proposals and find partners for their implementation," said Armine.

"So, I participated in the international Plant Intercluster Meeting in Lleida, Spain in 2017. This is the most important event in the plant production industry organized annually in Europe. The forum aims to share and foster the knowledge in the plant science and agriculture within the B2B meetings organized by the representatives not only from the EU different research centers and universities as well as with the business sectors, which is very important.” – says Armine.

In Spain, Armine presented Armenian National Agrarian University and the potential project proposals, that she intends to realize within the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme. "I would like to note with joy that, thanks to the presentation and some meetings I had there, I managed to find over ten partners from Denmark, Spain, France, Sweden, Germany and Italy," she said.

Within the framework of the partnership created with the Spanish Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), Armine presented a project on innovative cropping system for the five traditional plants.

Armine said that the Horizon 2020 projects should contain unique research and innovative elements. "The specific purpose of my project is to create new agri-ecosystem services, which can promote the effective and sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity," she said. Armine added that agriculture should be viewed creatively; the efficiency of farms should be increased by introducing a natural combination, applying the circular economy and creating new value chains.

According to Armine, the participation in the Eastern Partnership + project and the Horizon 2020 programme brought her great success. "I was invited to participate in trainings by the German Academy of Innovation Management and, after successfully passing the exams in May 2018, I received a qualification as an international expert in the area of innovative projects in agri-food ecosystems. I am honoured to be in charge of the new unit at the Agrarian University and I intend to use all my knowledge and experience acquired abroad for the development of our university," said Armine.

Despite the fact that the new department has been open for only three months, we have already applied with a new project in Horizon 2020. A few more projects are still in the developing phase. Armine expressed the hope that thanks to the future successful proposals it would be possible to increase the capacities of university's researchers, and enhance the institutional framework as welll as to strengthen the link between science, education and business. In addition, they will help to introduce European best practice in Armenia.

"Our science is isolated not only from the outside world but from the business world as well. The majority of Armenian specialists work in isolation. For instance, European agriculture has undergone digitalisation in the last 20 years, and various projects have been implemented in this regard within the framework of Horizon 2020. Most of our specialists are not aware of this progress and these gaps should be filled," said Armine.

Armine pointed out the importance of implementing such projects, which can contribute to the introduction of new research methods, development and improvement of the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) toolkit.

Author: Roza Hovhannisyan

Article published in Armenian, Russian and English by Lragir.am