Discovering the Future
An academic course aimed at providing basic knowledge and practical skills to Armenian Masters and Ph.D. students on Research Design and Science Commercialization.
General Information
About the program

In November 2020, FAST designed the SciNova Program aimed at creating a curriculum on "Research Design” and “Science Commercialization''. The curriculum introduces Masters and/or Ph.D. students in Armenia to the basics of conducting quality research and creating commercial value from scientific inventions.

In the first half of 2021, the curriculum was developed by FAST and piloted at the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU). In addition, training of trainers (ToTs) for a broader audience of academic staff was organized with the participation of key Armenian higher education institutions (HEIs) that provide STEM education.

The scale-up of the program anticipates integration of the developed curriculum into the academic programs of the main Armenian HEIs starting from the 2022-23 academic year and beyond.

For this purpose, Training of Trainers will be made available to the academic staff from all institutions, as well as a bilingual manual will be developed and provided for free to ensure the smooth integration of the program.

This program is implemented jointly with Aston University within the Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Programme framework funded by the British Council.

Why develop such a course?

In general, R&D outputs are a key sign of innovation performance? However, their real-world benefits and values are negated without commercialization. The commercialization of Armenian scientific outputs is currently at a nascent stage. Thus, further work and investment are needed to augment education around the commercialization of science, along with boosting the technology transfer process.

Some essential lessons have been learned from FAST’s previous and ongoing programs, such as the FellowshipADVANCE STEM Research grant program, as well as entrepreneurial initiatives. The conclusions have highlighted the number of important challenges for ecosystem players that could be overcome through the provision of a curriculum on how to conduct quality scientific research and how the commercialization of scientific outputs takes place.

Such a curriculum is crucial for two main reasons:

  • to ensure that Masters and Ph.D. students in Armenia are equipped with basic knowledge on how a research is conducted,
  • to nurture competencies among the students to translate research outcomes to innovation outputs,
  • to recast the image of science among Armenian youth from something abstract and academic to something of practical relevance and tangible benefits.
Phase 1. Curriculum Development. Piloting. Training of Trainers

The curriculum for “Research Design” and “Science Commercialization” courses have been developed in cooperation with subject matter experts and ongoing consultancy and validation from Aston University.

A successful partnership was established with the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) to pilot the course for 25 Master's students during the Spring semester of the 2020-2021 academic year. The pilot had a long-term goal to officially integrate the course into the university's academic curriculum starting from the 2021-2022 academic year.

In order to support academic staff in successfully delivering the curriculum, a training of trainers has been conducted for 39 academic staff from Armenian National Agrarian University, Yerevan State University of Economics, Yerevan State University, Yerevan State Medical University, and International Scientific - Educational Center of NAS RA.

The Program Impact

As the result of Phase 1 of the program, the Armenian National Agrarian University has fully integrated the course into its Master programs. Additionally, the International Scientific-Educational Center of NAS RA has integrated the course in two Master programs and the Yerevan State Medical University has integrated some modules of the course into existing courses.

Phase 2. Manual Development. Scale-up. Training of Trainers.

To ensure continuity of the program and effective integration of the courses into STEM-focused academic programs of the Armenian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), a bilingual (English and Armenian) course manual on "Research Design” and “Science Commercialization'' is planned to be developed in the first half of 2022. The manual will include practical assignments and activities and will be developed for University instructors to deliver the course to Master and/or Ph.D. students. The manual would be tailored to the needs and profile of the local target audience and localized as much as necessary to ensure the program outcomes.

Additionally, the training for trainers program will be scaled up and involve a bigger cohort of academic staff from all HEIs providing STEM education.

A broad list of institutional stakeholders will get involved within the program, which will serve as a platform for future partnership with UK institutions, including the program’s main partner, Aston University.

Anastasiya Tyurina
Founder and CEO, Digital Spring Agency
Anahit Hovhannisyan
Researcher, RA NAS Institute of Molecular Biology (former NextGen Council Member)
Astghik Hakobyan
Researcher, RA NAS Institute of Molecular Biology
Smbat Gevorgyan
Senior Researcher, FAST
Sarkis Knyazyan
Managing Partner of Knyazyan & Partners
Shoghig Keoshkerian
Trainer of Trainers, Designer of Professional Educational Modules
Vardan Gevorgyan
Head of Innovation Division at National Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, RA Ministry of Economy
David Hayrapetyan (Guest Lecture)
Head of the Department of General Physics, Quantum Nanostructures, Institute of Engineering Physics, RAU
Geoff Parkes (Guest Lecturer)
Senior Teaching Fellow and Associate Dean of the School of Business, Aston University
Hovakim Zakaryan (Guest Lecturer)
Co-Founder, Denovo Sciences
Larisa Avetisyan (Guest Lecturer)
Grants Coordinator, FAST