Time in Yerevan: 11:07,   5 March 2024

AI from school and the significance of science commercialization. FAST representatives at Digitec23 panel discussions

AI from school and the significance of science commercialization. FAST representatives at 
Digitec23 panel discussions

YEREVAN, 16 OCTOBER, ARMENPRESS. The impact of artificial intelligence on higher education was one of the key issues discussed at the Digitec23 business expo-forum, which started on October 13 in Yerevan. Leading Armenian technological companies, startups, business and scientific and technological organizations presented their educational, scientific and commercialization programs in the field of high technologies.

Suzanna Shamakhyan, Vice President of Strategic Programming at the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST) addressed the development of the AI industry in Armenia, the challenges of a scarcity of researchers in the field, and the idea of creating the "Generation AI" program during the panel discussion titled “The Impact of AI on Higher Education.”

Photo 4.JPG (369 KB)“We have implemented various incubator and scientific programs and have consistently encountered the challenge of finding even junior researchers in the AI field. As we delved deeper into the root of the problem, we realized that starting at the school level was essential. Consequently, we decided to initiate the “Generation AI” program. It was a challenging endeavor that took more than 2.5 years of preparation. We were pleased to receive more school applications for the open competition than anticipated: 47 schools expressed their eagerness to engage in this significant initiative," as Armenpress informs, Suzanna Shamakhyan remarked.

Suzanna Shamakyan emphasized that 400 10th-grade students are currently enrolled in the program. When asked about the program's first graduates, she stated, “It’s a 3-year program, and we will witness the first graduates in 3 years. The primary objective is to teach mathematics and then the Python programming language. Depending on the progress students demonstrate, they will have the opportunity to either continue studying the basic AI program or pursue a more advanced path and engage in projects.”

Photo 2.JPG (413 KB)The program is currently at school level, and during this period, close collaboration with higher educational institutions will persist to ensure that children regularly learn about research methodologies, their execution, and the opportunities they present. In essence, the “Generation AI” program has a substantial component of professional orientation. If we aspire, as a country, to be competitive in this field, we must cultivate suitable human resources to ensure that competitiveness. Unlike other large countries, which can recruit talent from various parts of the world, we cannot afford it. We must discover and harness our potential from within," added Shamakhyan to the discussion.

Arman Darbinyan, Head of the Department of Mathematical and Mathematical Modeling at RAU; Kristina Sargsyan, Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at UFAR; Tigran Sargsyan, Director of Engineering, ML at Krisp; and Rem Darbinyan, Founder & CEO of ViralMango, also participated in the “The Impact of AI on Higher Education” panel discussion. The moderator was Hrant Khachatryan, Director of YerevanN.

 Ruben Osipyan, Entrepreneurial Programs Lead at FAST, highlighted during the panel discussion on "Innovation as a Vital Component of Technological Education," that the first project in the science commercialization sphere was ASCENT, influenced by the experience of Flagship Pioneering, whose founder and CEO, Noubar Afeyan, is one of FAST’s co-founders.

In general, entrepreneurial activity in Armenia holds significant potential for development. Various methods can facilitate this growth, with a systematic approach being paramount. Often, scientists are not able to convincingly present their inventions as innovations with a competitive edge. They must navigate this path effectively to sell their ideas to investors. Unfortunately, some scientists view entrepreneurship as incompatible with a scientific career, while development is impossible without the commercialization of science,” Osipyan added.

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The panelists explored the interconnections between innovation and science, innovation and education, and the unique aspects of applying innovations in higher and postgraduate education.

Arevik Khnkoyan, Head of Unit for Science Field Data Collection and Analysis at HESC, moderated the panel discussion. The speakers included Naira Sahakyan, Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Faculty of Oriental Studies in YSU; Nejdeh Hovanessian, Assistant Director of EPIC; Hayk Margarian, CEO at NCIE; Gevorg Poghosyan, Chief Executive Officer of Impact Hub Yerevan; and Atom Mkhitaryan, Dean at ISEC, NAS.

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At Digitec23, FAST has established its booth, exhibiting its activities and programs, notably the "Generation AI" high school pilot program, providing detailed insights into the initiative and answering the questions of visitors to the booth.

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