The Annual Science & Technology Convergence Conference - STCC) has been launched in Yerevan
The Conference aims at setting a discussion platform between science, industry, technology companies, government, and investors.
STCC is organized within the framework of the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia” (ITTD) project, which is co-funded by the EU and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by German Development Cooperation (GIZ).
"Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the war, we had to cancel the conference both in 2020 and 2021," said Ashot Arzumanyan, Cofounder of one of the conference organizers Catalyst, the partner of SmartGateVC, at the opening ceremony of the Conference.
“Today we stand in a time replete of challenges, and despite that Armenia today more than ever, makes part of the world, the danger of a military conflict sits in the air. Over the past few days, we were the question of holding the conference and arrived to the conclusion that it should take place because hardships inspire us to double the efforts,” mentioned Ashot Arzumanyan.
He thanked the European Union and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), noting that these institutions have consistently extended support to the Armenian ecosystem, which is crucial for making Armenia more advanced and stronger than ever.
Wilhelm Hugo, the Head of the EU4Business ITTD project, highlighted such meetings and the establishment of an enabling network through them:
“It is a pleasure to have an opportunity to come together, interact and discuss issues face to face. We are looking forward to the upcoming days saturated with scientific debates and practical solutions.”
The Head of the European Union Delegation Andrea Wiktorin attended the opening of the Conference and mentioned that recently Armenia has been commemorating the war of 2020 and up till now the country is going through hard times. According to her, there is only one way out of the current situation, which is to utilize all capacities and capabilities at hand.
“To share my personal observations, let me say that I notice a lot of fears and concerns in the country which I fully understand. Nevertheless, I am convinced that there is only one way out of this situation - to build a shared future using all available and accessible capacities and opportunities. I am happy to see this conference dedicated to convergence of science and technology is taking place. By supporting it, we want to unite people, to promote innovation and sustainable economic development. It is self-evident that one of Armenia's crucial resources is the technological solutions,” said the EU Ambassador.
In her words, one of the most important preconditions for the development of a sustainable economy is to engage regions in a variety of programs.
“Armenia encompasses diverse corners, and for that reason the European Union, along with all its partners, is heading towards the South of the country, Syunik, to once again adamantly emphasize our commitment to supporting the regions as well," stated Andrea Wiktorin.
“In the hallway, I see a poster saying: "Capable, unstoppable, unbreakable". This is what I wish for Armenia,” summed up the EU Ambassador.
This poster also caught the attention of Gevorg Mantashyan, the First Deputy Minister of High Tech Industry, who was attending the event.
"The Conference is held in a very hard period for us, however the organizers of the event decided not to halt, not to change the date and go ahead with everything as planned. This is exactly what is written on the poster: "Unstoppable, unbreakable". When found amid difficulties, it is crucial not to surrender. We have to thus scale up our national competitiveness,” emphasized the First Deputy Minister.
The newly-appointed Chargé d'Affaires of the German Embassy in Armenia Erik Tintrup began his speech with the words of encouragement:
“In these difficult times for Armenia I want to tell you - we are with you.”
He mentioned that he had been to Armenia only for 4 weeks and 6 hours, but can already share the positive impressions he received:
"It was my first week in Armenia. One Sunday I was walking in the downtown of Yerevan and suddenly noticed a few tents in the square adjacent to the Opera House. There were people sitting there, another group of people were standing and telling something to the attendees. The picture was very much reminded of a lecture. As the speeches were in Armenian, I did not understand anything, but judging by certain words I understood that they were talking about astronomy, solar energy, artificial intelligence, and so on. Now we all know that this was part of the Starmus festival, but then I thought to myself: “This is just amazing, Armenian people stand and listen to scientific lectures at the City Square."
He noticed that in Armenia science and technology play a crucial role for Armenian youth.
“Your country has so many young bright people, you have very well-trained academicians. The key to achieving success is the connection that has to be established between and among scientists, investors, businesses, Government, and international partners. This is what the Conference is about to do today”.
Madeleine Rauschenberger, Country Director of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) Office in Armenia, said that she was highly impressed by the heritage that Armenians have in the field of science and innovation.
“For example, Hovhannes Adamian, who was one of the founders of color television. It may take several days to name the entire list of inventions and innovations made by Armenians. I am very much hopeful that this list will be ever-going, which will be further empowered by conferences such as this. By supporting the implementation of the STCC, we hope to bring the right people together.”
Professor Artur Ishkhanyan, Academician-Secretary of the RA National Academy of Sciences, said that in recent years, high value discussions about increasing the role of science were streaming, which also contributed to changing the Government’s attitude towards science and the scientists themselves. Subsequently, the State Committee of Science has launched several new projects.
"We live in times when humanity is facing a variety of global problems, such as the nuclear threat, climate change. One of the overarching goals of the Armenian Academy of Sciences is to advance science in our country while joining in the universal endeavors to confront these problems,” underscored Artur Ishkhanyan.
Davit Kartashyan, Advisor to the EU4Bussines ITTD Project, who is also one of the keynote speakers of the Conference, said that the previous conference hosted over 800 participants:
"This year we expect the number of participants to exceed 1000. Overall, this year the STCC Conference hosts well above 50 research projects with more than 80 speakers. This is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the connection between science and business. Without it, it is impossible to have a well-developed high-tech industry, and consequently, a powerful economy and a strong state."
Photos by Emin Aristakesyan