Activities on establishing Microbial Biotechnology and Biofuel Innovation Centerin YSU are completed
In December 2015, the Department of Biology of Yerevan State University launched the implementation of "Microbial Biotechnology and Biofuel Innovation Center" Grant Program within the framework of Competitive Innovation Fund (CIF). Today the program’s activities are in the final stage.On this occasion, on December 21, the representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenian and the ''Center for Education Projects'' PIU accompanied by YSU Vice-rector on Scientific Policy and International Cooperation,GeghamGevorgyan, and by Grant Program Coordinator, Karen Trchunyan visited the "Microbial Biotechnology and Biofuel Innovation Center", toured in the laboratory and got acquainted with the activities of the center. The results defined at the beginning of the program, their manifestation at the level of the indicators formulated by the monitoring plan were discussed during the meeting.
As the director of the Center Karen Trchunyan presented, the necessary repairs were carried out in the specially separated area of the university as a result of the program, the center was equipped with the necessary furniture and equipment, with modern up-to-date equipment (noise compartment, ultraviolet radiator refrigerator, dual-band microscope, gas and fluid chromatographs, etc.), as well as with lifecycle management system. An appropriate educational content was also created to make the best use of the opportunities of the established center in the educational process.According to K. Trchunyan, the review of professional educational programs has been carried out.A number of visits have been made to European and American prestigious universities and centers for taking into account international best practices during the development and implementation of bacteriological Master’s programs, the last of which was a study tour to the University of Berkeley, Joint Bioenergy Institute and Sandia National Laboratories.Based on this experience, an updated Master’s Program has been developed in line with international standards.During program’s development, close cooperation was established between the participants of the CIF Grant Consortium: Yerevan Beer Factory, Chanakh LLC, Scientific and Technological Center for Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry of NAS RA.
Within the framework of the program, the newest microbiological equipment has been applied in Master's and PhD research activities.
According to YSU Vice-rector on Scientific Policy and International Cooperation GeghamGevorgyan, the center's mission is to build bridges between education, science and production based on the international experience and approaches of education organization and scientific research.The establishment of the center ensures the implementation of the main objective of the program, that is to improve educational, scientific and research and innovation ideas in microbiology and biotechnology, as well as to prepare competitive personnel in accordance with European standards in the fields of microbiology and biotechnology. Furthermore, it is no less important that "Microbial Biotechnology and Biofuel Innovation Center" will also allow to be engaged in entrepreneurial activity,the center's accreditation process can significantly contribute to this.
In the course of the visit, L. Sahakyan, the individual consultant, who has provided professional support to the ''Center for Education Projects'' PIU during the YSU Grant Program, discussed a number of issues related to exploitation, maintenance of the necessary laboratory equipment and to the use of chemicals with the project coordinator K. Trchunyan.
It should be noted that students, young scientists, lecturers, as well as pupils from different schools have already been acquainted with the work of the center.
From September of the current year, some of the courses provided by the Master's Program in Microbiology and Biotechnology have been implemented, which have been developed and implemented within the framework of the program.According to the program’s officers, the implementation of the Master's Program is underway, which willoperate from the next academic year.Talking about the opportunities of the center, K. Trchunyan mentioned, "We have quite serious prerequisites for active and productive cooperation.The University is already discussing possible cooperation programs with a number of local and foreign organizations." Reference to these cooperation programs is also available in the previous publications of the ''Center for Education Projects'' PIU.
The coordinator of the grant program also spoke about the cooperation with the consortium partners, stating that such cooperation contributes to the influx of qualified professionals into production.Particularly, the cooperation with consortium partners launched withthe use of industrial wastes, testing new technologies for the production of bio-hydrogen.
The representatives of the University have confirmed the growing interest in the Faculty of Biology both by local and foreign partners and beneficiaries. One of the ways to reinforce this interest and turn into specific programs is the initiation of learning opportunities.in a foreign language with the use of existing infrastructures and content in the established center. These steps can contribute to the continuity of the program, which becomes an important condition for the future effectiveness of the program with the existing infrastructure.