EU grants EUR 12.5 million to establish Center for Engineering and Applied Science in Armenia

Today, the European Union in partnership with Tumo Center for Creative Technologies launched the EU TUMO Convergence Center for Engineering and Applied Science, a state-of-the-art STEM ecosystem for young adults in Armenia.

Commenting on the event, Carlos Moedas, Member of the European Commission in charge of Research, Science and Innovation, said It is vital for the economy of the future that the young people of today have access to the best science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Our young people need to be encouraged to make the best use of their talents and ideas.  We know this – in theory. EU TUMO Convergence Center makes this happen.

Member of the European Commission in charge of Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas.

Chief Development Officer at TUMO, Pegor Papazian, delivered a presentation about the project to stakeholders and media in attendance: “We are thrilled to be creating a world-class STEM ecosystem in Armenia where the next generation of high tech professionals can learn and innovate,” said Pegor Papazian, chief development officer at TUMO. “With support from the European Union, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Armenia, and other partners both local and international, we will bridge a gap between higher education and the rapidly changing needs of the global economy.”

Close to 15,000 square meters of building space will be constructed in Yerevan. The campus will include infrastructure for educational programming such as TUMO Labs, a STEM research laboratory, a conference center, and revenue generating commercial space to ensure the center’s long-term financial sustainability. TUMO Labs will constitute a logical continuation of the TUMO programme, allowing university students and young professionals to gain applied and state-of-the-art skills related to STEM once they reach the age of 18.

The center will be a hub for research, education and startups, bringing together local and international partners to bridge the gap between higher education and industry in Armenia. The French University of Armenia is a major partner of the project. The UFAR’s new Faculty for Informatics and Applied Mathematics will be part of the Convergence Center.           

Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Piotr Antoni Świtalski, EU Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia and Arayik Harutyunyan, Minister of Education of the Republic of Armenia were the keynote speakers at the launch ceremony.

The event included a ceremonial signature and groundbreaking in the presence of the officials, students, young professionals and media.

“EU TUMO Convergence Center for Engineering and Applied Science” project

This new project will establish a center for provision of cutting-edge education to STEM students and young professionals in order to prepare them for the labour market, as well as offer a platform for existing initiatives (incubators, accelerators, universities and industry) in order to build linkages and allow for synergies between all stakeholders.

The educational approach applied in this project emphasises practical skill-based education that can complement the theoretical and academic education provided by the local university system. It is based on a combination of two concepts: (1) Project-based learning and (2) Just-in-time learning.

Project based learning consists of involving university students and young professionals in leading edge, real life technology projects with a tangible, industry relevant outcome, as the most effective way of imparting skills and knowhow, with sponsorship from a private company. Just-in-time learning is the idea of preparing students for participation in the above-mentioned projects with highly targeted coursework customized for the purposes of the project.

The project aims to  strengthen the link between the academia and the IT/engineering industry,  accelerate the transformation of Armenian higher education system, while providing shared research facilities and project-based instruction open to all Armenian STEM students. To further strengthen the link between research and industry, the center will offer incubator facilities to start-ups and small technology companies.