National Academy of Sciences Opens Annual General Meeting

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The discussions held at the annual general meeting of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences on March 29 were focused on the issue of the survival of Armenian science.

On the first day a meeting of the Department of Physical–Mathematical and Technical Sciences presided over by ANAS Vice President Yuri Shukurian and a meeting of the Department of Natural Sciences presided over by ANAS Vice-President Emil Gabrielian were held.

Summary reports were made by chairmen of the Research Councils. The discussion was focused on science management problems.

ANAS President Fadey Sargssian stated his readiness to accept reproaches addressed to him concerning all the negative aspects of ANAS–but he rejects the unfounded criticism leveled at honorable academicians by some scientists in the Armenian press. He stressed that ANAS is working in dire conditions not limited to financial restraints. "We are actually engaged in begging. Research workers’ salary is four times as less as that of other tax-paid workers," Sargssian said.

One of the most serious problems is that of the expert examination of scientific projects. Sargssian stated that the currently applied method of conducting expert examination has resulted in scientific projects being scattered–and responsibility resting with individual project managers–but not with the institutes which are the most important link in science.

"If we resort to restructuring of the Academy–we must shake up the country–stating that scientific institutes have nothing in common with industry. Let the scientific research conducted in the industrial sphere be conducted at the Academy–and those conducted by the Academy and directly applied in industry be conducted in the industrial sphere," ANAS president said.

ANAS Academician Emil Gabrielian said that financial issues can be partially settled by selling research projects–in particular–those in chemistry. It is rather a matter of proper marketing. "We often fail to use our great potential," he said.

The problem of financing scientific topics was raised by ANAS executives who did not make official speeches–but expressed their opinion to mass media representatives. "Take a look at what is going on: institutes are going to pieces because nobody is inventorying science and research potential. We must have a clear idea of what we should and should not do," a doctor of biology said.

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