On February 5, 25 teams of Armenian scientists gathered in the Yerevan office of the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) to receive funding that will allow them to carry on their cutting-edge research projects.
This is the ninth year that FAR’s Armenian National Science and Education Fund (ANSEF) has provided aid to Armenia’s best and brightest minds, and it awarded 25 gran’s. This year, as in previous years, most of the gran’s are going to teams of scientists engaged in physics research, with 12 gran’s. Additional gran’s are funding four research teams in biology, two teams each in chemistry and astronomy, and additional teams with projects in mechanics, radio physics, zoology, ecology, and art.
Since its founding nine years ago in an effort to stop the brain drain affecting the newly independent Republic of Armenia, 208 teams of researchers (made up of 900 individual scientists and academics) have received support from ANSEF. The financial aid has toped $1 million over the years.
This year’s ANSEF gran’s were underwritten by a generous $100,000 donation from Armen Avanessians, a trained engineer who since 1994 has been a partner at Goldman Sachs. This year’s donation, the first half of a $200,000 pledge made by Mr. Avanessians to support ANSEF, allowed the program to fully-fund 25 worthy projects.
Founded by a group of Armenian-American academics and scientists, led by astrophysicist Dr. Yervant Terzian, ANSEF provides gran’s of up to $5,000 to research teams chosen in a highly competitive, blind, peer-reviewed process. This simple requirement fundamentally changed the way the Armenian researchers sought funding, scrapping the communist-era focus on connections and stressing competence and relevancy.
The research teams include not just senior researchers but also young scientists who are the next generation of Armenian thinkers. The ANSEF gran’s forward their research but also keep the participants from leaving Armenia in search of funding, allowing them to offer guidence and direction to those younger researchers.
Each year, due to funding limitations, FAR is only able to provide gran’s to a few dozen of the hundreds of project proposals. That is why the support of Mr. Avanessians is so vital to the project.
"ANSEF is really a project of passion and devotion," said Dr. Yervant Terzian. "All of ANSEF’s supporters — those supporting the project and those working on the project to ensure the awards go to the most worthy researchers – are involved because they are passionate about science and research. Everybody is convinced that the creative intellectual capital of Armenia is the nation’s most valuable resource."
Further information on ANSEF, including a complete list of this year’s recipients can be found on the ANSEF website: www.ansef.org.
Since its founding in response to the 1988 earthquake, FAR has served hundreds of thousands of people through more than 220 relief and development programs in Armenia and Karabagh. It has channeled more than $265 million in humanitarian assistance by implementing a wide range of projects including emergency relief, construction, education, medical aid, and economic development.
For more information on FAR or to send donations, contact us at 630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016; telephone (212) 889-5150; fax (212) 889-4849; http://www.farusa.org; e-mail [email protected]