YEREVAN, February 1. /ARKA/. Nearly half of Armenian scientists and researchers are above 65 and this is why the Science Committee plans to attract younger ethnic Armenian scientists from other countries, the head of the Committee Sarkis Hayotsyan said on Monday during a parliamentary discussion on how science can be used to improve the country’s security and ensure its development.
According to Hayotsyan, the 2021 government budget has earmarked 13 billion drams (about 25 million US dollars) to finance science. Of that amount 64.4% are the salaries to be paid to personnel, 21.2% are for funding thematic research, 1% is for financing targeted government programs and the rest for servicing international treaties.
Hayotsyan said that 71 scientific organizations are financed by the government, of which 35 are affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences, 21 are affiliated with the Ministry of Education and Science, including 12 universities. Their total staff is about 4,000 people and 63.5% have a scientific degree.
According to Hayotsyan, Armenian scientists cooperate with 134 countries and large international research centers.
‘It is necessary to stimulate international research and development to make Armenia recognizable,” Hayotsyan said.
He noted that Armenia has highly-rated professionals in its vast Diaspora, and the Committee plans to involve them a in various programs, mainly as consultants.
For this, according to him, appropriate funding is needed, since the existing one does not allow implementing more ambitious programs.
According to Hayotsyan, part of researchers who are over 65 make a risk group in terms of coronavirus and the death rate and therefore, it is necessary to attract competent young scientists to preserve traditions and develop opportunities.
He noted that in order to solve this problem, the budget for science was increased and 2 programs were implemented, designed to help scientific groups with young leaders. As a result, 25 groups were formed, which receive high funding, but the issue requires a systematic, fundamental solution and salary increases.
‘It is necessary to enlarge scientific institutions, which will increase the attractiveness both in terms of scale and potential, including for young people,” Hayotsyan said.