Noubar Afeyan conferred honorary doctorate degree of Yerevan State University

Noubar Afeyan conferred honorary doctorate degree of Yerevan State University

Noubar Afeyan, founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, co-founder of Moderna, co-founder of the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST) and co-founder of Aurora Humanitarian Initiative visited Microbial Biotechnologies and Biofuel Innovation Center at Yerevan State University (YSU). Accompanied by YSU rector Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, Afeyan toured the lab and got acquainted with the work of the biotechnology research team under the ADVANCE STEM Research Grant Program being carried out in collaboration with FAST and YSU. The research team implements its studies under the supervision of the world-famous and highly regarded microbiologist, director of the Institute of Technical Microbiology, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) professor Garabed Antranikian.

Noubar Afeyan tours the Microbial Biotechnologies and Biofuel Innovation Center at Yerevan State University (YSU)

“I was very pleased to see a very modern lab with all equipment and projects being done. This could have been in any other university, in any other country. I congratulate both the Yerevan State University and FAST Foundation, and also Garo Antranikian who has spared effort into it. I think we can do so much more because you need examples like this to be able to replicate and expand it. On the one hand, this program allows you to develop the ability to teach and learn these techniques and on the other hand, it allows you to explore questions that have not yet been asked. Science is a global network activity; it is not an individual activity. Like just an Internet, where you connect Armenia to the rest of the world, here you join the internet of labs by working on problems other people have done and advancing and sharing the knowledge,” said Afeyan.

FAST designed the ADVANCE STEM Research Grant Program in 2020 to lay the foundation for the development of scientific directions in STEM-related fields in Armenia. The ADVANCE grant connects distinguished international scientists with local researchers to work jointly on globally competitive research projects. One of the important components of the program is the cooperation with universities and the active involvement of prominent scientists in the teaching process to convey the leading experience to the young generation.

FAST’s inaugural fundraiser Advance Armenia Gala 2022 was held this spring in Los Angeles to attract additional resources for scaling the ADVANCE STEM Research grant program. The keynote speaker of the evening was Dr. Afeyan. So far, three ongoing projects in biotechnology, machine learning and neuroscience have engaged three PIs and funded more than 10 researchers.

The American-Armenian scholar, entrepreneur and philanthropist was conferred the honorary doctorate degree of the Yerevan State University at Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center (ISTC).

Noubar Afeyan conferred honorary doctorate degree of Yerevan State University

“I am sure that the state’s attention and care for science, the Armenian government’s decision to significantly increase the funding of the field, the creation of a favorable environment, and of course the bright characters of Armenian scientists like Mr. Afeyan will inspire our young people to be engaged in research activities and have their own path in this field,” said Hovhannisyan.

Afeyan expressed his gratitude for the honor. He encouraged students to always seek out the frontier and make themselves uncomfortable settling on new frontiers. He especially emphasized the importance of investing unlimited imagination in science and believing in their own success.

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