FAST (The Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology) announced the formation of the Advisory Board and the appointment of the Chief Executive Director.
Impact investor and social entepreneur, co-founder of the IDeA Foundation Ruben Vardanyan made his first statement on the intention to create the FAST Foundation in July 2016, noting that the Foundation would focus on “the development of environment for technological innovations in Armenia and mobilization of scientific, technological and financial resources of the Armenian and international community”.
Ruben Vardanyan and Noubar Afeyan on behalf of the IDeA Foundation, Fr. Mesrop Aramyan on behalf of the Ayb and Luys Foundations, the high tech and innovations entrepreneur Artur Alaverdyan became the co-founders of the FAST Foundation. Board of Trustees of five people was established, including the co-founders; Artur Alaverdyan was appointed Chairman of the Board.
At the present moment the following persons have agreed to become members of the FAST Advisory Board:
Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., Flagship Pioneering, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, MIT, Senior Lecturer 2000-2016, current Corporation Board member (USA),
Naira Hovakimyan, Ph.D., W. Grafton and Lillian B. Wilkins Professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering (USA),
David Yang, Ph.D., ABBYY, Founder and Director of the Board (USA/Russia)
Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham OM KBE PC FRS, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Director (UK)
Serge Tchuruk, Alcatel, former CEO and Total S.A., Chairman, former CEO (France)
Garaped Antranikyan, Hamburg University of Technology, President (Germany),
Mikhail Pogosyan, Moscow Aviation Institute, Rector (Russia)
Yuri Oganessian, Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Scientific Director (Russia),
André Andonian, McKinsey and Company, Managing Partner (Japan),
Armen Gevorgyan, Staff of Presidential Administration, Chief (Armenia),
Hovhannes Avoyan, PicsArt, CEO and Founder (USA/Armenia),
Vardan Sahakian, PhD in Physics, State Committee for Science, Deputy Head, the scientist with the highest scientometric indices (h-index) in Armenia (Armenia).
Other members might join the Board in future.
As the Head of the Advisory Board Noubar Afeyan stated “The future of Armenia will depend greatly on its capacity to innovate and to provide competitive products and services within the global markets. The Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology is a timely catalyst in making this potential a near-term reality”.
“In my opinion the main mission of the FAST Foundation is that it will consolidate the intellectual power in Armenia and abroad, focusing it on solving the actual tasks which determine the scientific and technological progress of the country,” Yuri Oganessian mentioned.
“Back in Soviet times Armenia held absolute leadership in scientific and technological innovations of the big country. In 1956 the USSR government launched the Yerevan Computer Research and Development Institute after Mergelyan, and since then we were well known for leading IT and software developments in USSR. The collapse of former Soviet Union, the major earthquake, the long-lasting economic and energy crisis destroyed the economy of the country leading to mass immigration. I am hopeful that FAST will give the opportunity to re-establish ourselves again as leaders in a number of major industries, in education and academic fronts as well, and this time we will come across as leaders on a global scale outside the borders of former Soviet Union,” Naira Hovakimyan commented.
“This is an immensely exciting time for Armenia with the launch of The FAST Foundation. As a society we are facing increasing challenges in every industry and through the development of a platform for bringing about the technological revolution in Armenia, we can remain at the forefront of the development of innovative technologies,” Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham said.
The businessman, architect of innovative ecosystems Armen Orujyan was appointed Chief Executive Director of FAST. Athgo, a non-profit organization created by him in 1999 in Los Angeles, is one of the leading business platforms in the world and has the status of consultant of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Under his leadership, Athgo promoted the development of innovative ecosystems in Europe and Africa, nearly 10,000 young innovators, entrepreneurs and students from 80 counties of the world obtained the support for implementation of their projects and initiatives, including a financial one.
“The world is experiencing an exciting and unprecedented technological transformation. Exponential advances are taking place in all verticals empowering people and economies. FAST propelled by its Founders’ vision, historical scientific accomplishments of Armenia and Armenians around the world, and access to global resources can thrust Armenia into becoming one of the leading if not the leading scientific and open innovation hubs. I envision a world where Armenia is a trendsetter of disruptive and cutting edge innovation in the region and beyond. I find it inspiring and a privilege to be involved with the Founders and all other stakeholders in helming this initiative forward,” Armen Orujyan stated.
During the 9 months from the first announcement of FAST, its co-founders have conducted a series of efficient discussions in different cities in the world with the participation of scientists, investors and entrepreneurs. The team in Yerevan has created a database of almost 5,000 scientists and engineers from Armenia and the Diaspora. More than 120 people from that database contributed to the discussions of the FAST initiative. A significant contribution into this preparatory work was made by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), American University of Armenia, Synopsis, NSF, National Instruments and more than a hundred people who made important and valuable suggestions.
“Our main goal is to unite the state and the private sector, the general public and the elite, the citizens of Armenia, the diaspora and our partners in other countries, the donors and the international organizations, – in order to turn Armenia into one of the leading R&D hubs of the world together,” Ruben Vardanyan stated.
“We want to accelerate the creation of an innovate ecosystem in Armenia for science-intensive startups, to promote the commercialization of science by using the potential of the local and global scientific, engineering and entrepreneurial community. The main task of FAST is to build a road with a two-way traffic between Armenian science and the global business,” Artur Alaverdyan said.
FAST intends to become a platform for bringing the technological breakthrough in Armenia in the areas of IT and computer science, artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, advanced engineering and manufacturing technologies. The Foundation will be based on 4 pillars: education, research, start-ups and production. Expert council will be formed for every direction.
FAST is planned to pursue three main goals: to serve as a catalyst for technological development, concentrate the efforts and last, but not least, to coordinate the progress in the field. At the same time, FAST will operate according to the principle of an open platform that is ready for the development of partnership relations with private, state, public and scientific organizations in Armenia and in foreign countries. Organizationally FAST will operate as a FOF, without pursuing a commercial objective by itself. The initiative will create commercial venture funds and other business structures.
The scope of the initial financing for the development of the Foundation will be up to USD 15 million. The co-founders will launch a global fundraising campaign to attract up to USD 250 million within five years.