Tumo Center for Creative Technologies has launched the new educational project, the EU TUMO Convergence Center for Engineering and Applied Science.

Armenian Minister of Education and Science Arayik Harutyunyan, who attended the ceremony, noted that it is a start of a very important initiative that is expected to facilitate the entry of research and innovation into the higher education system.

“Foundation of this new Convergence Center for Engineering and Applied Science is a concrete step towards that goal. There were times when the state agreed a project and provided funding for laboratories and centers, but in the end they did not secure efficient activity. Given that the Convergence Center is created by Tumo, a place with proven experience and productivity in innovative learning, I am certain that this initiative will serve its purpose,” said Harutyunyan.

He highlighted that the European Union is awarding Armenia a grant in the scope of the EU4Innovation Initiative. The grant has two key components: one is foundation of the Convergence Center for Engineering and Applied Science at Tumo and the other is establishment of education standards and subject curricula for the 1st to 12th grades along with writing and testing of textbooks and retraining of teachers.

“This is an important phase of a very significant process currently taking place in public education, which will be implemented in the next two to three months,” added Arayik Harutyunyan.

European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas spoke via a video message on the occasion of the launch of the initiative. Other opening speeches were made by Ambassador Piotr Switalski, Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, and Lawrence Meredith, European Commission Director for Neighbourhood East (DG NEAR).

Head of Tumo Development Department Bekor Papazian’s presentation of the project was followed by the signing of the agreement on cooperation.

Afterwards, the laying of the foundation stone of the new center took place with Armenian Education and Science Minister and the EU official in attendance. The center will cover a space of around 15,000 square meters next to Tumo and include the infrastructure for IT education such as Tumo and STEM research labs, as well as a conference hall and a commercial space, which will secure long-term financial stability of the center.

Tumo labs are supposed to become the logical continuation of Tumo program by enabling university students and young specialists aged 18 and older to acquire practical STEM-related skills.

The center will serve as a research, education and startup platform uniting local and foreign colleagues and bridging the gap between higher education and industry in Armenia.

New department of Informatics and Applied Mathematics, which opened in the French University in Armenia, will become a part of the new center.

The European Union has allocated a grant of EUR 23 million as assistance to educational reforms in Armenia, EUR 10.5m out of which is for increasing the quality of STEM education and EUR 12.5m is for the construction of EU TUMO Convergence Center for Engineering and Applied Science.

The total cost of this project is EUR 25 million, which will be co-funded by the European Union and Tumo Center.