ABIONET - Newsletter 4 - May 2021

Meet the Armenian Universities: GSU

Gavar State University

Gavar State University is the only higher educational institution in the region and the only state higher educational institution founded in the third Armenian Republic. Gavar State University was founded on May 5, 1993. About two thousand students from different regions and the capital of the Republic of Armenia study at GSU. The University provides full-time and part-time education, organizes training and qualification improvement courses and expands its foreign cooperation framework. The University provides a three -level system education for Bachelor, Master and PhD Degrees. Gavar State University has four faculties of full-time education with the following departments therein: Faculty of Philology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Faculty of the Humanities, Faculty of Economics. The Part-time Education Department implements educational programmes in 12 specialties. The University faculties are located at three university buildings with all the necessary conditions, ensuring quality education and productive educational process. At Gavar State University the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is in action. Besides higher professional education, Gavar State University also implements Lifelong Learning programs, organizing training courses. Modern educational technologies are applied in the educational process. To organize the educational process productively, automatization and testing system of “Examination GSU’’, “E-Learning-GSU’’ (www.elearning.gsu.am.com) and “E-Library-GSU” (www.library.gsu.am) systems have been developed and successfully operated at the University. The University has a mobile version of GSU website – “GSU Mobile Android Application”. The University has a research library, reading hall, computer labs with internet access, as well as well-equipped laboratories. The History Museum after Varsham Avetyan with its archaeological, ethnographic, and patriotic departments was founded at GSU. The students’ self-government bodies – Students’ Council, Student Scientific Society as well as the Legal Clinic, Tourism Center, Smart Center, IT Technological Center, Clubs of Economists, Naturalists, a Debate Club, Drawing studio, play an important role in the University. Gavar State University is a dynamically developing higher education institution that prepares competitive professionals who meet time requirements. Internationalization is considered one of the most important aspects of development at the University. Within its wide international cooperation, Gavar State University was involved in 11 Tempus, 5 Erasmus Mundus, and 1 Black Sea Area Programmes. Today Gavar State University is involved in 14 Erasmus+ KA1 and in 5 Erasmus+ KA2 Projects. The University seeks to have participants in different international conferences and also hosts and holds international and national conferences and intends to increase the number of incoming international students and lecturers.

Gavar State University

Gavar State University Gavar State University
Gavar State University Gavar State University

Meet the EU Universities: UCP

Universidade Catolica Portuguesa

Universidade Católica Portuguesa – Centro Regional do Porto (UCP-CRP) / Escola Superior Biotecnologia - Portuguese Catholic University - Regional Centre of Porto / College of Biotechnology is a well-established University – located in Porto, in the North of Portugal. It is focused both on teaching and research and complementing its mission with a range of activities related to society with a focus on promoting Training and Partnerships, Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, Scientific and Innovation Services, offering a wide range of contract services, from product and service development to industrial projects.

UCP-CRP has 6 Faculties: Education and Psychology, Management and Economics, College of Biotechnology (ESB), Health Studies, Arts, Law and Theology. ESB is a College of the Catholic University of Portugal, founded in 1984. The college offers five undergraduate programmes, e.g. BioEngineering (Food Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Environmental Engineering), Nutrition Sciences and Microbiology, with over 800 students, and various MSc and PhD programs.

ESB harbours the Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF), a research unit that hosts over 200 researchers. CBQF has consistently achieved the rating of Excellent in international evaluations promoted by the National Research Agency. The main research lines of CBQF are focused on the “Well-being of the citizen” in the following areas: - Food and Nutrition, Environment and Resources, Biobased and Biomedical Products, and the Fermentation Technologies. In 2005, the Centre became a State Associate Laboratory.

UCP-ESB is active at national and international level, participating in Business Clusters (like the Portugal Foods. the Health Cluster Portugal, the Wine Cluster, etc..), in Networks for Education and LifeLong Learning (ISEKI, Inovar,…), in Research Networks (SAFE Consortium, ESN,..) and in a wide range of different research, education and innovation Projects (more than 15 per year), keeping Partnerships with the key actors of the Training, Entrepreneurship, Technology Transfer, and Innovation ecosystems in Portugal.

UCP-ESB recently accommodated in its campus in Porto, a research and development unit of Amyris, Inc (AMRS: NASDAD), integrating over 60 researchers, looking forward to enhance its capacities in terms of research internationalization and promoting commercialization of technologies in the area of Bioproducts.

Universidade Catolica Portuguesa

Universidade Catolica Portuguesa

Universidade Catolica Portuguesa

Universidade Catolica Portuguesa

ANAU: Food Safety Challenges in Food Chain workshop

Within the framework of the ABioNet Project, ANAU organized a training workshop under the title “Ensuring Food Safety throughout the Food Chain” in Armenia, 26 March - 5 April 2021, targeted at managing food safety and related issues. The training was held jointly by ANAU staff and ABioNet cooperation centres represented by Information Analytical Centre for Risk Assessment of Food Chain - member of Erasmus +KA2 MENVIPRO Project, a Centre for Agricultural Services, as well as “Arax Poultry Farm” industry representative.

It is noteworthy that apart from ANAU Masters, Post Graduate students and staff, stakeholders from ABioNet Armenian Partner Universities also joined the training-workshop online: Yerevan State University, Shirak State University and Gavar State University. During the training active discussions took place and main issues on food safety were debated. The topics included Sanitary Control in Applied Veterinary Medicine and Risk Assessment in Food Chain; Ensuring High Quality Meat Raw Materials in Slaughter Houses; Projects Targeted at Food Safety Improvement & their Efficiency in Poultry Industry; Food Additives Used in Meat Food Production; Food Chemical Risk Assessment; Meat & Meat Product Defects & Actions to Eliminate the Defects.

The training benefits of the workshop are that the industry representatives are actively involved in bridging the gaps between industry and education introducing the key issues in the job market and the risks for human health. The other advantage is the contribution, knowledge and experience sharing within MENVIPRO Erasmus+ Project members in the field of food safety in Armenia and cooperation with ABioNet. In fact, the training-workshop is not the only participation platform between ABioNet and MENVIPRO; it is critical that a number of ANAU Food Safety Master Students held their industrial internship at the CENS with MENVIPRO staff members. In addition, Dr. David Pipoyan supervises the theses of two of the piloting Food Safety Master Program ANAU students.

The Dean of ANAU Food Technology Department greeted all training participants, underscoring the important role of ABioNet for both the university and the country in general, as well as the close collaboration between Armenian and European universities, centres, and industries.

workshop

workshop

workshop

workshop

workshop

workshop

workshop

workshop

workshop

Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) : Supplementary Support for ABioNet Mobilities

Since October 2020, the Technical University of Dresden (TUD) has been offering a support programme for those students and staff from Armenian partner HEIs involved in mobilities as part of the ABioNet project.

This has been open to all staff and students concerned and/or interested. The main focus of the training provided has been on EU mobility application support, including writing of CVs - Europass- and motivational letters, interview practice, as well as enhancing presentational skills.

Since January 2021, the focus has been on language support training for English, with regular weekly meetings. A strong focus has been placed on oral communication skills practice, as well as text comprehension and exploitation, and grammar competence. The course culminated in a test of language competence achieved.

Support for German language skills has also been offered, open to all, but with a particular focus on those wishing to come to TUD and who lack knowledge of German.

Throughout, participation in these trainings has been on a voluntary basis and TUD would like to thank the participants for their time and energy.

The materials from this training programme will be compiled into an ESP Support Package to promote ABioNet dissemination, impact and sustainability.

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Online TUD mobilities support training for mobility applications, using Zoom communication facility.

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Online TUD language support training for English, using Zoom communication facility.

SUSh : The modern laboratory and professional auditorium, established within the framework of the ABioNet program, have launched their operation

Thanks to the ERASMUS+ ABioNet (Armenian Network of Excellence in Bio-Products Science and Technology program) a laboratory of microbiology and biotechnology was opened at the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of State University of Shirak with state-of-the-art equipment, which enables it to carry out laboratory works in “Food Microbiology”, “Food Biotechnology”, “Food Biochemistry” and a number of other subjects. Master's students of the “Biotechnology” department are already doing bacteriological research on food (milk, dairy products, meat, meat products, alcoholic beverages, wine, beer).

Within the framework of ERASMUS+ ABioNet program, the “Biotechnology” master's educational program has been launched at State University of Shirak for the academic year 2020-2021. Thanks to this program, the University has acquired not only modern laboratory equipment, but also computer equipment and has furnished a professional auditorium. The educational process of the subject of SPSS Statistics envisaged by the curriculum is carried out with new computers.

With the help of various computer programs, students will be able to analyze the results of their experiments and get graphic images.

SUSh has provided the professional auditorium with an internet connection, which will enable students to participate in online courses conducted by professors from Armenian and European partner universities within the ABioNet program.

For about 7 months SUSh lecturers and students involved in the ABioNet program have been participating in the training courses conducted by specialists from the Technical University of Dresden to submit a proposal for the startup program. During this period, the SUSh team compiled and discussed the proposal of startup programs of making Phytotea and Cosmetic masks with flax and made the corresponding logos, which will be presented during the competition on April 23 of this year.

The existence of the professional auditorium and the laboratory will enable the works envisaged for the production of Phytotea and Cosmetic masks with flax to be carried out at SUSh.

lab in action

lab in action

lab in action

lab in action

lab in action

lab in action

lab in action

New collaboration between Yerevan State University and Institute of Hydroponics Problems in Armenia established

Within the ERASMUS+ ABioNet- Armenian Network of Excellence in Bio-Products Science and Technology program, the newly updated Center of Excellence in Applied Biosciences is developing collaboration with Institute of Hydroponics Problems in Armenia. The collaboration will bring new opportunities forresearchers of both sides, students, as well as researchers and lecturers within the network in development of their ideas related to bioproducts research. Our new collaborators will be involved further in co supervising Master theses, organizing seminars, developing new joint projects etc.

images symbolizing the collaboration of the two institutions
images symbolizing the collaboration of the two institutions

Another important achievement for YSU is that 4 students from different Master Programmes upgraded within ABIONET Programs and YSU lecturers participated in the training and the start up projects development activities conducted by Technical University of Dresden.

  • Beautiful project ideas on CleanAir: Mould remediation and mould removal ( Lilit Galstyan)
  • Skincare based on rosehip oil (Diana Ghevondyan)
  • Bacteria based biodegradable detergents and cleanings ( Sona Nikolyan)
  • ML7: Portable biology labs for schools (Tigran Yesayan PhD student)
  • were developed, and presented on April 23 of 2021 in an online event.
Students were able to use laboratory resources for development and realization of their ideas, as well as during their education, and master research.

A major event : 9 AbioNET Startups Completed Trainings and Pitched Their Ideas on the Final Demo Day

TU Dresden takes first steps towards developing startups

One of the important outcomes of the AbioNET project was finalized in April 2021. The goal was to develop startups through the joint efforts of Armenian and EU partners. The colleagues of EU partner TU Dresden started the training of Armenian startups back in October 2019. TUD staff members travelled to Armenian for 1,5 weeks visiting all four Armenian universities and holding trainings related to founding science startups and principles of entrepreneurship and business. Besides trainings in 5 modules - Science to Start-up, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Business Management, Communication Skills for Professionals and Funding Application Management - startup bootcamps for Armenian teachers, students and PhDs were organized. During the bootcamps, Armenian students brainstormed on their business ideas, created business models canvas based on lean startup methodology and conducted interviews with people on the streets to prove potential interest for their business ideas and created pitches. The full program could be found here.

A major event

A major event

A major event

A major event

6 months startup ideas acceleration through online workshops by TU Dresden

Further trainings for AbioNET startups took place online due to the pandemic. From October 2020 to April 2021 TU Dresden held 28 online startup workshops, which were carried out every second week. Workshop participants were divided into two groups : One group had their trainings in English and another one in Russian. First, students started with brainstorming and conceptualizing their business ideas according to lean startup methodology, then they validated their ideas through customer surveys and interviews. Later, they started working on their brand. They came up with the names for their startups and created logos. Also, some students did their first steps into developing online visibility for their startups and therefore created their websites and social media channels. The final milestones were connected with analyzing the funding opportunities and also preparing investor presentations (pitch decks), which were presented during the final startup demo day. Moreover, 5 individual student startups consultations took place. After each workshop, Armenia students received the follow-up email with the recordings of the workshops including all relevant materials and guidance for the further steps to complete.

A major event

A major event

Final AbioNET Online Startups Demo Day

The final AbioNET Online Startups Demo Day took place on Friday, April 23, 12:00 - 15:45 Armenian time organized by TU Dresden. The full program can be found here. 45 participants of the demo day attended the presentations of AbioNET startups. Nine AbioNET startups pitched on this date.

  • 3 startups from Yerevan State University (YSU): REO - Bacteria based biodegradable detergents and cleaning products; Mini Lab - Portable biology laboratories for schools; ROSAlind - Rosehip oil skincare.
  • 3 startups from Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU): ICheesy - New generation of cheesemaking machines; Feuphoria - Nutritious fresh cheese bars with feijoa; Lakey-Cinema - Outdoor open-air cinema in Yerevan.
  • 2 startups from M. Nalbandyan State University of Shirak (SUSh): Armflax - Organic skincare from Armenia based on flaxseed oil; Phytotea - Organic tea based on Armenian herbs.
  • 1 startup from Gavar State University (GSU): Garlic for Development - Small farmers garlic cultivation of Gavar Region.
Each startup had 10 minutes to present their pitch deck and 10 minutes to answer questions of the jury and the audience. As jury 3 people were invited from the project Nikos Zaharis, Director of South-East European Research Centre, Industry Collaboration Manager of CITY College, University of York Europe Campus, Thessaloniki, Greece, Sven Riddell, EU Projects, TUD, Dresden, Germany, and Telmo Santos, EBRI - Technology Transfer Manager, CBQF - Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal. On top, 1 external jury was invited Ani Bagdasaryan, Founder & CEO of AYANI, Berlin, Germany. Demo Day was moderated by Valeriya Racheeva, EU Projects and Entrepreneurship, TUD, Dresden, Germany. The selected juries gave points to each startup according to the following 5 criteria: problem, solution, business model, product and market potential. Also, startups that created websites and had their social media channels with already shared posts received extra points. At the end of all presentation also, the audience could vote for their favourite startups.

A major event

Final Results and the Winners of the Demo Day

As a result, 2 startups shared the first place : Armflax - Organic skincare from Armenia based on flaxseed oil from SUSh and Mini Lab - Portable biology laboratories for schools [YSU]. The second place went to REO - Bacteria based biodegradable detergents and cleaning products [YSU] and the third place to Lakey-Cinema - Outdoor open-air cinema in Yerevan [ANAU]. Soon all the presentations and recording from the final demo day of AbioNET startup will be available on the special section of the AbioNET website.

All participants of the startup workshops conducted by TU Dresden and the final demo day guests were happy about the positive results of Armenian startups that were achieved during the project time and with the joint efforts of Armenian and EU partners.

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