G. Demirjian

National Polytechnic University of Armenia (ARMENIA)
In the current research, we examine the complex issue of university research management (RM) based on a comparative study of the U.S. and the post-Soviet (Armenian) practices in the field. We intend to understand the relative effectiveness of the U.S. RM system as compared to Armenian and produce recommendations for steps that should be taken to enhance the effectiveness of latter.

Research data acquired is based on author’s own experience including in-depth interviewing, participant observation, and document analysis in the U.S.A. (College of William and Mary, Columbia University, Fordham University, New York University, City University New York) and in Armenia (Gyumri State Pedagogical Institute, Armenian National Polytechnic University).

Today in the U.S. academic environment most of higher education RM offices address a great number of unique duties which include identifying sources of support and communicating with sponsors, planning, announcing, receiving, evaluating and monitoring the awards and providing overall management of the grants program for the institution (see e.g. [1]). As for Armenian universities, they currently experience growing misbalance between the two key missions of universities: teaching, and researching. The research process at Armenian universities hasn’t been managed as carefully as the teaching process, since starting from Soviet times it hasn’t usually been considered the core of these institutions [2, 3]. Traditionally research was isolated from teaching and was concentrated at special research entities (institutions) running under control of National Academy of Sciences: an umbrella organization operating actually as a sectoral ministry.

The explorative findings and comparative analysis of research management in the U.S. and Armenia reveal huge differences in understanding and practice of RM at universities. Research area is the most important asset for future development of Armenian Universities as on one hand research has potential to attract investments from alternative sources like the business and industry, while national government funds are miserable and hence are decreasing, and on other hand research is a way to improve the awareness and prestige of universities: it attracts students, researchers, and professors.

We discuss also some new trends emerging in Armenian scientific research environment including enlargement and diversification of external funding, rising of private foundations both from Armenia and Diaspora supporting research and, which is most important, the universities start to allocate research funding from internal revenue sources. Last year Armenia joined major European research funding instrument: Horizon 2020 framework program as Associate Member. The influence of this new funding mechanism is anticipated to produce revolutionary changes in coming future.

[1] Schuetzenmeister, F. University Research Management: An Exploratory Literature Review. UC Berkeley, 2010.
[2] G.Demirjian. Information Support of Modern Education: Rethinking Armenian Experience. In Lorenzo Cantoni (eds.). Proceedings of the Red-Conference: Rethinking Education in the Knowledge Society (Ascona, Switzerland, 7-10 March 2011), p. 136-147.
[3] G.Demirjian. Research management at American universities. Scientific Proceedings of Gyumri State Pedagogical Institute, 2013, Issue B, p.145-154.