With an eye toward attracting foreign investment, the Armenian government is trying to update and overhaul Armenia's scientific sector for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
During the Soviet era, Armenia was known for its scientific edge aside from academic pursuits, the country excelled in applied uses of physics, chemistry and materials sciences. As in other former Soviet republics, though, the end of Kremlin subsidies for research institutes involved in the development of technologies for the Soviet military left many scientific professionals without work, prompting a brain drain that still continues. Those scientists left behind continue to work under difficult conditions, with almost no funding for scientific projects and salaries barely over the minimum of $40-$50 per month. Scientific research and development accounts for less than 1 percent of Armenia's Gross Domestic Product.
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Haroutiun Khachatrian is a Yerevan-based writer specializing in economic and political affairs.