February 19th marked the start of yet another year of FAR’s Armenian National Science and Education Fund (ANSEF). That day’s ANSEF awards ceremony brought together 90 scientists from 27 different research groups who will start or continue their research during 2018 in the fields of physical sciences, engineering, humanities, and the natural sciences, etc., with the help of an ANSEF grant.

Thirteen out of 27 group leaders are young researchers under the age of 35, and 14 of them are women.

It’s been 18 years since the program to help empower researchers to stay in their home country was launched. The 461 grants given to 1,735 scientists, and the $2,305,000 invested through ANSEF since its inception, means that today we have a trustworthy bank of researchers and scientists who are now taking the lead in physics, astrophysics, biochemistry, biology, linguistics, and programing, and advocating for further scientific development in Armenia.

During his speech, FAR Executive Director Garnik Nanagoulian talked about the ANSEF investment. “It supports cutting-edge fundamental science, which is the flesh and blood of any possible developments in science and industry.” He also highlighted that ANSEF gives priority to young scientists and encourages the inclusion of female scientists in the supported groups. “It also provides grants to groups of researchers that are at the initial stage of major outcomes, where other grant makers may not be interested to give their support because of uncertain results.”

Three of this year’s 27 ANSEF grants are sponsored by the Young Scientists Support Program, funded by Armenia’s President through the Youth Foundation of Armenia. FAR’s cooperation with the Young Scientists Support Program, which started in 2013, has already made it possible to support 20 ANSEF grants.

This year, ANSEF’s council received 250 applications. Winners receive an ANSEF grant of $5,000 each. Grantees’ research focuses on areas that may include physics, biology, ecology, astrophysics, chemistry, biochemistry, energy, physiology, pedagogy, sociology, linguistics and economics.

“This is a unique, exceptional grant. Not only does it support science in Armenia, but it is also a bridge between Armenia’s sciences and the outside world. This is what matters the most,” said Areg Mickaelian, Director of Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory, and a several-time ANSEF awardee who came to the ceremony.