Why is a bridge between science and business necessary and who should build it? Interview with the head of EIF

December 4, 2023  19:21

Science and business are two mountains located at a distance from each other. It is not possible to “bring them closer” to each other, but the connection between them and their productive interaction can be ensured with the help of a bridge. This opinion was expressed by the head of the Enterprise Incubator Fund (EIF) Bagrat Yengibaryan in a conversation with NEWS.am Tech.

Two mountains and a bridge between them

The “residents” of these two mountains, in his opinion, are unlikely to be able to build such a bridge: there is work for a third party who will understand the language and culture of both sides, understand what is needed for their development, and become an effective mediator between them. This role, according to Yengibaryan, should be taken on by organizations like the EIF he leads.

One of the most important tasks of the third party, as part of strengthening the bridge, is to show the “residents” of each of the mountains that the other has solutions that are necessary for their development and to increase their competitiveness. So, business needs to show why science is so important for it: it is science that solves issues related to the future competitiveness of this business.

“If you have a car, you don’t need science to sell it. Selling this car is today's issue, and its solution is in the hands of business. However, to create a new, improved version of this machine, science is needed. And if you don’t improve your car and create more and more modern versions, tomorrow you will lose your competitiveness,” Yengibaryan noted.

He added that today's science is necessary to develop tomorrow's business. And if today we invest in science, find and implement different models of bridges between science and business, this can increase the competitiveness of business in the future. True, this process, according to Yengibaryan, must be consistent and long-term: it does not end with the signing of a “peace treaty” between science and business - cooperation between them must constantly develop, generating more and more new ideas and opportunities.

The fourth player is the state

What role can and should the state play in these processes?

According to Bagrat Yengibaryan, organizations like the EIF should not be alone in establishing connections between science and business: the state must scale this success, promote it, and spread it throughout the country. In addition, the state can coordinate many processes, understand where things are missing, and help fill the gaps.

“For example, if there is a shortage of specialists in some area, for example, specialists in working with AI, the state should send a signal to the education system and facilitate the training of new personnel. In another area there may be a shortage of “fuel” - and here even a small targeted funding can change the situation,” the specialist explained.

In his opinion, if the state does not monitor the “game” between business and science and coordinate it, there will, of course, still be some successes, but it will be quite difficult to achieve serious results throughout the country.

Four equal angles

To achieve any significant results in any field, it is very important that everyone plays their role properly. For the development of science and business in Armenia and for the establishment of strong ties between them, the role of each of the four parties is important - business, science, the mediator-bridge, and the state. The system will collapse if at least one of the four parties does not fulfill its functions.

“Here it is important to understand that all these parties have equally important roles, that each of them is an important part of the entire system and none of them dominates. Each side tries to emphasize its own importance and says that if it weren’t for her, the others wouldn’t exist. But the problem is that when this starts to happen, the bridge begins to collapse. That is why all parties must understand that they are equally pursuing the same goals,” Yengibaryan noted.

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