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The Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli, during his speech in the legislative body in the minister's hour format, introduced the projects supporting the internationalization of science and the achieved results to the deputies. As Mikheil Chkhenkeli pointed out, in this direction, a number of effective steps were taken this year, among them, the international agreement of associating Georgia in Horizon Europe, a new framework program for research and innovation of the European Union, is particularly noteworthy.
"You know that in 2021, with the direct involvement of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili, Georgia became a member of the European Union's new research and innovation framework program, Horizon Europe. I was honoured and at the end of last year, in Brussels, together with the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Maria Gabriel, I signed the international association agreement of Georgia in the new framework program for research and innovation of the European Union, Horizon Europe. As a result, the representatives of Georgia in Horizon Europe program contests enjoy exactly the same conditions and rights as the representatives of the scientific and innovation fields of the EU countries. Georgian scientists can participate in the competitions announced within the research and innovation program with a budget of 95.5 billion euros,'' the minister said, noting that after the signing of the agreement, several Georgian scientists have already obtained funding from Horizon Europe, which is particularly gratifying.
It is important that in 2021 the national office of Horizon Europe was established in Georgia and opened the way to new opportunities for the scientific and innovation community of Georgia. According to the Minister, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia actively continues to work to improve the success rate of Georgian universities and research institutes in the grant competitions of the new EU framework program Horizon Europe. In 2022, there is already a network of university scientific grant offices in state universities, and private universities are also joining the Horizon Europe national network.
During his speech in the parliament, the minister spoke about the importance of international cooperation in the direction of supporting and strengthening scientific and research institutes in Georgia.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli: "With the support of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili, the Georgian government actively worked towards Georgia's joining the COST association. In February 2022, we submitted an appropriate application for Georgia's membership in the association, and as a result, on March 30-31, a meeting of the Supreme Leaders' Committee and the General Assembly was held in Paris, where representatives of COST member states unanimously supported Georgia and Ukraine joining the European cooperation family, and both countries joined COST and as a result became a full member. Full COST membership gives Georgian researchers and innovators the opportunity to fully benefit from COST's diverse networking tools, expand and strengthen international scientific connections, and ensure the international success of their research projects."
According to the minister, the regional representative office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) was established in Tbilisi this year. The DAAD regional office promotes the deepening of scientific ties between the South Caucasus and Germany, which is aimed at the internationalization of higher education institutions in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. According to him, this is an excellent opportunity for students, doctoral students and researchers to continue their studies in the country of rich academic history.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli drew attention to the achievements of Georgian scientists in the international arena. According to him, the group of scientists of the Technical University of Georgia achieved another success this year in one of the largest CMS experiments of CERN, which works on the Large Hadron Collider. In particular, the scientists of the Technical University of Georgia in the engineering direction were able to model the cooling system of the electronics of the new cameras, created working drawings and made prototypes.
The minister emphasized the importance of working on the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) national development strategy and noted that for the first time this year, on the initiative and organization of the Ministry of Education and Science in Georgia, on November 2-4 in the format of a tripartite meeting - with the participation of the European Commission and the European Open Science Cloud Association, "Open Science Forum'' was held.
During his speech, Mikheil Chkhenkeli spoke about the steps taken in the direction of strengthening the Kartvelology program worldwide. As the minister noted, in active cooperation with the Swiss side, work is being done on the development of the Kartvelology program at the University of Bern. According to him, within the framework of his visit to Switzerland, he personally discussed with the rector of the University of Bern, Professor Christian Loyman, the issue of the development of the Georgian studies program in the university with centuries-old traditions.
Moreover, it is important that during the meeting with the President of the University of Zurich, Michael Shefmann, Mikheil Chkhenkeli discussed the issue of restoration of the Kartvelology program at the University of Zurich, which was founded by the outstanding Georgian linguist, honorary doctor of the University of Zurich, Kita Chkhenkeli. Along with this, the Minister, together with the President of the University of Zurich, Michael Shefmann, opened a memorial plaque named after Professor Kita Chkhenkeli, a prominent Georgian linguist in the city of Zurich.
Moreover, Mikheil Chkhenkeli particularly emphasized the importance of launching the Kartevology program at the Davis Center of Harvard University.
"As you know, at the initiative of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili, with the financial efforts of the Government of Georgia, for the first time in the history of the United States of America, the program of Georgian studies was launched at the Davis Center of Harvard University. The program contributes to the education of a new generation of students who will be supporters of research and disseminators of knowledge about Georgia not only in the scientific and intellectual circles of the United States of America, but also in the world. The program includes studies in the direction of Caucasian studies. The program is led by the American scientist and Kartevologist Professor Steven Jones, who has been working in the field of Kartevology for more than 40 years and is a hearty supporter of Georgia's independence and democratic development.
This year, within the framework of his visit to the United States of America, Mikheil Chkhenkeli personally visited the Davis Center of Harvard University and discussed the details of the development of the Kartvelology program with its leaders. It is important that within the framework of the Harvard University Davis Center's Georgian Studies program, there is also a Georgian language course that helps students learn and improve their knowledge of the Georgian language.