ABIONET - Newsletter 5 - September 2021

Meet the Armenian HEIs new laboratories

A modern laboratory of Microbiology and Biotechnology was officially opened at SUSh

The modern laboratory of microbiology and biotechnology created within the framework of Erasmus+ AbioNet program was officially opened at State University of Shirak on September 13, 2021, the main part of the equipment of which is unique in Shirak region.

The opening was attended by the University administration, heads of structural units of SUSh, lecturers of “Geography, Biology and Chemistry” Chair, students, representatives of partner organizations.

A new specialty “Biotechnology” has been introduced through the master's educational program. It is already the second year that admission is made to the profession demanded in the labor market.

Yervand Serobyan, the Acting Rector of SUSh wished that the material and technical possibilities of the University become the beginning of scientific innovations for the students. The Acting Rector also handed over certificates to the “startup ideas” students and lecturers who participated in the trainings within the framework of ABioNet program. Let us add that one of the startup programs presented by SUSh was awarded the 1st, the other - the 3rd prizes by the ABioNet program European partners.

The representatives of partner organizations within the framework of the program and the participants of the program highlighted the existence of an equipped laboratory in the region, the conduction of research work with modern equipment, the preparation of master's theses based on them, the formation and implementation of startup programs.

It should be also noted that on September 3, the beginning of the new academic year, the governor of Shirak region met with the students of SUSh, who also got acquainted with the capabilities and activities of the laboratory, talked to the students of the “Biotechnology” master program, the staff of the corresponding professional chair and the employees of ABioNet program.

A modern laboratory of Microbiology and Biotechnology was officially opened at SUSh

A modern laboratory of Microbiology and Biotechnology was officially opened at SUSh A modern laboratory of Microbiology and Biotechnology was officially opened at SUSh
A modern laboratory of Microbiology and Biotechnology was officially opened at SUSh A modern laboratory of Microbiology and Biotechnology was officially opened at SUSh

GSU laboratory of Natural Sciences conducts research

Gavar State University students were actively involved in research conducted in GSU Laboratory of Natural Sciences, due to EU “ERASMUS + Armenian Network of Excellence in Bio-Products Science and Technology (ABIONET)” project.

The use of laboratory equipment in the educational process ensures the development of students’ practical skills and enables them to develop abilities relevant to the labor market.

GSU laboratory of Natural Sciences conducts research

GSU laboratory of Natural Sciences conducts research GSU laboratory of Natural Sciences conducts research GSU laboratory of Natural Sciences conducts research
GSU laboratory of Natural Sciences conducts research GSU laboratory of Natural Sciences conducts research

Meet the EU partners: TUD

TU Dresden is a public research university, the largest institute of higher education in the city of Dresden, the largest university in Saxony and one of the 10 largest universities in Germany with approximately 33,000 students.

The name Technische Universität Dresden has only been used since 1961; the history of the university, however, goes back nearly 200 years to 1828. This makes it one of the oldest colleges of technology in Germany, and one of the country’s oldest universities, which in German today refers to institutes of higher education that cover the entire curriculum. The university is a member of TU9, a consortium of the nine leading German Institutes of Technology. The university is one of eleven German universities which succeeded in the Excellence Initiative in 2012, thus getting the title of a "University of Excellence". The TU Dresden succeeded in all three rounds of the German Universities Excellence Initiative (Future Concept, Graduate Schools, Clusters of Excellence).

TU Dresden has 14 faculties. Almost all faculties are located on the main campus south of the city center, except for the Faculty of Medicine that has its own campus near the Elbe river east of the city center and the Department of Forestry in Tharandt. Here is a short but informative overview.


• The Faculty of Mathematics and the Natural Sciences is the second-largest faculty at the university. It is composed of 5 departments, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology. The departments are all located on the main campus.
• The Faculty of Architecture comprises 6 departments.
• The Faculty of Civil Engineering is structured into 11 departments. It is the oldest and smallest of the faculties.
• The Faculty of Computer Science comprises six departments: Applied Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Software- and Multimedia-Technology, Systems Architecture, Computer Engineering and Theoretical Computer Science.
• The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology is organized into 13 departments. The faculty is the heart of the so-called Silicon Saxony in Dresden.
• The Faculty of Environmental Sciences is located on the main campus, except for the Forestry department which is located in Tharandt. The Forestry department is the oldest of its kind in Germany. Its history goes back to the foundation of the Royal Saxon Academy of Forestry (Königlich-Sächsische Forstakademie) in 1816.
• The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering comprises 19 departments and is the largest faculty at TUD. The Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences “Friedrich List” is the only of its kind in Germany covering transport and traffic from economy and system theory science to electrical, civil and mechanical engineering.

TUD photos

TUD photos

Humanities and Social Sciences

• The Faculty of Business and Economics comprises five departments, Business Education Studies (Wirtschaftspädagogik), Business Management, Economics, Business Information Systems and Statistics.
• The Faculty of Education is located East of the main campus the Faculty of Languages, Literature and Culture is structured into five departments, American Studies, English Studies, German Studies, Philology, Romance Languages and Slavic Studies.
• The Faculty of Law is going to close in the next few years. The TU Dresden has partially compensated the closure by establishing a private law school
• The Faculty of Philosophy comprises seven departments, Art History, Communications, History, Musicology, Political Sciences, Sociology and Theology.
• The School of International Studies is a so-called central institution of the university coordinating the law, economics and political sciences departments for courses of interdisciplinary international relations.


• The Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of Medicine has its own campus East of the city center near the Elbe river. The faculty has a partnership with Partners Harvard Medical International.

TUD photos

TU Dresden welcomes foreign students and we hope that from the ABIONET project Armenian students from the participant universities will consider studying in Dresden!

Joint Masters Degree scheme "Sustainable Food and Bioproducts for Healthy Diets and Wellbeing" is being developed by ABIONET team


Within the ABIONET project, as an important component for the future cooperation and join efforts to support quality education and research, all the country members were committed and under supervision of the Teramo University Prof. Paola Pitia and with coordination by IHU Dr. Thomas Tomidis and YSU Dr. Nelli Hovhannisyan a new scheme for the Joint Degree Master Programme entitled Sustainable Food and Bioproducts for Healthy Diets and Wellbeing is being developed. Extensive on line meeting and discussions were organized and common interests , as well as the needs of the countries were identified. The most important peculiarity of this Joint master’s degree scheme is that all the participating universities found a background of common interest and capacities (existing and created within the ABIONET project). All the universities are contributing their facilities and the modules, including the ones which were developed within the project. The further efforts to implement the scheme into the life beyond ABIONET project frames, will support sustainable development and progress of the Network of Excellence in Bioproducts technology and Sciences.

The "Student Project Module - Covid 19 Variant" for Abionet Joint Degree Scheme

As our project focuses on making education more market oriented and being able to provide students with knowledge and skills in accordance with market needs and employability of graduates and demonstrate networking between Armenian and EU universities we used a team of TU Dresden students in the summer semester 2021 to balance the Entrepreneurship module with the Armenian student efforts of the winter semester piloting of 2020/2021 (thus showing showing EU-AR variation).

Additionally and based on our Armenian training and piloting experience in Covid19 with Armenian staff and students we decided to also create a new Covid 19 variation that is essentially a flexible supervized self-study module. This module has its own description and lesson plan plus grading system and is open to many faculties and not just Abionet-oriented faculties.

In doing this we demonstrate that the Abionet Project underlines flexibility and innovation and new teaching approaches as stated in the application.

The era of Covid19, like in many CBHE projects necessitates such a new dimension with the potential to be taught online (synchronous or asynchronous)/offline or hybrid and can be readily utilized as a compulsory or optional MA module variants (each of which can align with different PC staff and students' interests, learning styles, MA requirements and CEFR levels covering all Abionet MA modules).


The Student Project Module is a ‘‘real“ practical module which integrates development, creativity, communication and management skills and ideally suited in era of Covid19 with potential to be taught online/offline or hybrid.

In this module participants are given inputs and support on developing and managing a real project (either individually, in pairs or in a team) which is agreed between the tutor and student. Any and every idea can be considered (as per the student example we are showing here). This can, for example, focus on an area in which the student is studying or a project or support initiative they are doing at university or even involve something like an application for funding or starting a business initiative.

This module is useful for participants as a “hands on practical activity” and can be used as an additional work experience aspect for participants’ CVs.

The module has 3 ECTS points and can be used for those who intend to complete their BA or MA.

It is open to any faculty.


A significant part of this module involves participants working independently (with tutor support when needed) and at the end of the semester handing in their activity report on the project task they have finished.

Part 1 (Proposal)

After a brainstorming session the individual or group (normally 2-5 participants) agree a project case study activity.

Part 2 (Project Activity and Interim Project Discussion Meeting )

At the Interim Project Discussion Meeting in the middle of the semester students will submit a draft case study discuss their progress to date in the activity and either ask or receive feedback from the tutor. An action plan is agreed.

Part 3 (Report on activity done and Final Project Discussion Meeting)

The full case study project will be handed in (in hard copy form and as a Word/PPT etc document per attachment with the title of the case study project clearly displayed on the reference line in the email and in the attachment) for the Final Project Discussion Meeting on an agreed date (normally at end of semester)).


The length of the report is discussed with the tutor – it is normally a summary of the activity done in Part 2. The focus is on the quality rather than quantity!

The student is graded on;

Preparation (Part 1, 10%)

the actual ‘‘doing“ of the project task plus Interim Meeting (Part 2, 70%)

Report & Final Meeting (Part 3, 20%)

Learning Outcome

On completion of this course participants will have learned to undertake a case study project activity using necessary communication, creativity and management aspects and produce a report on the completed activity.

Target Group

This module is open in both summer and winter semesters to ALL faculties’ students with proven B1-2 CEFR English.

Suggested Award; (3 ECTS over one semester)

We would like to thank the two MA students Peggy Rudolph & Julia Götze from TUD who volunteered to try out this module focusing on their own start up idea and we also thank them for their academic administration support.

Peggy Rudolph
Julia Götze

ABIONET staff mobility strand launched

Within the framework of ABioNet Project, the University of Teramo is hosting staff from the Partner country universities from Armenia this September. Gayane Marmaryan representing the Armenian National Agrarian University and Lusine Hambaryan from Yerevan State University are conducting their one-month activities under the mentorship of Professor Paola Pittia at laboratory facilities of the Faculty of Bioscience and Technology for Food, Agriculture and Environment of the University of Teramo.

Determined by the field of interest the staff members are improving their knowledge and building capacities in food science and technology as well as food quality analysis on the one hand, and on the other hand developing competences on conducting microalgae analysis and identifying their benefits in food production. The fellows have carried out experiments and improved skills on methodologies for analysis of antioxidant properties, flavor and aroma compounds of different food items, evaluation of the quality of Spirulina and impact of different processing conditions on microalgae technological functionality and stability of Spirulina extract proteins.

A laboratory analysis of phycocyanin extraction from spirulina and an evaluation of extract purity were conducted. Considering that apart from phycocyanin, spirulina is rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals, it is crucial to use it in food production as an ingredient.

Meat quality has been assessed as well, specifically the physical and mechanical properties of chicken nuggets, the water activity and the measurement of the amount of water and thermal properties in frozen chicken nuggets by Differential Scanning Colorimeter (DSC).

Despite the COVID pandemic and all the regulations at the University of Teramo and the laboratories of Faculty of Bioscience and Technology for Food, the staff under the supervision of Professor Paola Pittia made all efforts to implement the staff mobility.

The opportunity of working at cutting-edge labs will contribute to acquiring laboratory skills, boosting staff experience, ensuring expertise and capacities on operating new equipment, learning new methodologies, strengthening links between universities and providing further opportunities for research projects.

Gayane MARMARYAN – Associate Professor, ANAU, Chair of Biology and Biotechnologies

Lusine HAMBARYAN – Associate Professor, YSU, Chair of Ecology and Nature Protection




ABioNet Presentation in the Cluster Meeting: University-Business Collaboration: Achievements and Challenges

National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia together with the German Business Association on June 2 organized a cluster meeting on «University-Business Collaborations through Innovations and Work-Based Learning». The main objective of the meeting was to combine within the same platform the Education and the Business representatives, to share their collaboration experiences, ongoing developments, challenges and the registered results. In addition, the six Erasmus+ KA2 Projects had an opportunity to present their main objectives, challenges and achievements in the mentioned context.

NEO Armenia coordinator Lana Karlova greeted all the participants of the Cluster meeting. Opening discussion were made by Program Manager of EU delegation in Armenia Stanislav Toshkov, Deputy Minister of RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Karen Trchunyan and Deputy Ambassador of German Embassy in Armenia Klaus Wendelberger.

The first plenary session was targeted at the Knowledge and Technology Transfer between University, Industry and Society, moderated by Managing director of German Business Association Mery Navasardyan.

University-Industry Collaboration Practices were presented based on the models of Erasmus+ CBHE Projects. On behalf of consortium ABioNet Project was presented by Gayane Marmaryan, ANAU ABioNet local manager, Associate Professor of the chair of Biology and Biotechnologies of ANAU. The speaker in the context of the meeting presented the main objective of the Project – Filling the gap and strengthen the link between Education-Entrepreneurship-Innovation. The first step was the education component in which four Armenian Universities have an integrated modules in their curricula: Innovation and Entrepreneurship (YSU), Agribusiness Management, Project Management (ANAU), Start-Up, Marketing and Management (SHSU), Science to Start-Up (GSU). Dr. Marmaryan emphasized the involvement of the Partners and representatives from industry and science in developing of modules. The model of partnership with enterprises and industry representatives, the students start-ups, sustainability strategy through partnership, achievements and challenges of the ABioNet Project have been presented.

The second panel discussion was targeted at «University-Business Partnership: Challenges and Opportunities», moderated by Director of National Center for Professional Education Quality Assurance Ruben Topchyan. Among the panelists was rector of ANAU Vardan Urutyan, science and business representatives. Vardan Urutyan mentioned the importance of involvement the representatives from industry and entrepreneurship in the academic processes in terms of curricula development, capacity buildings and introducing label market requirements.

All the participants extended that such kind of meetings are crucial platforms for sharing experiences, combining of education and enterprises representatives, presenting achievements and challenges, enlarging collaborations.


Publications by the project team


• Oliveira L., & Cardoso E.L. (2021). "Building a community of practice for engaging stackholders in bioproducts," 2021 16th Iberian Conference on Information Systems and Technologies (CISTI), pp. 1-4, doi: 10.23919/CISTI52073.2021.9476292

• Oliveira L., & Cardoso E.L. (2021). Attitudes, Intentions and Knowledge Sharing in Bioproducts in a Community of Practice. XXV Jornadas Internacionales de Nutrición Práctica, 20 - 22 April, online.