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AUA Acopian Center and University of Hohenheim Launch GAtES Cooperative Program

Starting from 2018, the University of Hohenheim (UHOH) and the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE) will collaborate on a 4-year academic exchange program financed by DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service, with funds from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Fully titled the German-Armenian Network on the Advancement of Public Participation GIS for Ecosystem Services as a Means for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development, the project is referred to as GAtES.

Internationally, Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) approaches for surveying ecosystem services have become particularly vibrant academic and practitioner fields as they allow for integrating information on perceived ecosystem services with biophysical data (e.g. on biodiversity, erosion processes) and expert-based management plans.

The GAtES project promotes the further study of ecosystem services and application of PPGIS-based methods by AUA faculty and researchers in their fields of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. With a better understanding of ecosystem services and PPGIS approaches, AUA faculty will be able to include these concepts in AUA’s certificate and minor programs in Environmental Studies as well as their own research projects. UHOH faculty and students, on the other hand, will benefit from the  unique opportunity of international cooperation in a post-Soviet context, as well as the further development of strategies for advancing biodiversity conservation of forests and pastureland.

The specific activities of the GAtES project include: student mobility (16 total; 4 per year, 2 from Armenia to Germany and 2 from Germany to Armenia), faculty mobility and training workshops (several in both directions), masters thesis projects (4, some German-Armenian joint), academic publications in peer-reviewed journals, international conference on PPGIS and ES, to be held in Yerevan in 2020, and literature and knowledge web-based platform on ecosystem services and GIS applications.

You can find more details here.

The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, a research center at the American University of Armenia, promotes the protection and restoration of the natural environment through research, education, and community outreach. AUA Acopian Center’s focus areas include sustainable natural resource management, biodiversity and conservation, greening the built environment, clean energy, and energy efficiency, as well as information technology and the environment.