MDI Armenia

Multidisciplinary Innovation Armenia’s Pilot Project Accomplished

2 min read

The American University of Armenia (AUA) Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is glad to announce the successful completion of a pilot project which laid the groundwork for developing the Multidisciplinary Innovation (MDI) Armenia program in collaboration with Northumbria School of Design, the UK. The MDI program will provide HEI graduates from Yerevan and the regions of Armenia with the opportunity to acquire design thinking skills, using a project-based learning approach used in many courses at AUA.  

The project brought together a team of eight students from various disciplines who worked on a real-life brief through a design-led enterprise education approach designed in partnership with Northumbria School of Design. The students were challenged to come up with ways to strengthen connections between Armenians living overseas and in Armenia, thereby contributing to increasing repatriation. As a result of the project, a concept was developed for launching a platform to facilitate enterprise creation, investments, and employment.

To support the students in their endeavors, a team of faculty from the Northumbria School of Design and AUA CSE supervised, guided, and coached students throughout the design thinking sessions.

During the pilot project, the students generated a detailed assessment of the existing situation through interviews with members of the Diaspora, stakeholder mapping, and analysis of repatriation success stories realized by other countries.

Building upon their findings, the students used design-led approaches to develop the concept of digital repatriation as an effective initial step of repatriation and for making a meaningful contribution to the development of Armenia even before establishing permanent residence.

The MDI Armenia program will engage local businesses as partners to respond to the challenges they face by providing opportunities for business development. Through project-based learning, students will develop the knowledge and skills of design-led entrepreneurial innovation based on the pedagogy employed by Northumbria University in their MA/MSc Multidisciplinary Innovation (MDI) degree. The course will act as a bridge for connecting local businesses, enterprise-hubs, and academia in Yerevan and the regions of Armenia.

The MDI academic team from Northumbria University are actively involved in developing and teaching the MDI Armenia program and will continue these activities during 2021 within the scope of the Creative Spark: Get Ready to Innovate, Armenia! project. Sponsored by the British Council, Creative Spark is implemented through the partnership between AUA CSE and the Northumbria School of Design.

Creative Spark is a five-year UK-supported initiative designed to promote international partnerships among universities and institutions geared to developing enterprise skills and a creative economy in countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan), South Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia), and Ukraine.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.