AUA Open Centers of Excellence realize transdisciplinary solutions to complex challenges
The concept of Centers of Excellence (CoE) is common at universities, and it refers to a group of scholars, researchers, and/or other professionals that come together to focus on a well-defined broader research question.
An Open Center of Excellence (OCoE) is different in the way that it is framed around a broader and more disruptive area of interest that is expected to transform over time with 1) continuously increased knowledge, 2) variable challenges, 3) complexity of the problems and/or 4) unknown research questions in need of solutions that cannot be identified by one disciplinary excellence alone. Open Centers work closely with communication and social interaction tools to attract interest from different disciplines and analytical approaches. The dynamic intersection where creative new and evolutionary thinking occurs are characteristic features of Open Centers.
The Open Centers of Excellence are thus broad thematic platforms for strategic and long-term collaboration. The objective is to solve complex challenges by attracting forefront knowledge and competence from different backgrounds to focus on common problems within the open thematic area. The strategy is to establish and sustain integrated and transformative collaborations using the power of trans-disciplinary and trans-stakeholder interactions. The outcome is expected to provide transformative and sustainable solutions that are directly relevant for government, industry, universities, and/or civic society. The Open Centers of Excellence function successfully if they are based on trust, reliance, and mutual understanding between the collaborators, and if the innovative and comprehensive interdisciplinary approaches aim at effective solutions.
By connecting education, research, and outreach within the Open Center of Excellence, the academic strength will incite strategic collaborators to participate. The collaborators comprise multinational and small companies, national and international academic excellence, relevant foundations, and civic and regional organizations in Armenia. At AUA we define the meeting places as “Reality Labs”, where Open Centers meet and overlap with the profiled clusters of public-private partnerships in the regions. This transdisciplinary approach has the aim to enable AUAs vision of transformative impact where local communities in Armenia will prosper.
AUA has decided to work with six Open Centers of Excellence. They will be developed in collaboration with Deans of Colleges/Schools, Center Directors, a network of Administrative Support and the Executive Team. The support system is well integrated with the Global Local Office, Open Education, Communication, Development and Alumni organization. The featured Open Centers of Excellence are:
- Acopian Center for the Environment
- Open Center for Artificial Intelligence Solutions (hosted by CSE)
- Open Center for Innovation Advancement (hosted by CBE)
- Open Center for Leadership and Governance (hosted by CHSS)
- Open Center for Transformative Health Solutions (hosted by SPH)
- Open Center for Systems Thinking (hosted by CHSS)
The basic funding to support advanced tools and skills for successful trans-disciplinary and trans-stakeholder collaboration will come from the newly launched 200ChangeMakers Campaign. The names of the ChangeMakers will be visible in connection with six screens describing diverse activities and outcomes from the six Open Centers. This communication can be followed on the north wall on the bridge between AUAs two main buildings, and on the AUA Collaboration webpage.
The Open Centers of Excellence are Strategic Units within AUA and follow the same process as all Strategic Units, starting with a bottom-up strategic mapping of perspectives and priorities for the AUA Mission Areas, guided by the yearly thematic objectives and measured by Key Performance Indicators. In addition to this strategic mapping, the Open Center is governed by a dual process comprising a Center level and a level for each contributing Function Area.