Aydar Gazizullin has been interning in our Lab from April to June as part of the Russia-UNDP Trust Fund Programme. During his time at the Lab, he conducted background research on new technologies (e.g. the relevance of blockchain in public sector or artificial intelligence in education). Aydar has also supported the Lab’s service lines utilizing behavioural economics and data science in sustainable development. Beyond the office work, he has also been involved in the UNDP monitoring missions. Aydar travelled across the regions in Armenia and visited three villages and dozens of local wine-producers while assisting UNDP project-managers.
From the pool of the countries offered for an internship by the Russia-UNDP Trust Fund Programme you chose Armenia. Why?
There are three reasons. First, I knew about the activities of the UNDP Armenia and checked the Lab’s web-site and got acquainted with its projects and plans. This internship at the SDG Innovation Lab has been a step forward for deepening my expertise on the innovation usage in public sector. Secondly, I previously interned with GIZ in Bonn and wanted to get a true country office experience. My colleagues gave me a complimentary feedback about the donors’ activities in Armenia, and the UNDP Armenia is famous for its rich history of projects implementation and good working relations with the country’s government and other donors. Thirdly, the Caucasus has always been in the scope of my academic interests, and I definitely wanted to use this chance to work in the region and specifically in Armenia.
What did your work on at the Lab?
I have primarily supported the behavioural science service line. I have researched theoretical aspects and relevant international experiences on increasing the citizens’ exposure to digital services. Specifically, I have supported an initial stage of the project aimed at increasing the usage of the existing e-government service allowing people to renew a vehicle inspection certificate online. I came up with a draft letter utilizing behavioural nudging and intended to be used for a field experiment involving a test group of car owners in Armenia.
My tasks have quite often gone beyond the common division of service lines. Recently, I have researched different innovative tools that could be used by a government not just for informing and delivering e-services to citizens but for enhancing the citizen engagement and collaboration policies. I hope that my outputs could further contribute to the citizen-focused vision of the Lab.
How did you like your experience at the Lab?
I am extremely lucky to be professionally involved in the topics which I have always been passionate about: the impact of innovations and new technologies for sustainable development. I like the idea of cooperation between the UNDP and the Government of Armenia and the way the Lab is used to maximise the value of innovations. I am glad to see how the Lab keeps searching for new formats and projects. Last but not least, I have enjoyed working with outstanding and committed professionals who are always open to new ideas and have a flexible mindset. I am happy about each day I have worked in the Lab.
Did your experience at the Lab meet your expectations? What would you say to the graduates thinking about an internship with the Lab?
Yes, definitely, everything has been exactly as I planned. Beyond that, I have got extremely valuable networking opportunities and learned a lot from my colleagues. I am sure it helps me to better position myself in my career. Of course, I would like to recommend to intern and/or seek collaboration with the Lab. The lab is an open, limitless and extremely flexible working environment that would be comfortable for any proactive and resourceful person.