Director of the Regional Innovative Technologies Academy (R.I.T.A.), ICT & FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) NCP of the EU Research & Innovation Programme HORIZON 2020 in Azerbaijan, Tofig Ali Ikram Babayev was born to a family of white-collar workers in Baku in 1946.
He graduated secondary school with a gold medal and was admitted to the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute (now Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University) in 1964 and graduated in 1969. In 1969-1972, Tofig Babayev worked at the Institute of Cybernetics of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences at the position of a research fellow. He works as an engineer and then head of department at the "Informatics” Scientific Production Association from 1972 to 1974, as the head of the Baku division of the Moscow Research Institute of Control Systems in 1974-1977. From 1977 to 1987, Babayev worked at the "Informatics” Scientific Research Association again: as head of laboratory, director of the Computer Center and deputy chief engineer.
In 1988,Tofig Babayev successfully defended his thesis "Developing methods and algorithms for providing centralized complex services and using computing equipment” for the degree of Candidate of Science in Engineering, specializing in "Computers, complexes, systems and networks” and "Application of computers and mathematical methods in scientific research” in Kyiv, Ukraine.
In 1987, T. Babayev was appointed director of the Baku Scientific Training Center that replaced "Informatics” Scientific Production Association and worked in this position to 2007, after which, from 2007 to 2009, he headed the Baku Business Training Center (BBTC) of the Ministry of Economic Development established on the basis of BSTC.
Meanwhile, in 1990-1993, T. Babayev held the position of director of the first official Internet provider in Azerbaijan, AZERINKOM Russian-Azerbaijan joint enterprise (Internet connection on 64 kbps leased lines running on x.25 protocol through the territory Baku-Georgia-Chechnya).
In his position as director of BSTC, Tofig Babayev was national coordinator of 10 projects, including the first ICT project in Azerbaijan financed by UNESCO and UNDP - "Strengthening of Computer Technology and Training Centre” (1995-1997); "Sumgayit Training and Information and Communication Technology Computer Center” (1996-1999); "Nakhchivan Training and Business Information Computer Center” (1998-2000). Within the framework of the E-Trade (Electronic trade, 2006-2007) project, the Electronic Trade Center was established and T. Babayev was appointed its director.
Tofig Babayev organized more than 10 international conferences with the UNESCO/UNDP support, such as:
"Digital Silk Roads” conference (2001) devoted to the preservation of cultural heritage of the Silk Roads region through the use of new digital technologies in 2001-2009; ADTACARA (Advanced Digital Technology-Assisted Cultural Artwork Restoration and Archiving, 2002) conference; training within the framework of RADIT (Regional Academy of Digital Image Technologies, 2003-2005) project; BSTC training in Lyons, France within the framework of ACADEMIAT (Advanced digital
technologies) project (2004); conferences in Baku within the framework of PICASOR (Preservation of Images of Carpets as Sustainable Open Resources, 2004), "Online Educational Content Development Using the Power of ICT” (2009) projects.
T. Babayev also organized a number of international forums: Azerbaijan-South Korea
Forum in Baku, within the framework of the E-Trade project; Azerbaijan-South Korea Business Forum in Seoul on 21-27 July 2007; Azerbaijan-China Business Forum in Beijing; Azerbaijan-South Korea Forum "High-Technology Exchanges” in 2009.
Digital Opportunities Forum, Republic of Korea, appointed T. Babayev Information Technology Ambassador to the Forum in 2007-2008 as a result of his successful activity in support and development of cooperation between scientists and entrepreneurs of South Korea and Azerbaijan.
In 2009, Tofig Babayev was appointed International Officer for Student Admissions of KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology); in 2007-2009, selection was organized among first year students, and in those years, 10 student were sent to study in a 4 years Bachelor’s program in South Korea with the financial support of KAIST.
On Babayev’s initiative, Information Technology training centers were established in 14 regions of Azerbaijan, including Agdash, Sheki, Ujar, Goychay, Agsu, Kurdamir, Salyan. With the view of his experience of establishing regional computer centers, T. Babayev was appointed head of the group for organizing regional information centers in Azerbaijan regions in 2001-2003 within the framework of NICTS (National Information and Communication Technology Strategy).
In 2001, Tofig Babayev established at the BSTC the first CISCO Regional Academy in the South Caucasus and organized CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Administrator) course; in 2001-2005, he held trainings for specialists of Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and other CIS states, as well as North Korea.
In 2003, the first MS STEC (Microsoft Certified Technical Engineering Centre) in the South Caucasus started operating at BSTC, carrying out training of specialists of Azerbaijan and CIS countries, as well as the first official PROMETRIC Test Center and the ECDL (European Computer Driving License) Test Center in the South Caucasus, which allowed those who completed trainings to get international certificates. In 2005-2006, BSTC organized training for about 400 secondary school computer science teachers who received ECDL certificates.
In 2004-2005, several projects in the field of "Education for the Elderly” were implemented in cooperation with IIZ/DVV (Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association). IT courses and trainings on "Entrepreneurship and Management”, "Project Management” and other subjects were conducted at the 14 regional centers organized by BSTC; handbooks were prepared and consulting services were organized for entrepreneurs.
In 2004, Business Training Center (BTC) was established under BSTC. The main activity of BTC in Baku and 6 branches in the regions of Azerbaijan consisted in the distribution of information among entrepreneurs on starting and managing businesses; providing consulting services; organizing trainings on marketing, advertising, project management, etc.
In 2006-2008, Tofig Babayev was Editor-in-Chief of "Sahibkarliq” ("Entrepreneurship”) and "Emek ve Ganun” ("Labor and Law”) magazines published with the support of the MCFER (International Centre for Financial and Economic Development, Russia) and the Ministry of Economic Development of Azerbaijan.
In 2008, the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology of Germany made a proposal to the Ministry of Economic Development of Azerbaijan to improve the qualification of managerial human resources in the Azerbaijani economy in Germany. The bilateral program stipulated that Azerbaijani managers participated in advanced trainings and completed professional practice at German institutions at the expense of the German federal budget. In September 2009, the first group of 22 was sent to Germany.
The program that started under T. Babayev’s supervision successfully continues to this day.
At the end of 2009, T. Babayev was appointed head of department at the Scientific Research Institute of the Ministry of Economic Development, and since 2010, he has been working as head of the Foreign Relations and Innovations Department at the Institute of Control Systems (previously Institute of Cybernetics) of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences.
At the same time, T. Babayev is director of the Regional Innovative Technologies Academy (R.I.T.A.) established in 2003.
In 1998-2013, Tofig Babayev was ICT NCP (National Contact Point) of the EU 5th, 6th and 7th Research & Development Framework Programmes, participated in 12 EU projects as the coordinator for Azerbaijan and organized a number of international events within the framework of those.
T. Babayev currently manages the implementation of 2 new projects for expanding the cooperation between researchers of Eastern Europe and European Union in Azerbaijan.
The new EU Research & Innovation Programme HORIZON 2020 started in 2014 and T. Babayev was appointed NCP for two areas of HORIZON 2020, ICT and FET, in Azerbaijan. He also participates in selecting, appointing and training Azerbaijani NCPs in other areas of HORIZON 2020, as an experienced expert with the support of ANAS.
T. Babayev organized the participation of Azerbaijani researchers in various international conferences and forums in the field of ICT in 2009-2016: in Moldova (Chisinau, 2009, 2016), Poland (Warsaw, 2012), Lithuania (Vilnius, 2013), Italy (Florence, 2014), Georgia (Tbilisi, 2011, 2015), Belarus (Minsk, 2014, 2015) , Ukraine ( Kyiv, 2013, 2014, 2016), Portugal (Lisbon, 2015), Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki), etc.
T. Babayev is author of 32 research papers, 2 books and 3 patents in the field of ICT, co-founder and Vice President of AZPMA – the Azerbaijan division of IPMA (International Project Management Association), and Vice President of UNESCO ACCESS-net (Association of Computer Centres for Exploiting Sustainable Synergy).
He is married with 3 children and 2 grandchildren.