Activities

Activities

The Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS), a key player in Latvia’s scientific landscape and a proud member of the Alliance4Life (A4L) consortium, initiated a discussion on scientific community’s opinion in shaping the new European Union (EU) Framework Program.

On January 16, 2024, a panel discussion was held at the Senate meeting of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) chaired by Prof. Tatjana Koķe. The attendees included members of the LAS Senate, Deputy State Secretary for Higher Education, Science, Space, and Innovation at the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) Jānis Paiders, MoES Science Sector Adviser in Brussels Aleksandrs Mārtiņš Blūms, member of the Expert group on the interim evaluation of “Horizon Europe”, Vice-Rector for Science of RSU Agrita Kiopa, the coordinator of the “Horizon 2020” Teaming program project BBCE Prof. Jānis Ločs, and representatives of LIOS.

Opening the discussion, Osvalds Pugovičs, Deputy Director of LIOS, provided an overview of A4L’s contribution to science policy and institutional governance improvement. Prof. Maija Dambrova (LIOS), a full member of the LAS, presented A4L’s policy paper on the efficiency of WIDESPREAD measures and recommendations for strategic planning for the last phase (2025-2027) of the “Horizon Europe” program and the future Framework Program (2028-2034). The recommendations drew on A4L participants’ experience with EU programs available to Widening region countries—Twinning, Teaming, and ERAChair projects.

“The goal of the A4L is not to wait for help but to find strength within ourselves, share best practices, express the views of progressive scientific organizations to policymakers, and be heard both at the national and EU levels,” emphasized Prof. Maija Dambrova.

A4L highlighted the positive impact of participating in Widening programs – expanded collaboration networks, improved project applications, enhanced administrative efficiency, promoted researcher mobility, and increased institutions’ ability to attract foreign scientists.

As main challenges for further Widening development in Central and Eastern European countries, as identified by A4L, include difficulties in recruiting researchers due to salary disparities, a lack of resources for sustaining research, insufficient international visibility of regional institutions, and inconsistencies in competition calls at European and national levels. A4L advocated for a larger portion of resources to be allocated to research activities in Widening projects, suggesting that the implementation period of Twinning programs is too short for excellent results.

To address these challenges, A4L has prepared several recommendations, urging a shift from promoting excellence to empowering excellence. This involves making research organizations from Widening region countries research and innovation leaders, improving existing programs to support research and innovation directly, and recognizing established Centers of Excellence.

Coordination between the European Commission (EC) and national governments is crucial. A4L suggested strategic coordination in creating new Centers of Excellence, ensuring sustainability, and involving existing Centers of Excellence in EU research policy development processes.

It is recommended to improve coordination of project calls to leverage synergies between EC and national funding support mechanisms. A4L encouraged the widening of the practice of “Seal of Excellence” by supporting, at the national level, high-rated EU project applications that did not receive funding. The need for national research and innovation reforms, researcher career models, internationally open working environments, targeted infrastructure investments, support for outstanding research, and the promotion of existing Centers of Excellence were also emphasized.

Starting the panel discussion, Prof. Maija Dambrova addressed the audience: “Will there be a Widening program in the new Framework Program, and what will it be like? Since the Framework Program is still under development, this is our opportunity to express our opinion. By discussing with each other, we can create our proposals and ensure that they reach policymakers!”

The participants positively acknowledged A4L’s role in shaping science policy and commended LIOS for initiating a significant discussion for Latvian science.

Prof. Jānis Ločs emphasized the potential of Teaming projects in achieving excellence over a 7-year implementation period. He advocated for the continuation and improvement of both the Teaming and Twinning programs, with increased funding for research activities to boost partner interest.

Full member of the LAS, Prof. Andris Šternbergs (coordinator of “Horizon 2020” Teaming project CAMART²) stressed the importance of a good reputation to enter the European and global scientific area:

“We need to come to these programs with our ideas, show that we are at very good the level and can work as equal partners. We need to come in these programs with good infrastructure and established researcher career models.” Prof. Šternbergs emphasized the importance of EraNet projects and COST actions to initiate new collaborations, partly preparing the ground for successful Widening partnerships.

Prof. Šternbergs proposed not limiting consortiums of Teaming projects only to initially selected European partners but providing the opportunity to attract new partners, including from developed third countries.

Agrita Kiopa highlighted the alignment of A4L’s recommendations with those compiled from Latvia’s best research organizations:

“What A4L has compiled and formulated expresses the views of many of our colleagues. I will encourage the expert group to invite A4L to one of the discussions.” Among other things, Dr. Kiopa emphasized the importance of addressing candidates for European Parliament on their position about science policy and shape of the next Framework Program.

Jānis Paiders acknowledged A4L’s regular communication of vital science and innovation issues to the Ministry of Education and Science. Paiders said:

“The Widening program is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Education and Science because in this program, Latvia has shown the best results, and it also highlights the potential of our research organizations.”

In conclusion, the panel participants recognized A4L’s recommendations for mobilizing the Latvian scientific community to actively participate in shaping the new Framework Program. Strengthening this commitment, Jānis Paiders informed that the ministry will soon organize a working group for the formulation of Latvia’s opinion on the 10th Framework Program and invited the audience to participate in its work.

Academician Tatjana Koķe, chairperson of the LAS Senate, ended the discussion by emphasizing the following: "The discussion has started very timely, but it needs to be continued with concrete works. LAS will pay attention to this issue, bringing it up at the political level as well, including holding an exchange of views with candidates for MPs at the nextEuropean Parliament. There must be an action program to be launched, where everyone knows how to lend their hand, share their intelligence and capacity, so that we can get off to a great start in the 10th Framework Program. Being a partner of a follower is not enough, we have to take a leadership position!”

About A4L

Alliance4Life brings together 12 progressive leading Central and Eastern European scientific institutions, whose common mission is to strengthen scientific excellence across Europe, improve scientific performance, and contribute to the health and quality of life of European citizens. Alliance4Life participants: Latvia – LIOS; Czech Republic – Masaryk University/CEITEC and International Clinical Research Center; Slovakia – Biomedical Research Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences; Poland – Medical University of Lodz; Croatia – School of Medicine – University of Zagreb; Estonia – University of Tartu; Lithuania – Vilnius University – Faculty of Medicine; Slovenia – University of Ljubljana; Hungary – Semmelweis University; Bulgaria – Medical University Sofia; Romania – University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila” Bucharest.

Source: Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, 25/01/2024

The Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) has announced winners of the annual Science Achievements’ Competition - top ten achievements were selected from 49 eligible proposals that were submitted for evaluation.

Traditionally the achievements in science are divided in two groups – fundamental science and applied science; the achievements shortlisted for the winners group usually cover a wide scope of research areas – ranging from solid state physics and robotics, biomedicine, pharmacy and chemistry, engineering and agricultural sciences to literary science, art history, philosophy, and economy.

Achievements in Latvian Science 2023 [pdf].

About the competition

The year 2023 marks the 22nd anniversary since the Latvian Academy of Sciences launched the annual science achievement competition. The principal aim of the competition since then has been: annual monitoring of the processes in Latvian science by assessing and naming the most significant achievements of the year. Also, the results and winners of the competition would be popularized among wider public thus contributing to science communication in Latvia. Since 2011, as the competition gained its popularity among researchers and the academic community, the winners are awarded diplomas, and a special awarding ceremony is held. In the following years the event's regular and numerous attendees include its supporters, sponsors, media representatives and other stakeholders. This annual event highlights and celebrates the excellence in Latvian science and research.

Friday, 22 December 2023 16:19

Season's Greetings!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at at 15.00 PM the diploma awarding ceremony will be held for the new members elected at the autumn General meeting of the Latvian Academy of Sciences this year. Among them the Academy welcomes two new foreign members: Rotraut Merkle – Ph.D. (1998), senior research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Stuttgart, Germany, and Luboš Švec – Ph.D. (1988), historian at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. 

List of the new members (in Latvian).  

The laureates of the 2023 Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) Grand Medal, according to the decision of the LAS Senate of March 21, 2023, are Dr.med.vet. Aivars Bērziņš, full member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, and Ph.D. Pauls Stradiņš, LAS foreign member. The on-line presentation of the laureate Pauls Stradiņš will take place on November 23, during the LAS Autumn General meeting, while the presentation of Aivars Bērziņš is due to take place at the LAS Spring General meeting in April 2024.

Dr. Aivars Bērziņš has been acknowledged with the highest award of the Latvian Academy of Sciences for significant achievements in molecular epidemiology studies of zoonotic pathogens important to public health.

Dr. Pauls Stradiņš’ research work is distinguished with the highest award of the Latvian Academy of Sciences for significant accomplishments in the field of silicon photovoltaics and long-term practical cooperation with Latvian scientists.

For more information please visit the LAS website (in Latvian). 

The regular Autumn General Meeting of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) will convene on Thursday, November 23, 2023, starting at 2PM. Conferring of the LAS Grand Medal 2023 and the elections of new members of the academy are on the agenda of the meeting. The Senate of the LAS has announced 11 vacancies for full members, 14 vacancies for corresponding members and 2 vacancies for foreign members. 

The LAS Grand Medal is awarded to PhD Pauls Stradiņš*, LAS foreign member, for outstanding achievements in the field of silicon photovoltaics and long-term practical cooperation with Latvian scientists.

The second laureate of the LAS Grand Medal – Dr.med.vet. Aivars Bērziņš, LAS full member - will be honoured at the LAS Spring General Meeting in April 2024. Aivars Bērziņš is awarded the LAS Grand Medal for the research on the molecular epidemiology of zoonotic pathogens having significant impact on public health.

Agenda

  1. Receiving ballots and voting takes place at the Registration.
  2. Introduction by the LAS President Ivars Kalviņš.
  3. Awarding of the LAS Grand Medal 2023 to Pauls Stradiņš, LAS foreign member.
  4. Laudatio for LAS Grand Medal 2023 laureate Pauls Stradiņš by academician Linards Skuja.
  5. Academic report by LAS Grand Medal 2023 laureate Pauls Stradiņš. 

*  https://www.nrel.gov/research/staff/pauls-stradins.html

 

Information:
Dr. Alma Edžiņa
Scientific secretary, Senate of the LAS
Tel.: +371) 67223931
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NAS RK president Dr. Kunsulu Zakarya and LAS president Prof. Ivars Kalvins. Photo - Jānis Brencis.

 

On Thursday, September 21, 2023, as part of the VI International Economic Forum, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Latvian Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NAS RK) under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan was signed at the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) on cooperation in the field of science. The memorandum was signed by LAS president Prof. Ivars Kalviņš and NAS RK president Dr. Kunsulu Zakarya. The meeting was also attended by the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Latvia H.E. Timur Primbetov and the embassy representatives.

The memorandum envisages the development of cooperation between the two institutions in earth and space research, communication sciences, agrobiological resources and ecology research, life and health sciences, education, humanities and social sciences.

The memorandum envisages that the parties will carry out the cooperation between scientific and research institutions according to their capabilities and needs, including exchange of experience, joint projects, education and training of experts and researchers.

The Kazakh delegation also visited the Biomedical Research and Study Center (BMC) on September 21. Academician Jānis Kloviņš, chairman of BMC's Scientific Council, introduced the guests to the Center’s activities, BMC's deputy director for scientific infrastructure issues, LAS corresponding member Dāvids Fridmanis introduced BMC's laboratories.

On September 22, the representatives of the Kazakhstan NAS visited the Institute of Organic Synthesis of Latvia (OSI). Director of OSI, LZA corresponding member Osvalds Pugovičs told about OSI's work directions and achievements, as well as introduced to the institute's laboratories.

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 Foto – Jānis Brencis.

VI International Economic Forum "OPEN INNOVATIONS: from the Creativity of the Individual to Science-Based Innovative Economy" will take place this year. September 21 and 22 at the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Akadēmijas Square 1, Riga.

The purpose of the VI International Economic Forum is to analyze the role of human creativity and the potential of international ecosystems in the development of open innovation, as well as to present the world's best practices and evidence-based practical solutions to achieve a higher level of well-being in our globalized society.

The practice successfully established in the I, II, III, IV and V Economic Forums will be continued, that the Forum serves as a platform for exchange of experience and cooperation between scientists, entrepreneurs and politicians, stimulating the entry of foreign and local investments and innovative national economy in the long term. You can find the results of previous forums at https://economicforum.lv. 

Program

For information:
Renars Raubiškis
LAS EI project manager
Phone. +371 20207092
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photo - Karolin Koster.

On September 5, 2023, in collaboration with the Baltic States’ Academies of Sciences and UNESCO National Commissions, L’Oréal awarded seven talented female scientists in the prestigious Baltic Young Talents Program for Women in Science. Among them two doctoral students - M.sc.ing. Katrīna Laganovska and M.sc.biol. Cristina Bajo Santos - and Dr.chem. Liene Grigorjeva from Latvia. 

Doctoral student  M.sc.ing. Katrīna Laganovska is a researcher at the Institute of Solid State Physics of the University of Latvia. She receives teh award for a project on the study of optical properties and defects in ferroelectric metal oxides. This will allow further research into ferroelectric field effect transistors, which, if successful and scalable, could be used in next-generation computers, opening the door to a whole new computer architecture.

Doctoral student M.sc.biol. Cristina Bajo Santos is a researcher at the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Center. She is receiving support for the development of a new, non-invasive method for the diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of prostate cancer. It will make it possible to obtain data on the presence of tumor-secreted RNA-type biomarkers in men's urine and blood plasma samples faster and easier. This approach is expected to facilitate early diagnosis of prostate cancer and reduce mortality from prostate cancer.

Dr.chem. Liene Grigorjeva is the leading researcher of the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS) in the Organic Synthesis Methodology group and a member of the LIOS Scientific Council. Dr.chem. Liene Grigorjeva is recognized for developing a methodology using affordable, non-toxic cobalt catalysts to synthesize valuable organic compounds. These methods yield new as well as known compounds with useful properties, aligning with modern resource efficiency and environmental standards. The title of the awarded research is “Cobalt-Catalyzed C-H Bond Functionalization.”

During the ceremonial award presentation at the Estonian Academy of Sciences in Tallinn, the laureates were greeted by the former President of Latvia (1999-2007), the patroness of the Baltic Young Talents Program for Women in Science, Academician Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga:

“Women in science have been rare for a long time. However, even ancient history has distinguished examples. For instance, Hypatia, the distinguished mathematician of Alexandria, was gruesomely murdered by fanatics of her day simply for being a woman of science. Science, in fact, has been in constant battle against unreason, superstition, and fanaticism throughout its history. The rule of reason is what keeps us from savagery, cruelty, and injustices.”

She wished the young scientists:

“There is a vast universe out there, full of unknowns, despite all the efforts and generations we have dedicated to exploring it. I believe it is a noble mission to continue forward, to do your part, and to strive for your best. I wish you both professional and personal success because your personal happiness is an integral part of your life too.”

Ivars Kalviņš, the President of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, pointed out that this year, 36 young female scientists from Latvia applied for the program, including 17 Ph.D. holders and 19 doctoral students, submitting high-quality research projects.

The Women in Science program in Latvia was established 19 years ago by program patron Dr. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga (President of Latvia from 1999 to 2007). Currently, the Women in Science program is implemented by L’Oréal in collaboration with the Academies of Sciences of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, as well as UNESCO National Commissions.

 Photo gallery https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.641299361314729&type=3 

 FWIS 2023 Katrina Laganovska WP1  photo by Janis Deinats   

FWIS 2023 Cristina Bajo Santos WP1  photo by Janis Deinats

FWIS 2023 Liene Grigorjeva WP1  photo by Janis Deinats

M.sc.ing. Katrīna Laganovska, doktorante M.sc.biol. Cristina Bajo Santos and Dr.chem. Liene Grigorjeva.

Photo - Jānis Deinats.

L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Young Talents program Baltic Awards Ceremony. Sept. 5, 2023

 

 

LAS Secretary General Baiba Rivža, LAS foreign member Nikolai Javakhishvili, LAS President Ivars Kalviņš. Photo - Jānis Brencis.

On Monday, June 19, 2023, at the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Dr.hist. Nikolai (Niko) Javakhishvili, professor at the Institute of History and Ethnology of the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, was presented with a diploma of a foreign member of the LAS. Prof. N. Javakhishvili was elected a foreign member of the LAS on November 24, 2022, at the LAS Autumn General Meeting. On June 10, 2014, Niko Javakhishvili was awarded the degree of Dr.honoris causa of the LAS.

This time Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University medal and diploma was presented to the LAS President Prof. Ivars Kalviņš for his contribution to the development of scientific cooperation between the two scientific institutions.

 

JB 0068 fotobrencis@inbox.lv   JB 0279 fotobrencis@inbox.lv

The recently published policy paper on the Efficiency of the Widening Measures, presented by Alliance4Life, provides valuable insights and recommendations based on the experiences of twelve progressive life science institutions and universities from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

The paper focuses on the widening measures Twinning, Teaming, and ERA Chairs, examining their impact, challenges, and sustainability at both national and European levels. The main objective of the document is to contribute to the strategic planning of Horizon Europe for the next period (2025-2027) and subsequent Horizon programmes. It builds upon Alliance4Life's previous recommendations for Horizon Europe and aims to address the research and innovation (R&I) gap between Western and Eastern Europe.

The findings are based on interviews with representatives from Alliance4Life member institutions who have been involved in various widening actions. The interviews revealed several positive outcomes, including improved scientific cooperation, enhanced grant writing skills and administrative capacity, increased researcher mobility, and the ability to attract distinguished researchers from abroad. However, concerns were raised regarding the allocation of resources in widening projects, suggesting that a greater proportion of funding should be directed towards research activities rather than networking and administrative tasks.

The policy paper presents key recommendations for the EU, national governments, and research institutions. Firstly, it suggests shifting the EU widening paradigm from supporting to empowering, emphasising the need to enable widening institutions to become R&I leaders themselves. This entails establishing schemes that allow for actual research and innovation activities, fostering a sense of leadership among researchers from widening countries, and recognising existing Centres of Excellence (CoEs) in these countries. Secondly, the paper highlights the importance of coordination between the EU and national governments in terms of the concertation of R&I capacities. It calls for strategic coordination in establishing new Centres of Excellence, ensuring sustainability, and involving existing CoEs in research policy development processes at the EU level. Thirdly, the policy paper emphasises the need for better coordination of calls and the utilisation of synergies between different funding instruments. It suggests harmonising the application process and scheduling calls to reduce the administrative burden on widening institutions.

The establishment of a Seal of Excellence Community of Practice is proposed to facilitate information sharing and best practices. 2 www.alliance4life.eu Lastly, the paper stresses the urgency of speeding up strategic changes at national, regional, and institutional levels. It calls for national R&I reforms, modern career paths for researchers, an international-friendly environment, targeted infrastructure investments, support for excellent research, promotion of existing CoEs, and addressing administrative capacity issues.

In conclusion, the policy paper on the Efficiency of the Widening Measures provides valuable insights and recommendations to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of widening actions in the field of life sciences. By empowering widening institutions, improving coordination between EU and national governments, enhancing synergies, and implementing strategic changes, the EU can bridge the R&I gaps and create a more efficient and competitive European Research Area.

Download the full version of the policy paper HERE.

On April 21, 2023, in Riga, within the framework of the 18th Baltic Conference on Intellectual Cooperation, the Protocol to the cooperation agreement between the Academies of Sciences of the Baltic states concluded on November 12, 1991 (Protocol to the Agreement on Scientific Cooperation between the Estonian Academy of Sciences, the Latvian Academy of Sciences and the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences), was signed. The Protocol, amended bi-annually, was signed by Prof. Tarmo Soomere, the President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Ivars Kalviņš, the President of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and Prof. Jūras Banys, the President of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.

At the meeting of the Presidents Prof. Mats Gyllenberg, Permanent Secretary of the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, and Prof. Ivars Kalviņš, the President of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, signed a Memorandum on cooperation in research between Latvian Academy of Sciences and Societas Scientiarium Fennica.

The Memorandum envisages cooperation in oganisation of the joint scientific events – conferences, meetings, lectures; promotion of exchange of young researchers and students; exchange of experience in academic management and external relations, etc.

Referring to possible priority objectives, the signatories of the Memorandum agreed to develop cooperation in the following fields of common interest:

- Mathematics and natural sciences;
- Life sciences (healthcare, biomedicine, biotechnology);
- Sustainable agriculture and food safety;
- Environment and ecology;
- Social and economic sciences, humanities and art history.
 

JB 1733 fotobrencis@inbox.lv  JB 1865 fotobrencis@inbox.lv

Prof. Mats Gyllenberg and Prof. Ivars Kalviņš; Prof. Jūras Banys, Prof. Ivars Kalviņš, Prof. Tarmo Soomere. Photo - Jānis Brencis. 

Thursday, 20 April 2023 14:14

The Baltic Science Academies’ Medal 2023

PHOTO GALLERY  (Jānis Brencis)

According to the decision of the Medal awarding competition commission, the Medal of the Baltic Science Academies in 2023 is awarded to:

Academician Dr. Jūras Banys (Lithuania) for strengthening cooperation between the academies of sciences in the Baltic region, and for his outstanding scientific achievements in physics.

Academician Dr. Baiba Rivža (Latvia) for strengthening cooperation between the Baltic Academies of Sciences, and outstanding research achievements in economics.

Dr. Arvi Hamburg (Estonia) for the substantial contribution to energy transition and for the shaping future energy policy for the entire Baltic region.

The awarding ceremony will take place on the second day of the 18th Baltic Conference on Intellectual Cooperation, on April 21, at 13.30 in the Portrait Hall of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.

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