An innovative and very high-speed thermoelectric radiation sensor has been developed by the Latvian University (LU) Institute of Solid State Physics. It makes it possible to measure the intensity of infrared radiation, Latvian Television reported on January 12.
The new sensor will make it possible to produce more accurate equipment for laser surgery, welding, and laser engraving.
“This sensor is very high speed – capable of recording very fast laser impulses that are normally used, for example, in laser surgery. There are lasers where the pulses cannot be measured individually. They are measured in an integrated long period of time and mean values are obtained. In principle, it works, but it is not particularly good, because the intensity of the laser varies from pulse to pulse,” explained Mārtiņš Rutkis, a scientist at the LU Institute of Solid State Physics.
The sensor developed in Latvia works a thousand times faster than those currently available on the market.
“This is the first very quickly working sensor that allows you to work in real-time mode. You can measure at the same time that this pulse has emerged,” said Ivars Kalviņš, president of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.
The Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) has announced winners of the annual Science Achievements’ Competition - top eleven achievements were selected from 42 eligible proposals that were submitted for evaluation. Eleven achievements were acknowledged with the Diploma of the Academy.
Traditionally the achievements in science are divided in two groups – theoretical 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 IT technologies, biomedicine and genome studies, pharmacy and chemistry, engineering and agricultural and forest sciences to archaeology, philosophy, economy and linguistics.
About the competition
The year 2021 marks the 20th anniversary since the Latvian Academy of Sciences launched the annual science achievement competition. The authors of the initiative – academics Jānis Stradiņš and Jānis Kristapsons – formulated the principal aim of the competition: 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 development of 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 stakeholders, and it has become the most festive event of the year that highlights and celebrates the excellence in Latvian science.
Members of Alliance4Life recently conducted the mapping of best practices in career systems in life sciences research, including the self-assessment of human resources (HR) systems in twelve research organisations in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, and are committed to working hard to offer better conditions for the career development of their researchers. The detailed report presents a very useful set of best practices and is also freely available to other research organisations that are striving to improve their human resource practices in order to attract, develop and motivate talent.
The international alliance of twelve leading research institutions and universities operating in the field of life sciences have worked intensively for the past six months to perform self-assessment programmes in order to select best practices in HR areas. Members of Alliance4Life discussed the career systems applied at individual institutions and defined nine main priorities and areas of interest: 1) HR excellence in research-award implementation, 2) career development/system and career track, 3) mobility and internships, 4) strengthening of group leaders as managers, 5) recruitment: an increase of both quantity and quality of applicants, 6) internationalisation and recruitment of people from abroad, 7) welcome services and integration support, 8) diversity, equal opportunities, and women in science, and 9) culture in science, and culture of the institute as a HR tool.
Based on self-assessment, and with provided inputs by all partners, a summary of best practices in career systems in Life Science research was formulated. All partners were asked to discuss the career system in their institution and make a self-assessment in order to grade the proposed areas in three grades: missing system, basic and advanced.
Basic self-assessment confirmed that HR systems in research organisations in the CEE region are rather less developed. A positive aspect of this exercise was the realisation that in all nine HR areas, at least one institution was graded as advanced and can therefore share its best practices with the others. Among the least developed areas were: strengthening of group leaders as managers, welcome services for foreign employees and integration support, culture in science, and culture of the institute as a HR tool.
Out of all twelve partners of the A4L, six institutions are holders of the prestigious HR Excellence in Research Award. Out of six holders of the HR Excellence in Research Award, CEITEC MU and the Medical University of Lodz evaluated themselves as “advanced” in the system of the award implementation. CEITEC MU focuses on the overall organisation of the “HR Award” and presents the process from the decision to apply for the award, the application preparation and continuous work on the implementation of the action plan and its assessment. CEITEC has integrated the HR Award implementation into the standard operation of the institute. The Medical University of Lodz focuses on the implementation phase. As good practice they present the experience with a two-step study – quantitative and qualitative research, which was designed by the Department of Sociology of MUL and conducted among all stages of researchers at the university.
The “career development/system and career track” area could be considered as the most advanced in Alliance4Life, measured by the highest number of advanced grades (three Alliance4Life members) and by the low number of “missing system” grades (two Alliance4Life members). CEITEC MU presents its formal career system and its practical implementation in the form of career development opportunities for various groups of researchers. Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis also presents a structure and rules of its career system and adds two interesting tools (motivation system and internal grants for students). The University of Tartu presents how the university responded to the amendment of the national law, which gave universities more flexibility in developing career models, including the adoption of principles of retiring with the emeritus status.
Regarding mobility and internships, clear strategy, concrete goals and experiences are presented by the University of Tartu and by the Medical University Sofia. The University of Tartu emphasises that they signed a considerable number of bilateral partnership agreements with universities abroad which provide for exchanges of students and researchers, as well as other cooperation in teaching and research. Around 20% of academic staff participated in mobility; within various programmes, staff members travelling abroad in the year was close to 70%. The Medical University Sofia has officially signed more than 150 institutional agreements for academic exchange and 33 memorandums of academic cooperation. They present stages in the process of implementing the actions of mobility as well as consequences of good practices for the implementation of teacher mobility and overall cooperation between the universities.
Best practices in career systems in life science research also identified some shortcomings to be addressed in the future. There is a challenge in the area of combining careers in medical/life sciences (research at the university/research centre and at hospital) – none of the Alliance4Life members considered its system as “advanced”. We are still missing best practices in this area. And we are missing a standardized monitoring tool for the grading and assessment of progress in HR/career systems. An important aspect that complicates the implementation of advanced systems from one institution to another is the national context (national legislation, and related (de)centralisation of HR management). The partners identified general factors/enablers enhancing positive, institutional change that are valid across not only nine HR areas, but also across individual countries and institutions. These factors make career system upgrades functional and sustainable in the long run.
In the CEE, efficient human resource management and modern career progression systems are often absent. Innovating and implementing the career systems of the partner institutions is expected to tackle this issue. Best practices in career systems in life science research gives us a starting point for the future evaluation of progress in HR management of all Alliance4Life members. The resulting set of best practice measures, proven through operation, will be presented to the board, representing all member institutions, at the Alliance4Life´s community meeting in April 2022. The partners will internally discuss how to use the best practice to improve their HR management, and how it could lead to better scientific performance and employee satisfaction. In addition, the achieved results will be used for the formulation of the consecutive deliverable “report on advances in career system upgrades”, with the aim of monitoring progress at the level of Alliance4Life members and their HR management systems.
On 25 November 2021, the awarding of The Edvīns Vedējs Prize took place during the General Meeting of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS). Dr.chem. Marija Skvorcova was the first to receive the prize.
Edvīns Vedējs (Edwin Vedejs, 1941–2017) was a prominent organic chemist of Latvian origin, who worked in USA, and was a foreign member of the LAS. Edvīns Vedējs carried out remarkable studies on organic chemistry methodology. In the 1990s he started education of Latvian chemists in USA and Latvia. The Edvīns Vedējs Prize, established in 2021 together with the Riga Technical University Development Fund, is an award for young scientists for outstanding achievements in organic chemistry.
Photo by Jānis Brencis.
On Thursday, November 25, 2021, the regular Autumn General Meeting of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) is scheduled to convene beginning from 2PM. Taking into consideration the security measures in force due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemia, the meeting will be held as a hybrid event – LAS administration representatives, speakers and awardees attend the meeting in person, while LAS members and other stake-holders are welcome to participate virtually via ZOOM.
- Introduction by the LAS President Ivars Kalviņš.
- Awarding of the LAS Grand Medal to Year 2020 laureates Andrejs Ērglis and Eduards Kļaviņš, and to Year 2021 laureate Edīte Kaufmane.
- Awarding of the laureates of LAS Prizes.
- Laudatio for LAS Grand Medal Year 2021 laureate Jānis Spīgulis by academician Modris Greitāns, Head of the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science.
- Awarding of the LAS Grand Medal Year 2021 laureate Jānis Spīgulis.
- “Light in Skin,” academic lecture by Jānis Spīgulis.
- Announcement of the results of the LAS new members' elections.
Following the decision of the Latvian Academy of Sciences’ (LAS) Senate, the extraordinary LAS General Meeting is to convene on Wednesday, 27 October 2021, at 2PM. Taking into consideration the recent government announcement of the introduction of strengthened security measures as of 21 October 2021, the LAS General Meeting will be held online. Therefore, the agenda of the meeting is shortened and adjusted to a virtual mode, excluding from it the awarding ceremony of the laureates of 2020 LAS Prizes.
General Meeting Agenda
- Introduction by the LAS President Dr. Ivars Kalviņš.
- Virtual awarding of the LAS Grand Medal to Edīte Kaufmane.
- Laudatio for Edīte Kaufmane by Inese Ebele, Head of the Horticulture Institute.
- “Development of horticulture and horticulture science – accomplishments and challenges”, academic lecture by Edīte Kaufmane.
- Report by LAS Secretary General Baiba Rivža on LAS activities in 2020.
- Report by Chair of LAS Supervisory Council Juris Krūmiņš.
On 8 October, the digital meeting of the Joint Jury of the Baltic Assembly took place. During the meeting, members of the Joint Jury decided that the winners of the Baltic Assembly Prize in 2021 are Vahur Afanasjev (Laanoja) (1979-2021) (Estonia) in Literature, Ginta Gerharde-Upeniece (Latvia) in the Arts and Virginijus Šikšnys (Lithuania) in Science.
Vahur Afanasjev (Laanoja) was nominated for his novel “Serafima ja Bogdan” (“Serafima and Bogdan”, published in 2017), Ginta Gerharde-Upeniece - for the direction of the international exhibition project “Wild Souls. Symbolism in the Art of the Baltic States” and Virginijus Šikšnys - for exceptional achievements in biomedical sciences – pioneering research in CRISPR-Cas9 Genome editing.
Among the Jury members there are highly acknowledged artists and experts from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - Valdemaras Razumas, Erika Drungytė, Petras Skirmantas, Rimantas Jankauskas, Bārbala Simsone, Diāna Lagūna, Guna Zeltiņa, Triin Soone, Piret Tibbo-Hudgins and Marika Mänd.
The aim of the Prize is to support outstanding achievements in literature, the arts and science; demonstrate the common interests of the countries in this region in upholding of their national identity and self-esteem; create an opportunity to learn about the achievements of the neighbouring countries; maintain a continuous interest among the people in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia about developments in the Baltic states; strengthen cooperation among the Baltic states in the fields of literature, the arts and science; encourage more and more people to become interested in the intellectual values and languages of the Baltic nations; and raise the level of literature, the arts and science in the Baltic states.
The Prize consists of a monetary prize, a certificate and a statuette, which are awarded annually during the Session of the Baltic Assembly.
More at Baltic Assembly website (8 Oct 2021).
The laureates of the Medal of the Baltic Academies of Sciences were announced at the Baltic Conference on Intellectual Cooperation “Mathematics for Society” taking place at the Estonian Academy of Sciences.
The members of the academy of sciences of the three countries received the dignified award:
Tiit Tammaru, Professor of Urban and Population Geography at the University of Tartu,
Andris Ambainis, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Latvia,
Valdemaras Razumas, Professor of Chemistry at Vilnius University.
The winner of the honorary medal of the Baltic Academies of Sciences is Edwin Kreuzer, the President of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg and Professor of Mechanics at the Technical University of Hamburg.
Tiit Tammaru was awarded for his scientific excellence on urban and population geography, successful implementation of mathematical analysis of social processes and for making the hidden processes in society perceivable, visible and understandable.
Andris Ambainis was awarded the Baltic Academy medal for scientific excellence in research centered around developing new algorithms for quantum computers. Prof. Ambainis has developed quantum walks into a major method for constructing quantum algorithms and invented the quantum adversary method for proving optimality of quantum algorithms
Valdemaras Razumas got the prize for strengthening scientific cooperation between the Baltic countries in his role as a president of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences and a vice-minister of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania.
Edwin Kreuzer was awarded for the advancement of scientific cooperation between the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg and the Baltic Academies of Sciences.
The Medal of the Baltic Academies of Sciences has been awarded since 1999 at the Baltic Conferences on Intellectual Cooperation.
The Medal of the Baltic Academies is awarded for contribution to promoting cooperation of the Baltic States and for achievements in science. Previous laureates can be found on the website of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.
Source: Estonian Academy of Sciences (28/06/2021).
Sandra Muižniece-Brasava, PhD, Faculty of Food Technology, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Corresponding Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
In: Latvian Academy of Sciences Yearbook 2021, 2021, pp. 124-127.
“In Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Faculty of Food Technology Centre for Studies and Science, research is carried out at all stages of the chain, from the research of raw materials, development of recipes and technologies, selection of packaging, determination of an optimal sales time and quality testing during the storage of the developed products. The main research areas are: – new products from plant and animal raw materials, their nutritional studies; – solutions for the use of food production by-products for the production of high value-added products (niche products); – food safety and risks analysis; – research of biologically active substances in food raw materials and products; – food waste reduction options and packaging optimisation studies.”
Read the whole article here (pdf).
In: Latvian Academy of Sciences Yearbook 2021, 2021, pp. 121-123.
“In Latvia, Japanese quince is considered to be a significant commercial crop (558 ha in 2020, incl. 235 ha organic). During the last five years, the area of plantations in Latvia has increased four times showing that cultivation of Japanese quince becomes more popular every year. A similar trend is also observed in countries of Baltic see region, e.g., Poland. Market demand for fruit shows an upward trend with the pointing to ecological “BIO” products, therefore popularity of organic orchards can be observed. However, the quality of the Japanese quince fruits currently available on the market is diverse, since most of the growing areas are still planted using seedling material.”
Read the whole article here (pdf).
Arvīds Barševskis, Dr. biol., Professor, Vice Rector for Science at Daugavpils University, Full Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
In: Latvian Academy of Sciences Yearbook 2021, 2021, pp. 117-120.
“Science that studies beetles is called coleopterology. This name comes from the Latin name of the beetle order Coleoptera. Daugavpils University has the only coleopterological research centre in Latvia and the Baltic, which is well-known in the world. One of the research directions that beetle researchers at Daugavpils University are developing is the research of tropical beetle biodiversity. Tropical rainforests are currently one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. Forests are cut down in huge numbers, giving way back to palm gardens and livestock pastures. At the same time, tropical forests have the highest biodiversity in the world and are very poorly studied in a number of regions. Beetle researchers at Daugavpils University mainly specialise in the study of beetle diversity in the Philippine archipelago.”
Read the whole article here (pdf).
Doliops daugavpilsi Barševskis, 2014.
- CONTROVERSIAL SELENIUM: UNIQUENESS IN THE SHADOW OF TOXICITY
- NEW REAGENTS FOR FLUOROMETHYLENE TRANSFER CHEMISTRY
- RECENT DEVELOPMENTS OF AZIDOPURINE AND TRIAZOLYLPURINE CHEMISTRY AT RĪGA TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY
The Estonian Academy of Sciences is honoured to convene the 17th Baltic Conference on Intellectual Cooperation (BCIC) in Tallinn on 28–29 June 2021. The event includes a meeting of the Presidents of Academies around the Baltic Sea and the Pre-seminar on Energetics.
The main theme Mathematics for Society is motivated by massive contribution of many scientists into the analysis of processes during the COVID-19 pandemic and design of the exit strategy of this pandemic. While the efforts of medical experts and life scientists have been widely recognised, the related developments in exact sciences, informatics, and engineering are still to be acknowledged and appreciated.
Conference will be held in English. Follow the live broadcast of the Conference on the webpage of the Estonian Academy of Sciences!
Programme [ Estonian Academy of Sciences].
About the Baltic Conferences on Intellectual Co-operation [Estonian Academy of Sciences].
Source: Estonian Academy of Sciences
In: Latvian Academy of Sciences Yearbook 2021, 2021, pp. 90-95.
“Efficient portable digital zenith camera (accuracy ~0.1 arcsec) was developed at the Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformatics (GGI) of the University of Latvia by a team that previously specialised in developing software and hardware for astrogeodetic cameras and satellite laser ranging devices. The innovation of Latvian DZC development is based on recent achievements in various sciences – fast and accurate digital imaging technology, extremely accurate super-large reference star coordinate catalogues, very sensitive electronic tilt meter technologies, available high-precision Earth rotation parameters, and GNSS-based high-precision positioning and timing capabilities.”
Read the whole article here (pdf).
Roberts Eglītis, Dr. phys., Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia, Full Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
In: Latvian Academy of Sciences Yearbook 2021, 2021, pp. 88-89.
“One of the three Nobel Prize winners in chemistry in 2019, J. Goodenough (USA), in 1980, discovered the cathode material for 4 Volt batteries LiCoO2. Nowadays, consumer electronics widely use lithium-ion batteries containing LiCoO2 , for example, in laptop computers, cellular telephones, electric vehicles as well as airplanes and even cosmic technologies. One frequently discussed direction to improve the performance of 4 Volt batteries is the development of a family of 5 Volt cathode materials. We were the first in the world to theoretically predict that also a 5 Volt battery is possible. Namely, by means of a Full Potential Linearized Augmented Plane Wave (FP-LAPW) calculations for Li2 CoMn3 O8 battery cathode material we got the average battery voltage for this material around 5 Volt.”
Read the whole article here (pdf).
In: Latvian Academy of Sciences Yearbook 2021, 2021, pp. 84-87.
“The main advantage, however, of integrating industrial robots in a common DC supply system is the possibility to recuperate the braking energy, which leads to considerable energy savings. The level of savings depends on the robot count within a production cell, as well as on the robot motion patterns and tasks. Measurements acquired in the demonstration production cell of Daimler, showed that while carrying out real-life production tasks the novel DC-grid production cell could save up to 13.2%  compared to the traditional AC-grid supplied system. These impressive results surely played a significant role in encouraging Daimler AG to initiate the expensive and ambitious project entitled “Factory 56”.”
Read the whole article here (pdf).