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. 

Photos from the announcement of medal laureates

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).


Edīte Kaufmane, Dr.biol., leading researcher, Unit of Genetic and Breeding, Institute of Horticulture, Full Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
Dalija Segliņa,, Head of the Unit of Processing and Biochemistry, Institute of Horticulture, Corresponding Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
Paweł Górnaś,, leading researcher, Unit of Processing and Biochemistry, Institute of Horticulture

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. 

Pāvels Arsenjans, Dr.chem., leading researcher, Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Full Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
Read the whole article here (pdf).
Jānis Veliks,, leading researcher
Renāte Melngaile, Mg.chem.
Artūrs Sperga
Armands Kazia
Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis
Read the whole article here (pdf). 
Māris Turks, Dr.chem., Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Materials Science and Applied Chemistry, Rīga Technical University, Full Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
Irina Novosjolova, Dr.chem., leading researcher
Ērika Bizdēna, Dr.chem., Professor, Doctor honoris causa, Faculty of Materials Science and Applied Chemistry
Rīga Technical University
Read the whole article here (pdf).

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


Wednesday, 26 May 2021 13:31


Ansis Zariņš, Dr. phys., chief designer, leading reseacher, main software developer
Augusts Rubans, M. sc., chief constructor, researcher
Jānis Balodis, Dr. phys., leading reseacher, software
Inese Vārna, Dr. sc. ing., leading researcher, construction development assistant
Gunārs Silabriedis, Dr. sc. ing., Director, field tests, leading researcher
Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformatics, University of Latvia

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).

Leonīds Ribickis, Dr. habil. sc. ing., Professor, Rector of Rīga Technical University, Full Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
Oskars Krievs, Dr. sc. ing., Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Electrical and Environmental Engineering
Ansis Avotiņš, Mg. sc. ing., Institute of Industrial Electronics and Electrical Engineering
Armands Šenfelds, Mg. sc. ing., Rīga Technical University

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% [5] 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).


Ilze Auziņa, Dr. philol., leading researcher
Normunds Grūzītis, Dr. sc. comp., leading researcher
Guntis Bārzdiņš, Dr. sc. comp., Professor, leading researcher, Corresponding Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Latvia

In: Latvian Academy of Sciences Yearbook 2021, 2021, pp. 81-83.

“The Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab) at the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Latvia (IMCS UL), founded in 1992, conducts research in natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML). Both research directions are closely related and have gained significant boost through the implementation of numerous innovation projects together with industry partners and through the international cooperation. AI Lab particularly focuses on cross-lingual natural language understanding (NLU) and generation (NLG) by combining knowledge-based and machine learning approaches. Our work on NLU includes speech recognition, information extraction and knowledge graph construction from unstructured texts and audio recordings, as well as image and video data. The work on NLG includes text generation from data and abstract meaning representations, as well text-to-speech synthesis.”

Read the whole article here (pdf).

The new A4L_ACTIONS project just started

The kick-off conference of the H2020 project A4L_ACTIONS, connecting thirteen members from the strategic partnership called Alliance4Life, took place on 25.5.2021. This event opened the continuation of the previously well-executed project Alliance4Life, which resulted in the formal existence of a permanent alliance with the same title. This international alliance of leading research institutions and universities operating in the field of biomedical sciences in Central and Eastern Europe will work intensively for the next three years to implement strategies and a number of best practices that have been identified and piloted in the past. The aim of the project is to improve institutional culture and strategic management of involved institutions and to serve as a role model for improving conditions of excellent scientific research in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

The project partners plan to continue to invest into the career development of researchers and to create a supportive environment that would attract talents from around the world. Great emphasis is also placed on the social relevance of research and its innovation potential. A huge benefit for all research organisations from Central and Eastern Europe is the determination of all involved partners to further share their experience at national levels, and to serve as inspiration for the necessary research and innovation policy reforms in their home countries.

Due to the current pandemic situation, the entire conference took place online. More than 200 guests from more than 12 countries, representing the scientific community, academics, and politicians, attended the open plenary session and learned about the ambitious plan of the alliance. The kick-off conference was officially opened by the director of CEITEC Masaryk University, Jiri Nantl, who is also the chairman of Alliance4Life. Jiri Nantl presented the results achieved so far and highlighted challenges that still persist in the region, and will need to be addressed in the years to come.

Martina Dlabajova, Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chairwoman of the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT), presented the other side of the coin. She addressed the participating members and focused on her own area of expertise, which is the efficient use of funds that the European Union invests into science, research and innovation. Dlabajova presented interesting ideas for cooperation between members of the European Parliament and the scientific community that could contribute to the development of the research policy of the EU, and shared valuable insights from the negotiations of the Horizon Europe programme.

Stefan Weiers, Head of Sector, Widening, ERA & Research Infrastructure Programming at the European Commission summarized key messages of the Horizon Europe programme and its goals concerning the Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area. Henriette van Eijl, who leads the unit ‘Economic and Social Transitions’ in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, spoke about desired aims within the EU’s research programmes in health (including COVID-19 R&I actions).

The scientific community was represented by world-class evolutionary biologist Pavel Tomancak, who recently became the new director of the CEITEC Consortium. Tomancak, who has spent most of his professional career abroad, pointed out untapped opportunities in the Widening countries and what active participation in institutional alliances can bring to the scientific community. Coordinator of the alliance, Zlatuse Novotna, presented the ambitious action plan that the Alliance4Life´s members aim to accomplish in the next three years.

The 200 participants in the plenary session came from all 12 participating countries and included about 80 guests who are not official members of the Alliance4Life, but who joined to draw inspiration from this successful international project. The plenary session offered space for questions from the audience and was enriched by inspiring debates. The session was followed by the Alliance4Life´s Steering Committee and Board meeting and separate focus group meetings in various break-out rooms led by focus group chairs.

The conference was a great opportunity to officially introduce the new phase of Alliance4Life´s work plan focused on turning our strategies into concrete actions. Every institute has its own strengths, which inspire others. Together we can implement best practice faster across Central and Eastern Europe and make the research and innovation system in the whole region stronger,” explains Zlatuse Novotna, the coordinator of Alliance4Life.

About Alliance4Life

Alliance4Life´s members aim to contribute to the reduction of the innovation gap by improving institutional culture and implementing effective strategic management in the lower performing countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The alliance brings together progressive life science institutes and universities from Central and Eastern Europe. Their common mission is to promote and strengthen Europe-wide research excellence and its positive impact on society, human health and quality of life. The ten founding members formalized the Alliance's existence as a permanent structure in Vilnius in October 2019 by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, and continued to work together even in the difficult year of 2020. Two new member universities from Bulgaria and Romania were invited to join the consortium for the new project.

Source: CEITEC, Press Release, 25.5.2021.

Guntis Zemītis, Dr. hist., senior researcher, Institute of the Latvian History, University of Latvia, Full Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences

In: Latvian Academy of Sciences Yearbook 2021, 2021, pp. 75-79.

“The 10th All-Russian Archaeological Congress, organised by the Rīga Latvian Society, is considered to have been the main event in Baltic archaeology during the period of the Russian Empire. In his Introduction to the Exhibition Catalogue, R. Hausmann focussed on the Bronze Age, albeit with an indication that it was chiefly represented by artefacts found near the Daugava River, and which had been imported from other regions where bronze processing technology was at a high level – from Scandinavia, or Western Europe. The Iron Age was divided into the oldest period, which lasted until 800 and the newest period until the arrival of Germans at the end of the 12th century. The Courland Society for Literature and Art took an interest in archaeology from the 1860s onward, at which time a number of personalities, such as the artist Julius Döring (1818–1898), the pastor, ethnographer, and linguist August Johann Gottfried Bielenstein (1826–1907), and the senior teacher Carl Boy (1853–?), took part in archaeological excavations of ancient burial sites, and also identified (catalogued) the castle mound. Professor Adalbert Bezzenberger (1851–1922) published, in 1885, a wide-ranging list of castle mounds, and, influenced by this example, A. Bielenstein developed a standard form for recording archaeological data.”

Read the whole article here (pdf).


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