On June 30, 2022, the V International Economic Forum “THE CRISIS AS AN INCENTIVE FOR CHANGE: HUMAN BEING. NATURE. ENTREPRENEURSHIP” will take place at the Latvian Academy of Sciences in Riga.
Scientists, entrepreneurs, politicians and other interested people are invited to participate in the Forum! The program of the event and more information is also available at https://economicforum.lv. Registration and terms of participation see at https://economicforum.lv/tickets/ .
The new ALLEA Board was announced during the annual business meeting held as part of the ALLEA General Assembly on 11 May 2022 in Brussels.
ALLEA Member Academies have elected a new board for the period 2022-2024. Academies were invited to cast up to 8 votes for the board members. The new ALLEA Board is comprised by:
The announcement was made on 11 May during ALLEA’s business meeting, which is held annually as part of the ALLEA General Assembly. This year, the General Assembly is celebrated in Brussels and hosted by the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium (ARB), and the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (KVAB).
The ALLEA Board is elected biennially by the General Assembly and includes ALLEA’s Vice-Presidents and President, who chairs the Board. The president and vice-presidents follow a different electoral cycle.
Source: New ALLEA Board Elected, 11 May 2022.
On April 14, 2022, a Memorandum “On stopping murder and maltreatment of children in Ukraine by applying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child” was signed at the University of Latvia. The Latvian Academy of Sciences is among the initiators and first signatories of the Memorandum.
The purpose of the Memorandum is to appeal to the states - members of the European Union, the UN and NATO to further evaluate and take decisions on Russian aggression against Ukraine from the perspective of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as binding to the member states..
"This would allow war crimes against children of Ukraine to be regarded as a top priority and to be treated more severely and judged more decisively, and would encourage the establishment of a guarantee system to protect against any aggression on children in the future. Everyone is also called upon to be involved in collecting and presenting evidence of crimes perpetrated against children of Ukraine,” says Inguna Ebele, associate professor of medicine and the head of the Board of the Save the Children Society, and the initiator of the Memorandum.
In order to raise public awareness on gathering of evidence, the Memorandum is placed at the international on-line site change.org [https://chng.it/VjdTpCZTqg] for signing.
The online conference "Nuclear Energy for Latvia" will take place on May 18, 2022. Participation in the conference is free of charge.
Among the lecturers is PhD, Dr.hab.phys., vice president of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and deputy director of the Institute of Solid State Physics Andris Šternbergs. He is also a scientific manager of Latvian organization in European consortium for the development of fusion energy Euro Fusion, and a representative of Latvia in the Iter and Euro Fusion commission and Fusion for Energy board.
On 15 March 2022, the Senate of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) decided on awarding the LAS Grand Medal 2022 to Dr.philol. Māra Grudule, LAS full member, lead researcher at the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia, and Prof. Olafs Daugulis, LAS foreign member, Professor at the University of Houston.
|Dr.philol. Māra Grudule is awarded the LAS Grand Medal for researches in the history of Latvian literature and culture.|
|Chemist Prof. Olafs Daugulis is awarded the LAS Grand Medal for outstanding achievements in methodology of organic synthesis and education of young Latvian chemists.|
The Grand Medal is the highest reward which is awarded by the LAS to scientists of Latvia and foreign countries for their outstanding creative contribution. The awarding ceremony usually takes place in November each year during the LAS General Meeting.
#ScienceForUkraine is a community group of volunteer students and research scientists from academic institutions in Europe and around the world.
Our mission is to collect and disseminate information about support opportunities at the university, national, and international level for graduate students and researchers directly affiliated to a ukraine academic institution.
On this website you will find a wide range of paid academic positions for scientists (PhD student or above), academic transfer opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, as well as temporary housing.
The responsibility for collecting and publishing information in each country, also in Latvia, is coordinated, thus avoiding data fragmentation. The Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia shall identify the possibilities of Latvian research institutions and higher education establishments, and develop state support mechanisms for Ukrainian scientists and students. The involvement of Latvian scientific institutions in #ScienceForUkraine is coordinated by the Latvian Association of Young Scientists and supported by the Latvian Academy of Sciences.
More at www.scienceforukraine.eu website!
Latvian Academy of Sciences expresses its full support of the decision taken by ALLEA on 4 March 2022 on suspension of the membership of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. On 24 February 2022 the Latvian Academy of Sciences issued the statement calling upon "the Russian Academy of Sciences and Belarus Academy of Sciences to give an objective assessment of the invasion of Ukraine by the Army of the Russian Federation, and to do everything possible to prevent bloodshed by these armed forces on the territory of the sovereign and independent state of Ukraine".
STATEMENT BY THE ALLEA BOARD ON THE SUSPENSION OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AND THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF BELARUS
4 MARCH 2022
In light of the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine initiated by the Russian government and supported by the Belarusian government, ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, has decided to suspend the membership of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the
National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.
ALLEA restates the European Academies’ commitment to academic freedom and human rights and hopes that efforts to defend democracy and the rule of law will eventually prevail. Conscious of its duty to uphold these fundamental values and giving practical expression to the moral outrage of the academic community, the ALLEA Board decided to enact this extraordinary measure, in line with international sanctions against institutions in the two states.
The Board is aware that this step might have an unintended impact on individual scientists and international scientific collaboration, but it concludes that the ability of these academies to act autonomously and independently from their governments has come into question – and therefore warrants this decision targeting only the institutional level. This suspension will be reconsidered by ALLEA member academies in their upcoming General Assembly on 11 May 2022.
ALLEA reiterates its strongest condemnation of the violent attacks by the Russian government against a sovereign state and expresses its full solidarity with Ukrainian scholars, as conveyed in a statement on 25 February 2022. At the same time, ALLEA also recognises with admiration and support the courage of the Russian and Belarusian scholars, including fellows from the suspended academies, who have spoken out against the criminal actions of their governments at great risk to their physical and professional security.
ALLEA is encouraged by the mobilisation of the global and European scientific community in support of Ukrainian researchers and students, as well as initiatives aimed at safeguarding international scientific ties with those affected by the war. Noteworthy examples include the #ScienceForUkraine movement started as a means to centralise the international support for Ukrainian researchers and students.
Numerous ALLEA member academies have taken similar actions to provide support, including making available funding and hosting instruments for at-risk scientists from Ukraine – a clear manifestation of the academies’ commitment to promoting scientific cooperation beyond borders.
The Latvian Academy of Sciences invites members of the Academy, emeritus scientists, academics and any volunteer to donate funds to support Ukrainian scientists.
Bank account for donations (purpose of payment: "Support for Ukraine scientists"):
The Latvian Academy of Sciences offers free office spaces not only for scientific professionals, but also for entrepreneurs from Ukraine.
We, the Latvian Academy of Sciences as all for whom the unfettered right of peoples to self-determination, freedom and life is not an empty phrase categorically condemn the unprecedented military aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Ukraine has not engaged in any hostile acts against the territory of the Russian Federation, neither against its military facilities or its civilian infrastructure, nor against its people, which could provide a formal pretext for military aggression by the Russian Federation.
On the contrary, it has been the continued interference over many years by the Russian Federation in the internal affairs of Ukraine, its military and economic support for separatists, the annexation of Crimea and clear violation of the Minsk Agreements, together with recognition of breakaway regions of Ukraine as independent states, which are in flagrant violation of international law by the Russian Federation.
When in 1994, Russia, the USA and the UK convinced Ukraine, then possessing the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, to accede to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear weapons state in return for the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, signed by the Russian Federation, the United States and the United Kingdom, which entered into force upon its signature, and which provided for Ukraine to transfer its nuclear weapons to the Russian Federation, with the signatories in return pledging to guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Later, France made a similar written commitment. On 4 December 1994, the government of the People’s Republic of China issued a statement that it would always act as a guarantor of Ukraine to ensure that the interests of Ukraine would be respected provided it renounce nuclear weapons.
Today the Russian Federation has threatened the world with nuclear war were anyone to interfere with its aggression against Ukraine. It has also induced the Republic of Belarus to engage in this war, which represents a massive escalation of hostilities and which poses a direct military threat to other neighbouring countries, and could lead to World War III.
The Latvian Academy of Sciences expresses its full support for Ukraine as a country, and for its freedom-loving people in the struggle against an aggressor. We call upon all governments of the world to take immediate and effective measures to stop Russian aggression, and to restore the sovereign right of Ukraine to its territory as it was before annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of hostilities by Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass region.
We also call upon the Russian Academy of Sciences and Belarus Academy of Sciences to give an objective assessment of the invasion of Ukraine by the Army of the Russian Federation, and to do everything possible to prevent bloodshed by these armed forces on the territory of the sovereign and independent state of Ukraine.
We are with you, the people of Ukraine!
The increase in science funding is still far from adequate and Latvian scientists travel abroad to better work opportunities, Latvian Academy of Sciences president Ivars Kalviņš told Latvian Radio February 17.
According to the amount of funding for science, Latvia is in one of the last places among the countries of the European Union. Kalviņš said that it is very difficult for Latvian science to develop at such a low level of funding.
“But the Latvians have always stood out with their toughness, and Latvian scientists have a great deal of enthusiasm and patriotism, and many of them, despite being offered a well-paid job abroad, remain with us and conduct high-quality scientific studies,” Kalviņš said.
He added that talks about funding for science have always been promising and patriotic, but the action has not really followed.
This year, the increase in funding for the Education and Science Ministry program for science and research is around €3.5 million, but there have been talks of an increase of around €20 million in the past. “Nothing has, unfortunately, come true,” said Kalviņš.
On February 17, the Latvian Academy of Science awarded the best Latvian research achievements of 2021.
Source: eng.lsm.lv .
A large-scale study on the Latvian economy during the pandemic and opportunities of post-crisis recovery has been published, Latvian Television reported February 15.
The research involved the work of 80 economists, lawyers, political scientists and social scientists who describe the pandemic situation and economic opportunities from different viewpoints. The study, conducted over nine months, has been named by the Academy of Sciences as one of the most important achievements in Latvian science of last year.
Experts hope that the study will serve as a handbook for politicians to make decisions based on data and research.
Dean of University of Latvia Faculty of Business, Management and Economy Gundars Bērziņš said: "There is no single industry to be supported. The conclusions are that nearly all industries are to be supported, but only those businesses which will be competitive in post-crisis and crisis conditions."
The monograph is available online in Latvian.
Source: eng.lsm.lv .
Aleksejs Zolotarjovs, a researcher at the University of Latvia Institute of Solid State Physics, is studying coatings with luminescent properties. In the future, such materials could be used in the manufacture of cars and road signs, Latvian Television reported February 9.
“We had to create a coating that can be irradiated by daylight and it will radiate the light at night. All of this is combined with outstanding mechanical qualities. We haven't seen cars that shine at night until now, but perhaps with this technology we can do it sometime in the future,” the researcher said.
Such material could also be used in road signs that would shine in the dark. Use can also be seen in medical treatment establishments in order to protect employees from exposure to X-ray radiation.
“In those establishments, you should make sure that the doctor and visitors do not get an overdose of X-ray. Our coatings could make a whole wall as an element that can then show if an X-ray leak has occurred,” explained the researcher.
Source: Latvian scientists work on luminescent car coatings, lsm.lv, 2/9/2022.
Latvian scientists have concluded after extensive research lasting three years that commercial soy farming can be seriously considered, Latvian Television reported January 28.
“The suggestion for this study came from manufacturers. This is related to the needs of the pig sector – providing protein, providing local raw materials,” said Sanita Zute, lead researcher at the Agroresources and Economics Institute.
Soybeans are the most popular source of plant protein in the world. As climate changes, soybeans could be grown in Latvia on a commercial scale. The main concern has been whether soya farmed in Latvia will have a protein content comparable to the one growing in warmer climates.
“In the project, we tested varieties with the shortest ripening time. Only the early varieties. The findings were that the protein content of soya grown in Latvia is exactly as high as that of soya farmed in Brazil or elsewhere,” said Vita Šterna, lead researcher at the Agroresources and Economics Institute.
The difference was in the size of the harvest, which was lower in Latvia. However, the yield was still economically viable, according to the study.
“It is both economic independence and economic advantage, if we do not have to import something and if we can export the final product, it is, of course, a contribution to the Latvian economy,” said Ivars Kalviņš, president of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.
Researchers see the benefits from soy farming could apply to other industries as well, not just the livestock sector. The food industry could get involved too, especially concerning production of vegan foods.
Source: Latvia could cultivate soybeans in future, lsm.lv, 1/28/2022.
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.