RIGA - Earlier this week, the Council of the European Space Agency (ESA) approved Latvia's accession as an associate member of ESA, which will open up new opportunities for Latvian scientists and entrepreneurs to cooperate with the European space industry, the Education and Science Ministry told LETA.
This will also promote the development of research and studies at higher education institutions, contributing to the development of a higher added value economy in Latvia.
The ESA Convention stipulates that at least 85 percent of Latvia's financing of EUR 3 million annually will return to Latvia and become available to Latvian high-tech companies and research institutions to further develop space technologies, innovations, services and their commercialization on the global market. Part of the funding from the member states' contributions makes up ESA's budget, which is used to maintain the ESA infrastructure and create new programs for further development of the space sector.
The Education and Science Ministry emphasizes that becoming an associate member of ESA is an investment in the people of Latvia, as participation in European space missions and consortia will make it possible for employees to improve their skills and competencies in space industry, for students to study at ESA technology centers and learn from ESA experts, for teachers to learn how to teach STEM subjects more effectively. It is also an investment in economic growth and opportunity for Latvian companies and research institutions that will help them improve their competitiveness and improve cooperation between industry and research.
Latvia's cooperation with ESA began in 2009 when Latvia signed a cooperation agreement with ESA, which was followed by the conclusion of the European Cooperating State Agreement in 2015.