Science excels despite lack of funds

  • 2014-01-09
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Although state funding for science was limited last year, Latvian scientists nevertheless achieved remarkable results, believes Education and Science Minister Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis (Reform Party), reports LETA. During a ceremony at the Latvian Academy of Sciences on Jan. 8 to honor the main achievements in Latvian science in 2013, Dombrovskis said that successful development of science requires close cooperation with producers and manufactures.

He mentioned the pharmaceutical sector where scientists have developed highly successful cooperation with producers, explaining that other scientific research should follow the same pattern. He went on to say that the public should be better informed about scientific achievements in order to popularize them.

The Academy of Sciences President Ojars Sparitis also emphasized Latvian scientists’ achievements despite the low funding. Latvian universities, institutes and research center achievements have been recognized by international juries, patent offices and experts, and these achievements came from a country with the lowest funding for science in the European Union, he said.

Sparitis read out Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis’ address to Latvian scientists, which said that scientists could count on more opportunities in the years to come because of higher European Union funding for science, research and innovation in the 2014-2020 period.

Dombrovskis hopes that the economic breakthrough of Latvia will happen as a result of increasingly more goods and services with high added value, which will improve productivity and create new jobs. According to Dombrovskis, the synergy between science and entrepreneurship is crucial for faster development of innovations.

During the event at the Academy of Sciences, several scientists were honored for their achievements in 2013: quantum theoretician Andris Ambainis, cell researcher Jekaterina Erenpreisa, quantum scientist Vjaceslavs Kascejevs, ethnographer Benita Laumane, Peteris Pildegovics for consolidating the Great Latvian-Chinese Dictionary. Also were awarded research groups from the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Riga Stradins University, Riga Technical University, University of Latvia, Latvia University of Agriculture.