On 22 September 2022, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, opened a two-day meeting of the EU Network of Science Advisors and Science Diplomacy Coordinators in Ministries of Foreign, Affairs, which is taking part for the first time in Riga under the chairmanship of the non-staff advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on international cooperation in science, Professor at Riga Technical University (RTU), Dr Toms Torims.
“Scientific cooperation is important to our economy by creating new opportunities to brush up our industrial excellence and create products of high added value. Science diplomacy takes an important place in our foreign economic relations,” Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica underlined in her opening address.
Latvia, being a small economy, mainly focuses on niche areas, thereby advancing expertise in the development of niche products. Such a strategy has been laid down in in the National Industrial Policy Guidelines for 2021-2027.
In the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the Parliamentary Secretary underlined the disastrous global consequences following from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Zanda Kaniņa-Lukaševica called for greater synergy and cooperation among all international, regional and national actors in science in order to provide assistance to Ukraine and phase out the EU’s current dependency on Russian energy resources.
In his presentation, Professor Torims introduced those present to the Baltic Group at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and its successful activities, which has resulted in a significant synergy at all levels – academic and industrial, and that of public administration. Due to cooperation on this scale, scientists have the possibility for developing high-level research projects, for instance, a joint Baltic project for setting up an Advanced Particle (Cancer) Therapy Center, as well as the opportunities for businesses to take part in procurements announced by CERN.
The representative of Latvia in the EU Network of Science Advisors and Science Diplomacy Coordinators in Ministries of Foreign, Affairs is Dr Toms Torims, Professor at Riga Technical University, non-staff advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting is being held in Riga for the first time and takes place on 22 and 23 September. The members of the advisors’ network are attending a number of sessions hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as visiting Riga Technical University and the University of Latvia to gain an insight into Latvia’s achievements in science.