Despite evidence of progress and strong political will, Latvia’s research, innovation and higher education system remains wedded to EU funding cycles, making longer-term planning difficult, according to the Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility (PSF). To boost overall investment and career prospects, as well as innovation capacity in the private sector, PSF experts recommended strategic yet practical courses of action.
A thriving higher education, research and innovation (R&I) ecosystem revolves around several key connections, with the ability to attract and retain young PhD graduates as a top priority. Closer collaboration between academic, research and business sectors is tied to this, as is the need to encourage more private-sector investment in R&I. Latvia is fully aware of these fundamentals – and its overall policy mix is geared towards meeting them – but a disconnect remains between current funding mechanisms and long-term goals.
“In a globalised environment, Latvia can reinforce its human capital by increasing mobility and internationalisation,” says PSF Panel Chair Mariam Camarero, Professor of Economics at the University Jaume I (Castellón, Spain). To encourage PhD graduates to stay in the country, she adds, academic careers need to be stable and clear: “Understanding their valuable contribution to innovation and productivity in Latvian society would provide additional opportunities outside the academic world.”
Between June 2019 and February 2020, the PSF’s R&I policy experts carried out the study at the request of Latvia’s Ministry of Education and Science to help it develop strategic policies and initiatives aimed at boosting the country’s R&I system.
The panel conducted background research, reviewed previous PSF Specific Support findings on Latvia, and interviewed diverse research and higher education stakeholders during two country visits. The findings were turned into a set of five strategic yet practical recommendations in the final report, underpinned by more detailed guidance on how to achieve them in the short, medium and longer terms.
The panel’s findings benefit from illustrative international examples of how other countries implemented such changes to their systems, programmes and incentives. Details of the PSF recommendations and action plan to help Latvia reach its goals are spelt out in the full report, entitled ‘Development of the Human Capital for Research and Innovation in Latvia’.
For further information:
Read the summary article of the Horizon 2020 Specific Support to Latvia II
Read the Final Report of the Horizon 2020 PSF Specific Support to Latvia II
Learn more about the Horizon 2020 PSF Specific Support to Latvia II
Learn more about Horizon 2020 PSF Policy Support Facility