Latvia's scientists will get individual funding for the first time

For the first time, Latvia's best scientists will receive funding for individual research projects, the Education and Science Ministry (IZM) said November 12.

The contest for individuals in fundamental and applied research (FLP) will fund 107 projects in all scientific sector groups for a total amount of €10.74 million. Each of the 107 scientists will receive €100 389 for their research, according to information from the Latvian Council of Science (LZP).

The 107 projects to be funded represent 31% of the total number of projects submitted, the highest proportion of projects financed so far in FLP contests. The results of the scientific evaluation of the competition are available on the LZP website.

IZM said that the implementation of individual research projects will have a direct impact on the economic recovery by encouraging the transformation of the economy into higher value added products and services.

Given the prevalence of COVID-19 disease and the challenges it poses, some projects are expected to contribute to the mitigation of COVID-19 effects.

"Individual research grants are an important instrument for supporting the most prominent Latvian professors and other academic staff, and they will ensure a more successful transition from the existing employment system to the new academic tenure system," said Minister for Education and Science Ilga Šuplinska (New Conservative Party).

The academic tenure system in Latvia will be introduced from 2022 through higher education and science funding, including funding from European Union funds. It is envisaged that elected academic staff will be provided with a tenure track (an open-ended contract of employment, as opposed to the conclusion of a contract of employment for six years only, as is the case at present) when acquiring a certain academic post, such as an associate professor or professor, and meeting previously known criteria for professional and scientific qualifications. The tenure-track system works successfully in other European countries.

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