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TSI - among the top 10% of the best scientific institutions in Latvia

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The Transport and Telecommunication Institute (TSI) is the only one of private universities of our country that was included in the list of the 15 scientific institutions of international importance which operate in Latvia.

International evaluation of 150 research bodies – scientific institutions, universities and units thereof, private institutions, commercial unions, establishments – was carried out. The experts concluded that there are 15 (i.e. 10% of the total number) powerful scientific institutes and university units of international importance operating in Latvia, of which one is the Transport and Telecommunication Institute. All the institutions were evaluated on a 5-grade scale. The Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis was the only one to receive 5 points. The other “top 15” participants (see the list below) were awarded 4 points, which, according to the authors of the study, means: “a powerful international player” (good performance, activity to be continued).

Irina Yatskiv, Acting Rector of the Transport and Telecommunication Institute, explains that the TSI was assessed as a scientific organisation which carries out research in the fields of engineering and computer sciences.“We are very glad to have received this assessment, as we think that engineering sciences and technical education are the fields that need to be paid special attention to in Latvia: their development is to be promoted by the government, and they should be looked at closer by the public. I think that the current crisis in science and education in our country was caused by disproportion between the various sectors of science, the over-enthusiasm for the so-called “light sectors””, says Irina Yatskiv.

The TSI is a private institute, and as such, it receives no financing from the national budget. Still, the Institute invests in the scientific activity: it uses both own resources and EU funds' support. Acting Rector of the TSI says that the education process should be closely linked with science, on the one hand, and best examples and practices in the respective sector, on the other hand. Therefore, the TSI both carries out research and facilitates cooperation with companies from the sectors for which it prepares specialists. All this allows maintaining education at a high level of quality.

It should be noted that a range of public and private academic institutions were awarded a low grade and even received recommendations from international experts, namely, that part of them should be wound-up and the other part should be integrated with more powerful research organisations. Representatives of several educational establishments have already expressed criticism as regards the study methodology. The ex-minister of education and science, Roberts Ķīlis, during whose mandate the study was launched, argues that the methodology has been verified among several tens of countries and that assessments are carried out by serious, internationally recognised experts.

The international evaluation of the activity of the Latvian scientific institutions was carried out by the Ministry of Education and Science in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The purpose of the evaluation was to carry out an objective analysis of the situation of the Latvian science in the context of the common research area of the European Union and research cooperation according to the interests of the countries of the Baltic Sea region and Nordic countries.

The overall conclusion is that the level of quality, management and infrastructure of the Latvian research is not satisfactory. However, there are individual high-level institutions in Latvia, including the TSI, which can serve as centres for consolidation and future investments. In the expert opinion, acute lack of finance is the main problem of the Latvian science. The experts indicate that if no substantial investments are made in research and higher education, it will not be possible to establish and maintain contemporary economics.

After the conclusion of the study the expert group provided several recommendations. Clearly, first, it is necessary to ensure sound public financing to research and to use structural funds for structural reforms in science and transition to a higher level of performance. Next, it is necessary to integrate and strengthen the research system by consolidating research institutions mainly around knowledge centres (institutions having received 4 and 5 points).

The opinion on the overall evaluation was made by the expert group by consensus, by awarding grades to the institutions as follows:

5 – “a powerful international player, leader in its field” (excellent performance, activity to be continued),

4 – “a powerful international player” (good performance, activity to be continued),

3 – “a powerful local player who has gained certain international appreciation” (the institution’s capacity is to be reviewed and strengthened),

2 – “a satisfactory local player” (integration with other institutions to be considered),

1 – “a poor local player” (activity to be discontinued).

Interestingly, this is the second time that international evaluation of science is carried out in Latvia since the regaining if its independence. The first one took place in 1992 when not only the Latvian science but also the whole national economy experienced drastic structural changes. Therefore, the present evaluation is, in a way, equally important for researchers, policy makers and the Latvian science system in general. The Ministry of Education and Science informs that the next international evaluation of science is to be carried out in 5 years, in 2019.

More information about the results of the evaluation can be found on the Ministry's website (in Latvian): http://izm.izm.gov.lv/aktualitates/informacija-medijiem/10655.html

 

15 scientific institutions and university structural units having received the highest evaluation

Scientific institution

Overall evaluation

Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy of the University of Latvia

4

Institute of Solid State Physics of the University of Latvia

4

Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia

4

Faculty of Computing of the University of Latvia

4

Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences of the University of Latvia

4

Department of Physics, Department of Optometry and Vision Science of the University of Latvia

4

G.Libert's Innovative Microscopy Centre of Daugavpils University, Physics Department, Mathematics Research Centre

4

Institute of Electronics and Computer Science

4

Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry

4

Engineering Research Institute “Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre” of Ventspils University College

4

Transport and Telecommunication Institute

4

Biomedical Research and Study Centre of the University of Latvia

4

P. Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital

4

Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment “BIOR”

4

Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis

5

Source: Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia

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