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Foreign scientists positive about cooperation with Latvian colleagues

The majority of foreign scientists are optimistic towards possibilities of establishing cooperation with their Latvian colleagues, as concluded in in a study performed by Diaspora and Migration Research Centre University of Latvia in cooperation with Foreign Affairs Ministry.

390 scientists were interviewed in total. Foreign Affairs Ministry’s ambassador for matters of diaspora Atis Sjanīts says that this information will be of use in the future, because there are several hundred Latvian scientists working all around the world. Most of them want to contribute to Latvia’s development even though their professional careers are formed abroad.

The study under DMPC Director Inta Mieriņa lasted from July to November.

Latvian-born scientists work in different and very prestigious foreign scientific institutions in USA, France, Sweden, Germany and other countries around the world. The number of scientists in Latvia continues to decrease, and emigration is largely to blame. Studies performed by the University of Latvia clearly show the potential of diaspora members, especially in relation to creation of innovative solutions, knowledge-inclusive products and expansion of Latvia’s industrial space.

Mieriņa admits that cooperation opportunities with diaspora have not been used sufficiently until now: «There is an interest for cooperation with diaspora scientists. Many, however, lack information about Latvian scientists and their success, as well as openness from Latvian institutions and financial opportunities to assist with cooperation development. Involvement and use of scientific diaspora is actively realized in countries like Lithuania, Poland, Austria and Germany.»

The study shows that the majority of scientists working in foreign countries are optimistic about opportunities for forming cooperation with Latvian scientists. Forms of cooperation scientists are prepared to participate in include guest lectures, participation in conferences, joint publications and individual involvement in different projects.

There is also unused potential with involvement of diaspora scientists in evaluation of administered projects, where only 3.4% are active. Readiness to participate in such activities has been voiced by 39% of diaspora scientists. Their expertise would be invaluable in management and assessment of work performed by Latvian students, as well as management of state or private organizations, or even providing advisory services.

In the study, scientists were asked to comment on the World Latvian Scientists Congress planned for 2018. 21% of respondents said they know of this congress, 4% said they already have plans to attend it, whereas 45% said they only consider the possibility of participating. The main reasons mentioned in favour of taking part in this forum include the possibility of maintaining ties with Latvia and staying informed of developments in Latvia and its science field.


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