During Riga Technical University’s 161st birthday celebration, awards were presented with pomp to the scientist and young scientists of the year, as well as the best teaching staff. An award for promoting excellence in the academic environment was also conferred for the first time.
RTU Faculty of Civil Engineering (BIF) professor Diāna Bajāre was honored as the 2023 RTU Scientist of the Year. Dr. Bajāre is not the only first tenured professor at RTU, but throughout the country of Latvia.
Her diverse research interests are related to innovative building materials, their properties and production technologies, the recycling of secondary materials into building materials, ecological building materials, and widely used materials.
Considering the negative impact of construction and related production of building materials on the environment, the research of Dr. Bajāre and her students plays an important role in the industry’s path towards a carbon-neutral and sustainable economy. In fact, RTU has followed Dr. Bajāre's ambition and initiative to establish the first 3D concrete printing laboratory in the Baltics.
Toms Salgals, the leading researcher of the RTU Institute of Telecommunications of the Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunications, was named one of the 2023 RTU Young Scientists of the Year. Salgals is in the process of creating RTU’s Nanophotonics scientific laboratory.
The laboratory’s aim is to develop a new direction of research – nanophotonics in telecommunications – through the study and observation of new optical effects that would serve as a basis for the creation of innovative technologies, and by developing and implementing nanostructured elements in classical telecommunications and future quantum communication systems.
His enthusiastic research is related to fiber optic communication networks and the development of technologies that enable high-speed broadband internet connections, data center interconnections, etc. Together with his colleagues, Salgals has also set several world records for high-speed data transmission in various areas of photonics.
In addition, associate professor Ieva Pakera was also named one of RTU’s Young Scientists of the Year. Dr. Pakera serves as the leading researcher of the Institute of Environmental Protection and Thermal Systems (EVIF VASSI) of the Faculty of Electrical and Environmental Engineering.
Dr. Pakera actively implements national and international level research projects related to the sustainable development of the heat supply system, energy efficiency, solar energy, and other renewable energy resources. She also participates in public information activities to help promote the involvement of Latvian society in strengthening energy independence and achieving national energy efficiency goals.
Annual awards in science are awarded by evaluating the results and achievements of RTU's academic staff - scientific publications, obtained patents and licenses, the amount of funding raised, along with participation in scientific projects and events.
The RTU Academic Excellence Award goes to outstanding teaching staff who have displayed tremendous achievements in the teaching profession. This year, the award was given to professor Līga Gaile, the leading researcher at the RTU Institute of Construction Engineering of the Faculty of Civil Engineering.
In addition, the 2023 RTU New Teacher of the Year Award went to Māra Pudāne, a lecturer in the Department of Artificial Intelligence and Systems Engineering of the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology.
EVIF VASSI professor Júlija Gušča received the inaugural award for promoting the excellence of the academic environment.
Throughout the event, the honored faculty members thanked both colleagues and students for creating an environment that fosters the desire to learn, inspiration, unwavering enthusiasm, and courage. Awards for the best teaching staff are already traditionally supported by RTU graduate Aigars Ločmelis’ company “Industry Service Partners.” The awards were presented during the plenary session of the 64th RTU International Scientific Conference.
Riga Technical University honorary doctorate degrees were also conferred to University of Bergamo rector Sergio Cavalieri, University of Salento rector Fabio Pollice, and Professor Ashok Vaseashta of the International Clean Water Institute in Manassas, USA.
RTU was founded on October 14, 1862. Known originally as the Riga Polytechnic Institute, the university was modeled after the most modern technical universities in Europe at that time - Zurich and Karlsruhe.
Today, RTU is an internationally known and prestigious scientific university, where it is possible to acquire versatile education in high technologies and engineering, as well as in social and humanitarian sciences. The basis of RTU’s activity is science within a study process built on innovation and cooperation with industry. This ensures the preparation of specialists necessary for the Latvian economy and serves as a strong basis for Latvia’s sustainable development.
RTU is currently in the process of implementing strategic changes to further increase its competitiveness on both a national and international scale and achieve Top 500 University in the world status.