In January and February, Riga Technical University (RTU) invites students to apply for participation in various activities offered by the program ‘Innovation Grants for Students’, in order to increase entrepreneurial capacity, develop business ideas and cooperate with companies, solving challenges essential for their development. Students are offered scholarships and financial support for research and ideas implementation.
In order to develop students creative thinking, innovative skills and entrepreneurial capacity, RTU has been implementing the project ‘Innovation Grants for Students’ since 2019 (ERDF co-financed project No. 184.108.40.206/18/A/001 ‘RTU Innovation Grants for Students’ – SIG). Students of all levels are offered to engage in various activities and develop entrepreneurial capacity, cooperate with industry, develop new science-intensive business ideas, receive support grants and scholarships. Students who participate in the program are eligible to apply for a scholarship of 200-228 euro. To receive it, students must be successful and have no academic debts.
From this year, applications for SIG programs are accepted at a single platform. It is designed for students to facilitate application process for both programs and scholarships. During this semester, the platform will be gradually expanded to include industry representatives offered challenges and events of interest to program participants.
The application period for participation in the innovation platform Demola Latvia is open until 1 February 2021. Application form.
Demola Latvia is a cooperation platform for students, companies and universities. It provides students the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams in a business environment, researching and finding solution concepts for problem situations defined by companies and sole proprietors within three months. Students who participate in the program are entitled to receive a scholarship of 200-228 EUR/month for a period of up to 4 months. The teams also have the opportunity to receive financial support of up to 2500 euros for research and ideas implementation purposes. The program is implemented by RTU in cooperation with the University of Latvia (UL). However, a student of any Latvian higher educational institution is eligible to participate in the program and apply for a scholarship.
The programme is valuable for the companies as well. It provides them the opportunity to bring new competences and ideas, to establish contacts with motivated, talented students, as well as obtain an innovative and implementable solution, without a high financial risk, using open innovation model and design thinking principles. Namely, companies can licence solutions developed by student teams for further development and implementation. A great number of solutions are licenced every year. For instance, during the Fall 2020 Season, companies have purchased five solution licences for a total of 8,000 euros.
Over several years of existence, Demola Latvia has enhanced its role in the innovation ecosystem. Companies are increasingly involving students in the creation of innovations. Both start-ups and leading companies of various economic importance sectors participate in the program. Students’ interest is also growing. In the Fall 2020 Season, 261 student applications were received. The program enrolled 55 students from eight universities – RTU, UL, Riga Business School, the Art Academy of Latvia, BA School of Business and Finance (BASBF), Turība University, The Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Ventspils University of Applied Sciences.
RTU and UL are implementing a joint University Incubator, which has been established in the spring 2020 to promote the development of science-intensive business in Latvia. Applications for the second season of the Incubator are accepted until February 21. Application form.
Around 13-15 teams are expected to be accepted in the Second Season. Each team must have at least one RTU or UL student, one representative must have competencies in STEM and one in either business, economics or management matters. Teams can also attract students from other universities, as well as researchers and non-academic STEM professionals.
Within six months, the teams will be provided with training, local and international mentoring support, consulting, such as viability testing of business ideas and preparation of a business plan, etc., as well as equipped workstations and 5,000 euros financial support for product development. Seven teams participated in the first season, attracting a total of 75,000 euros in financial support. It is expected that 150,000 euros of funding could be attracted this season.
The goal of the Incubator is to help reaching first commercialization steps of a science-intensive idea in six months. This season, further emphasis will be placed on the problem and target customer identification, team activity justification, understanding the necessity of the developed product/service in the market, as well as team work organization.
Find more about the participants of the first season and their performance here.
Product development project
The Product Development Project (PDP) is also focused on the development of innovative products and services. Applications for the programme are accepted until February 25. Application form.
Within the framework of the programme, students design and develop innovative products, ensuring technology transfer and promoting the commercialisation of products, as well as promoting the development of entrepreneurial capacity at individual and team level. In order to successfully apply, the student or the team should have a finished Alpha prototype, which can be presented.
Only RTU students can participate in the programme. PDP can be a good next step for the students, who have mastered the study module on the development and commercialisation of new products. In turn, having acquired this programme, the teams can proceed more successfully applying for incubators and other innovation and business support activities.
Find more about PDP previous seasons developed prototypes here.
Vertically integrated project
By the end of January, interested students may still apply for the participation in the Vertically integrated project (VIP). Application form.
This SIG program creates an opportunity for students from different study programs and levels to cooperate on a long-term research project, as well as enhances and expands the scientific activity of the teaching staff. Teams are interdisciplinary and vertically integrated – students represent different levels of studies, ranging from Bachelor studies to doctoral studies. They collect and process data, develop prototypes. The work of the team is supervised by RTU teaching staff. Quality control and assistance in prototype design and development is ensured by RTU Design Factory. Students and teaching staff cooperate to develop prototypes and generate ideas for solutions in the fields of bioenergy, wastewater treatment, low-energy building, space, sensor technologies and robotics. For the second season, an interdisciplinary student team in cooperation with the information technology company Accenture and RTU Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunications will continue they work on virtual twin development.