The Constitutional Assembly of Riga Technical University (RTU), voting by secret ballot, with a clear majority of votes, has elected RTU Vice-Rector for Research, Academician Tālis Juhna as a new Rector of RTU. He has received 137 out of 190 valid votes of the Constitutional Assembly members. The newly-elected Rector will take office in late March, having agreed on the exact date with RTU Council.
«I would like to thank the Constitutional Assembly, who have expressed trust in me and have voted for continuation of the already started work – for strong RTU and for our country’s future, which is hardly possible without RTU, as we contribute to the development of the science-based national economy. The study process at RTU has to become more customer-tailored, increasingly more involving students into research, innovations and engineering design, thus facilitating the acquisition of the required future skills. The task of RTU, as a university of science, is to create knowledge and ensure global-scale technology development, making the university a dynamic, open and inclusive centre of knowledge not only in Latvia and the Baltics, but also in the entire Nordic States region,» said T. Juhna.
T. Juhna has been working as RTU Vice-Rector for Research for 12 years, improving the research management system and developing a strategy to create the RTU research and innovation system. He has developed different support mechanisms to promote innovative skills of scientists and students and to develop new technologies, e.g., RTU Science and Innovation Centre, which aims at promoting the scientific activity of RTU and academic staff and involvement of students in creating innovations and knowledge transfer, as well as developing cooperation with industry and scientific institutions.
Alongside with his administrative work, T. Juhna has been actively engaged in research by participating as a researcher and project manager in local and internationally financed research projects. Among the most significant recent projects, there are Covid-19 monitoring solutions in the environment – waste water, developed jointly with cooperation partners, as well as seven prototypes for improving the stability and quality of services in health care areas during the period of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases. Whereas in the field of studies, T. Juhna has developed a new international Bachelor study programme Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and some new study ways, initiated by T. Juhna, have been developed and introduced at RTU, e.g., the Industrial Doctor initiative for business and science cooperation, which aims at developing a tighter cooperation between research and entrepreneurship.
In conformity with RTU Constitution, the Rector is elected by the Constitutional Assembly, which consists of 200 elected members – RTU employees and students. T. Juhna and J. Grēviņš were selected as candidates for the Rector’s position by RTU Council out of nine candidates, who had applied for RTU Rector’s position competition. The competition was announced last autumn, and the selection of candidates took place with the participation of the personnel selection company Eiro Personāls and the Nomination Committee created by RTU Council. Both candidates have been presenting their visions on RTU development to RTU community during debates lasting for a month.
RTU Council have set several tasks for a new Rector – RTU has to get into the family of 500 strongest universities according to the international ranking, RTU has to continue developing high technologies and innovations and RTU has to attract financing from research activities and cooperation with industry.