RTU Innovation Vice-Rector: Innovation is the Vertical of European Development

11th of October, 2023
RTU Vice Rector of Innovations Liene Briede. Courtesy of RTU.

«Innovations have a direct impact on the transformation of the economy, it is currently the only vertical in which Europe is moving, thinking about global competitiveness with the USA, China and also Brazil, which is currently very active in the innovation market segment. Therefore, without very serious decisions, most likely, no changes will happen, » explained Liene Briede, RTU Vice-Rector for Innovations in an interview in the Latvijas Bizness supplement of the Latvijas Avīze newspaper.

During the interview with Latvijas Avīze, she emphasized how necessary it is to work on a new turning point in building Latvia's innovation capacity by growing the muscles of the players of the local innovation ecosystem and building a bridge with the flagships of the European Union (EU) and the global ecosystem. 

Briede believes that the current performance of Latvia cannot go unnoticed when evaluating the results of the Global Innovation Index of the World Intellectual Property Organization and the European Innovation Rankings. Latvia is ranked 37th in the recently published 2023 rankings. 

«It is worrying that Latvia is not only in a low position in these indices compared to other countries, but also that there is no growth in our own indicators. In 2020, Latvia was in 36th place in the world ranking, a year later - in 38th place, and last year - even in 41st place. There was regression. This year, too, we did not manage to reach the indicators of 2020, » added RTU’s Vice-Rector of Innovations. Moreover, in almost all indicators measured in the context of innovation, Latvia's performance is below the EU average. 

Innovation is a process that includes many elements, including various partnerships, educational and research processes, and investments, etc. Latvia lacks several critical elements for the country to bounce back. One of these elements is investment in research infrastructure, which, according to Briede, was minimal in the previous period of EU funds. 

«Until we have a plan to restore the critical infrastructure, we have no opportunity to grow and develop new competences for either industry or research needs. Also, there is a lack of targeted funding for the development of start-ups – we have grants of various sizes available, but there is no transition from the early phase to the late, long-term development, » she stated. 

Investments in research development are essential to grow both new talent and available capital. 

The largest companies in Latvia are state capital companies, so their involvement in the research and development investment environment is very important for new companies to grow and markets to change. 

In the interview, L. Briede also talks about the Guinness record for generating ideas, the development of the innovation ecosystem, the role of the country and the EU in faster growth. 

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11th of October, 2023 at 11:37

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