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In order to promote cooperation between Latvian scientific institutions and Industry with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) an interdisciplinary national CERN working group has been established to engage in scientific research, experiments, and projects. Latvia is planning to become an Associate Member state of CERN in 2021.
The establishment of the working group is an expression of the stakeholders’ interest in joining CERN and of a shared understanding of the benefits that the Member state status will bring to Latvia’s scientific and economic development. «This is an opportunity for fundamental and applied science to make a breakthrough, for scientists, companies and society to access the knowledge and infrastructure that for Latvia would be challenging to build, to engage companies in procurements, to provide goods and services such as accelerators components and large data processing IT-related solutions» says Prof. Toms Torims, Director of the centre of High Energy Physics and Accelerator Technologies at Riga Technical university (RTU) and CERN Scientific Associate.
The working group includes RTU, University of Latvia, Riga Stradins university, Latvian manufacturers, Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Industry Associations to promote technology transfer and mutual trust between scientists and entrepreneurs. The working group is coordinated by the CERN National Contact point – this function is performed by the RTU Centre of High Energy Physics and Accelerator Technologies.
«Cooperation between science, business and the state creates an environment where people can live prosperously, create innovations, be productive and thus stimulate the economy», says Aigars Rostovskis, President of the LCCI, adding that Latvian companies are currently denied access to various procurements. «This is a club of highly developed products and services where Latvia has something to offer, so we cannot wait to become a full member of CERN» he points out.
Latvia’s progress towards CERN is supported by the Ministries of Education and Science, Economy and Foreign Affairs. «Membership in international organizations contributes to the scientific excellence of Latvia and the recognition of Latvian scientists. It is also increasing the interest of Latvian students in STEM fields», emphasizes Dmitrijs Stepanovs, Director of Higher Education, Science and Innovation department of the Ministry of Education and Science.
«The establishment of CERN Latvia working group creates the incentive for young scientists to develop scientific excellence in Latvia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also highly appreciates the cooperation at the Baltic level», says Kaspars Ozoliņš, Ambassador-Director General of the Directorate of Security Policy and International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Alongside the CERN Latvia working group, there is also the CERN Baltic group, uniting Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian scientific institutions to coordinate cooperation with CERN and to strengthen the high energy particle physics community in the Baltic states.
CERN is the world leading science centre. It was at CERN where the Internet was invented, where the world’s most powerful particle accelerator to date – the Large Hadron Collider – is based and where the Standard Model of particle physics in its current form was completed in 2012 with the discovery of the Higgs boson. Latvian Government has confirmed Latvia’s wish to become an Associate Member state of CERN. The application for the CERN Associate Member state status is expected to be prepared and submitted to the CERN Council in the coming months.