UL Faculty of Biology researchers Anna Ramata-Stunda and Mārtiņš Borodušķis in conversation with European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen. Photo: Lukasz Kobus.

From 26th to 27th of October Brussels hosted a European business and research exhibition "Europe Works", where Latvia was represented singularly by the University of Latvia (UL) scientists.

At the event organized by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the UL researchers presented the University's achievements in science and the collaboration of scientists with the industry. The European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), or the so-called Juncker Plan, has enabled construction of the top research, technology and study hotspot – the UL Academic Centre, which is currently established at Torņakalns, Riga. This is one of the most prominent projects that have so far received a loan from this programme, covering 35% of the project costs and affirming the importance of the UL Academic Centre in development of global economy and promotion of European people's welfare. "EIB specialists assist in developing a feasibility study, or in principle, a business plan, which would indicate the best approach for the Academic Centre’s work. This will be a private-public partnership that will include technology transfer centres, health clinics, sports centres and student hotels. To define the best maintenance approach, and ensure the convenience for the industry, EIB experts help us to design this project", in the interview to the Latvian National Radio said Mārtiņš Borodušķis, senior expert of the UL Communication and Innovation Department and researcher at the UL Faculty of Biology. The cooperation of UL scientists with the industry is implemented various fields and forms, as the research is carried out at the UL structural units. For example, Anna Ramata-Stunda, researcher at the UL Faculty of Biology, described the cooperation in the field of biomedicine and biotechnology, highlighting the successful example of collaboration between scientists and industry – Madara Cosmetics, a natural and organic cosmetics company. "Here, we demonstrate the basic principles of research into skin cells. We test cosmetic ingredients and cosmetic products, providing a very large amount of data on the effectiveness of the products. This company uses that very skilfully to create effective products and to communicate that they are beneficial and effective in their contribution to society and their customers," in her interview to Latvian National Radio said the UL researcher Anna Ramata-Stunda. Research into the effects of various cosmetic substances is currently relevant to manufacturers, since in 2013 the European Union banned animal testing. According to the researcher, the only way to accelerate the development of completely new products is to perform these tests on cells and tissue. The exhibition encompassed a wide variety of projects – the intention to restore the old bread baking tradition, a reusable and recyclable alternative to plastic bags, an innovative method for early diagnosis of osteoporosis, mild and durable splints for patients with bone fractures, and other projects. The UL researchers along with other exhibitors have shown that Europe and its talented people have a true capacity to make the world better. More information about the exhibition is available here.