The University of Latvia (UL) implements European Regional Development Fund Project No. "The Development of Quantum Optics and Photonics in University of Latvia". Project period is 12.12.2019. - 30.11.2023. Realization period of the project activities is 01.05.2019–30.11.2023. Agreement for the implementation of the project was signed between the University of Latvia and the Central Finance and Contracting Agency on 12.12.2019. The budget of the project is EUR 2.5 million (85% covered by European Regional Development Fund and 15% covered by National Funding). The project was initially submitted to the Horizon 2020 call "WIDESPREAD-04-2019: ERA Chairs" and got the score above the threshold. 

The main objective of the project is to attract high-quality human resources – ERA Chair holder and his team – to strengthen National Science Platform (NSP) FOTONIKA-LV and the University of Latvia in achieving high scientific and innovation results and thus to strengthen its participation in European Research Area, as well as to implement structural changes in the institution necessary to achieve excellence on a sustainable basis.

The project aims to strengthen the development of Quantum Optics and Photonics in NSP FOTONIKA-LV and the UL – the topic in which the UL already has a good track of excellence. The boosted competence will be ready to contribute to Quantum Technologies Flagship proposed by the European Commission. 

The main activities of the project are:

  • to recruit the ERA Chair holder and his team (around 4 researchers) in an open competition;
  • to develop the field of "Quantum Optics and Photonics" that will result in scientific publications and conference presentations;
  • to strengthen ties with the industry;
  • to prepare Framework Programme (FP) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project proposals;
  • to conduct structural changes in NSP FOTONIKA-LV and the UL;
  • to exploit the results of the project;
  • to disseminate the results of the project to various audiences. 

The expected results of the project are:

  • at least 24 scientific publications published and included in Scopus or Web of Science database;
  • at least 4 project proposals for Framework Programme calls (Horizon 2020, Horizon EUROPE), 1 project for ERDF calls and 1 for the Latvian Council of Science call prepared and submitted;
  • conferences organized in the field of "Quantum Optics and Photonics" to stimulate the interaction of research and industry locally and internationally;
  • at least one course prepared and launched within a topic of "Quantum Optics and Photonics";
  • NSP FOTONIKA-LV and University of Latvia are strengthened by ERA Chair holder and his team;
  • "Strategy for the Development of the Quantum Optics and Photonics at the University of Latvia" is prepared;
  • evaluation of NSP FOTONIKA-LV within the scope of "Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)" is made and structural changes are conducted.

SWOT analyses of NSP FOTONIKA-LV revealed that, despite its strengths in participation in FP projects and managing an internationally active group, the weaknesses of the centre are "periods of insufficient financing", "insufficient success rate of FP projects", "low number of international students and researchers", "insufficient activity in innovation and technology transfer", "not developed ERA level research strategy of the institution". ERA Chair project is a proper solution to these weaknesses. An excellent researcher and manager – ERA Chair holder – will be recruited to develop the strategy for the centre, to recruit a strong team, to be active in writing project proposals with high success rate, to contribute to the employment of the research capacity already present in the centre and to make it available to ERA.

The project has European added value as a strong centre/group in Quantum Optics and Photonics. It will emerge as an international player that can benefit European Research Area and Industry. The project will mobilize and use the potential of the University of Latvia in quantum optics and photonics to participate more successfully in Horizon 2020 and Horizon EUROPE programmes and for the benefit to the industry. Latvia, as a low-performing country, will raise its performance in research and innovation and thus will support its economic growth and competitiveness. In such a way, the project will support the Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation by strengthening a low-performing country Latvia.

More information on the Project: