European Policy Statement

The University of Latvia (UL) is Latvian leading multidisciplinary public research university which takes into account Latvian economic priorities and promotes excellence, creativity and openness in all its endeavours and activities. Through the continuous internationalization the UL seeks to achieve the highest international standards in teaching and research, to increase the international recognition of the UL and to strengthen its reputation in the academic environment abroad.

The UL will continue to support the extension of Erasmus and non-Erasmus exchanges with participating and non-participating countries, as the existing involvement in the Programme and other forms of the international cooperation approves that this strategic objective will be successfully implemented. The existing numbers of the bilateral cooperation agreements and Erasmus agreements, the UL involvement in different international projects including the Programme projects as well as the intention to intensify this involvement till 2020 and support of the UL authorities is the acknowledgement for this statement.

Mobility of students for studies and placements, within all cycles with priority for the second and the third cycles will be ensured, as it provides the widest educational and training experience for the graduates and increases their professional and intercultural skills as well as the future employability. The development of integrated study and training programmes for students will ensure competitive results and the graduates will better satisfy the national economy demands. Mobility of academic staff is important for raising the quality of studies, diversification of the curricula, improvement of the personnel qualification, introduction of flexible learning models and innovative elements in training. The UL will continue to enhance the exchanges of staff for training at partner universities and enterprises/companies, thus facilitating practical experience based learning. Mobility of non-academic staff will support the continuing successful development of qualitative services and widen further partnerships.

The UL participation in numerous regional, European and worldwide networks as well as previous international academic and research activities assist much to choose the appropriate partner institutions, attractive for staff and students mobility, for the development of joint academic activities and projects. The geographical area for international cooperation is not limited only to Baltic or European institutions, but expands to Russia, Central Asia, China, India, USA and Brasil.

The recently improved national legislation on higher education encourages the UL to continue the further development of multidisciplinary, innovative joint/double programmes (at the moment there are 3), which will foster degree mobility. The consortia of institutions is built on the basis of long-term cooperation within research, joint projects and networking. At the moment there are discussions on 4 new joint programmes with partners in participating and non-participating countries.

According to the Strategic Plan 2010-2020 goal to ensure long-term development of the Latvian economy in cooperation with the state, regional authorities, enterprises, institutions, NGO and other relevant actors the UL aims to continue the dynamic collaboration by increasing the number of projects under the Programme and beyond with the achievement indicator to reach 5% project income of the annual budget. It will guarantee the successful achievement of the Latvian objective within the EU Modernisation Agenda for HE, widen the knowledge alliances, foster the UL involvement in capacity building projects and ensure the cooperation with the national and international strategic partners. The best examples of such performed projects are: Central Baltic Job Ferry, Boosing Cross-border Enterpreneurship in Life Sciences and Medicine related to Biotechnology and Medical ICT between Latvia and Estonia, Technet_nano-Transnational network of public clean rooms and research facilities in nanotechnology making accessible innovation resources and services to SMEs in the BSR.

The former UL participation in the teaching and training cooperation projects within the Programme proves the UL potential to continue its active involvement in Comenius, Leonardo, Erasmus ( incl. IP), Erasmus Mundus. These actions will enable the UL to achieve the strategic objective to raise the quality and improve the relevance of the offered study programmes. International joint capacity building projects with partners from the participating and non-participating countries will support fruitful internationalisation of the partner institutions in the Partner countries and assist to create common understanding of the modernisation priorities and perform the implementation activities.

The National development plan and regular Ministry of Education and Science reports on the implementation of reforms in education as well as other relevant documents depict the Latvian progress within the Modernization Agenda. The most important principles are to improve the quality of all functions and to improve permanently the curricula relevant to the labour market, to strengthen links between education, research and business, to prepare researchers as the active agents for innovation.The planned national measures: acccreditation of all study programmes within the fields of science, the proposed new national funding models will be also compulsory for the UL.The UL Strategic Plan ensures also the implementation of these principles and regular assessment of the achievement indicators by the Senate acknowledges the UL intentions to continue its involvement in these importants processes. As a good example to prove the UL intentions to strengthen education, research and business/enterprise links could serve the UL participation in the BIRTI project: leading scientists from major universities of Latvia and fifty innovative entrepreneurs have teamed up to establish technology transfer centre for innovative products. Baltic Innovative Research and Technology Infrastructure (BIRTI) unite and coordinate cooperation between universities, scientific institutes and entrepreneurs. The implementation of this objective will be ensured by the close cooperation with Estonian and Lithuanian institutions. Internationalisation activities within the Programme will give additional value to students and staff mobility by enabling the mobility participants to acquire knowledge and additional skills and stimulating excellence in teaching and learning. Cross-border cooperation will assist the UL to strenghten its involvement in the development of the transnational teaching activities by widening the collaborative links beyond the EU. The UL costantly improves the governance and funding management by evaluating and reforming the central and faculty administration, widening and introducing IT system within administrative processes and functions.