Latvia’s outstanding research institutes and universities are building a co-creative research ecosystem to commercialise scientific results in photonics, smart materials, microfluidics, robotics, IoT and related technologies, thereby strengthening innovation and manufacturing capacity for high value-added products.

The project “Smart Materials, Photonics, Technologies, and Engineering Ecosystem” (No. VPP-EM-Photonics-2022/1-0001), the Institute of Solid State Physics of the University of Latvia, Riga Technical University, the University of Latvia, the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science, the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, the Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry and the Rezekne Academy of Technologies are joining together in a cluster, to use the partners’ competences and scientific contributions to carry out interdisciplinary research that could become the basis for the development of internationally competitive technologies, products and services, as well as new economic sectors in Latvia.

“CFI, as the leader of this project, sees it as the beginning of a systematic path to both innovation development and an opportunity to build close cooperation between Latvian science institutes and universities. CFI has established a Nanotechnology Centre with modern research equipment, which provides new opportunities and directions. This should be increasingly used by other institutes and universities. Together we can do much more, each partner needs to strengthen its unique specialisation and strengths. That’s why the project brings together ideas that cannot be implemented by one organisation and where collaboration is needed. The future belongs to interdisciplinary research and innovation where physics, biology, medicine, electronics and information technology meet. I expect that together we will achieve remarkable results and this initiative will be continued,”

says CFI Director Andris Anspoks.

“RTU is participating in several project activities, such as the development of new organs-on-chips, the development of a water quality system with sensors, the validation of new biomaterials and materials that reduce carbon emissions. The project is an excellent opportunity to jointly develop practical projects based on Latvian scientists’ contributions in cooperation with leading Latvian universities and research institutes. The result will be practical and applied prototypes and technologies that can be developed by our companies,”

said Tālis Juhna, Vice-Rector of RTU.

The partners plan to develop fibre-based technologies for a wide range of applications in monitoring pollution, disease, and structural stability, combining competences in physics, microtechnology, biology and medicine – organ model technologies for testing pharmaceutical substances. Scientists will also develop commercialisable materials to reduce humanity’s impact on the environment by developing solutions for the production of biopolymers, cryogenic materials, asphalt, hydrogen and CO2 recycling, as well as the conversion of body movement and heat into electricity. In robotics, we plan to develop innovations for industrial solutions and improve the efficiency and security of the Internet of Things.

“I am delighted to see how Latvia is developing an ecosystem of co-creation among the most outstanding research organisations. Our researchers’ knowledge and discoveries will be the basis for the development of commercially viable and globally sought-after technologies in photonics, smart materials, microfluidics, robotics and energy. I am proud that the Innovation Fund, an innovation development programme launched by the Ministry of the Economy, is the opportunity to make this happen. At the moment, all the technologies planned in the project are very promising, but I am looking forward to seeing the results, the multi-organ model – liver, kidney, pancreas – on a chip, which would be a world first and is very, very welcome in the pharmaceutical industry, so that new drugs can be tested more effectively. I believe that Latvia has the potential to tackle world-class challenges,”

says Ilze Indriksone, Minister of the Economy.

The project is implemented under the national research programme “Innovation Fund – Sectoral Research Programme” established by the Ministry of Economics. Its aim is to promote scientific research, cooperation between scientific institutes, universities and industry, to facilitate and support technology transfer, the development of innovative and commercialised products and technologies in line with industry needs.

You are invited to visit project’s homepage here.

The project “Smart Materials, Photonics, Technologies, and Engineering Ecosystem (MOTE)” will run until the end of 2024.