FOTONIKA-LV, an association of three research institutes at the University of Latvia, was established to lead the country's photonics sector. The group provides an environment where more than 100 scientists from different disciplines engage in research activities that range from basic theoretical work to applied research and development. The EU-funded FOTONIKA-LV (Unlocking and boosting research potential for photonics in Latvia – Towards effective integration in the European Research Area) project set out to transform the association into a research centre of excellence. FOTONIKA-LV recruited 18 experienced researchers from abroad and repatriated highly qualified Latvian researchers. It exchanged knowhow and experience with previously established strategic partnerships at 10 leading research centres in Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Spain and Sweden through secondments and research training. Cooperation was extended to include other research centres. The project established 23 more sustainable partnerships with Member States and European countries, as well as Australia, Canada and Russia. In addition, the project cooperated with 20 research-driven SMEs. Key infrastructure such as two large-scale observatories and three advanced laboratories underwent a major overhaul through upgrading, development or procurement of research equipment. Researchers published outcomes in over 100 peer-reviewed journals and presented them in more than 75 international conferences. FOTONIKA-LV also financed participation in 33 conferences. To contribute to the transfer of knowledge and training in photonics, four high-level conferences, two summer schools, two exhibitions for SMEs and one strategy planning foresight workshop were organised. FOTONIKA-LV was better integrated into the European Research Area, enabling it to contribute to Europe's high-tech industry. The impact will also be visible in Latvia, reducing the brain drain and strengthening a regional photonics industry that has been active for over 60 years.
Photonics, University of Latvia, FOTONIKA-LV, European Research Area