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Centre of Advanced Materials Research and Technology Transfer CAMART²

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - CAMART2 (Centre of Advanced Materials Research and Technology Transfer CAMART²)

Reporting period: 2020-02-01 to 2021-01-31

The CAMART² (‘Excellence Centre of Advanced Material Research and Technology Transfer’) project is aimed to upgrade the existing Centre of Excellence at the Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia (ISSP), which was established in 2001 by the former project CAMART, realised within EC FP5.

The CAMART² project is based on a long-term partnership between ISSP, KTH Royal Institute of Technology – the largest technical university in Sweden, and RISE – Research Institutes of Sweden.

ISSP is renowned for its scientific achievements in applied materials physics for micro- and nanotechnology, electronics, photonics, functional coatings etc. and related theoretical and characterization capability.

The vision of CAMART² is to establish ISSP as the most important centre of excellence for education, science, innovation and technology transfer in the Baltic States. ISSP will also become the hub for a collaboration and technology transfer platform (called "RIX-STO") for materials physics including scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers on both sides of the Baltic Sea.

The commitment from the Swedish partners assures successful modernization of ISSP, including an overall refinement of the educational programs, strengthening of the research and development activities towards higher technology readiness levels, establishment of an innovation system and Open Access Laboratory, as well as ISO 9001 certification.

The partners play a substantial role in an ambitious program for networking and outreach to make a real impact on academia and high-tech industries in the region around Riga and Stockholm, with respect to scientific results, economic growth and increased competitiveness. The region will benefit from an injection of highly educated young people, closer collaboration between academia and industry, and offering state-of-the-art open access research infrastructure boosting innovation and economy.
The project has successfully passed setting-up phase and full exploitation of results is in process, with full roll-out and continuous improvements taking place.

The appointment of people at the key leading positions and most of the relevant staff has been done, reorganisation of the structure and creation of new laboratories and units have been conducted. Efforts are put into place, together with the international partners of the consortium - KTH and RISE, to ensure changes to happen smoothly.

Summary of the progress by the key areas:
- WP1 – Research Program, Action Plan and Annual Reports of Scientific Achievements were developed. Priority research directions of the Institute have been defined within the frame of Science, Technology and experimental methods and Application. Strategic collaboration for joint projects and publications is being elaborated with Consortium partners KTH and RISE and other international research centers and industry.
- WP2 – Innovation development system is implemented, and exploitation has started. ISSP is a recognized national ecosystem actor. ISSP has become member of national European Digital Innovation Hub (E-DIH) node, recognized KET center and member of EPIC association which paves way to rise profile as innovation leader on the regional and international level.
- WP3 – Master’s and PhD study programmes have been developed and included in the curriculum of the University of Latvia. Two additional courses on Innovation development and Scientific methodology are being adapted from the courses realized by the staff of RISE and KTH. The content of digital summer school on Micro- and nanofabrication of electronic and photonic devices has been elaborated. Alumni programme has been elaborated and rolled-out.
- WP4 – Open Access Laboratory (OAL) business model for collaboration with industry is designed and implemented, key staff of service laboratories selected and appointed, processes and standardization taking place in collaboration with WP6, most of the new infrastructure is installed.
- WP5 – networking and promotion strategy is developed with customised approach to 5 key groups – research community, industry, school children, policy makers and general public. Main tools implemented, various outreach activities for science, education, innovation, sales process with industry in Latvia and internationally are performed, dissemination and promotion materials are created.
- WP6 – service-oriented organisation is created, and exploitation started. Quality management system is developed and ISO 9001:2015 certification awarded with expanding of the scope annually. Laboratory Information Management Software (LIMS) implemented, KPIs and results compensations system updated.
- WP7 – project operational, main activities conducted according to the plan, new organisation set-up and milestones reached, roll-out and exploitation in process.
The CAMART² project aims to upgrade the existing Centre of Excellence at ISSP UL by building a long-term strategic partnership with the internationally leading R&D&I institutions KTH and RISE, which are highly successful in research commercialization. The CAMART² project is expected to improve the research and innovation environment at the Excellence Centre and its regional relevance with the creation of RIX-STO collaboration and technology transfer platform. With its recognition as a highly competent partner for relevant EC-defined KETs (Advanced materials, Photonics, Nanotechnology and Micro- and Nanoelectronics), the centre will reach the top EU level and continue to develop and broaden after the end of the project period. CAMART² project will boost the scientific and innovations excellence of ISSP through a range of new R&D&I projects and the attraction of top-level scientists and students. Technology exploitation, business generation and long-term sustainability will be promoted by the development of an innovation system, an institute reorganisation, an active human resource management and training, extended outreach and networking activities, refinement to the education system, and development of the Open Access Laboratory.

The quality and intensity of the research, innovation and education will improve substantially. Increased income resulting from research, innovation and industrial projects, Open Access Laboratory user/service fees from industry, and reimbursements from University for education of students will replace CAMART² funding, thereby providing long-term financial sustainability of the upgraded Centre.

We expect that the realisation of the project will have a multilevel impact on
- Institutional level – ISSP research, innovation, and education,
- National level – impact on the Latvian economy, including the experience of CAMART² becoming an arena for the development of the innovation system in Latvia
- Regional level– science-innovation collaboration among partners and beyond.

At the current stage, with the new organisation having been set-up, many of the expected benefits and impacts exploited and can be already seen – in terms of science, innovations, education, open access laboratory, outreach, organisational change, Riga-Stockholm collaboration. Yet, broader internal and external impact shall be more vivid and measurable after period in the exploitation of the full roll-out.
Project CAMART² logo
Euronews program Futuris broadcast photo of ISSPUL laboratories
Address of the President of Latvia to the ISSP UL staff
University of Latvia event Agora of Knowledge - Innovation project presentations
CAMART² consortium logos
Sample of newly obtained thin film
Optical material laboratory students at work
CAMART² kick-off - from right Robert Jan Smits (EC DG) and Karlis Sadurskis (Minister of E&S)
CAMART² kick-off meeting - group photo
Deep Science Hackathon 2020 teams and organizers
Mālpils School excursion at ISSP UL
Remoted Teaming club meeting 2020
Shadow day February 2020, getting to introduced to EPR
Science Caffe - Women in science - dare to achieve
The President visits cleanrooms and is introduced to achievements of scientists