Project MOTE Participants Head to Brussels to Present Their Achievements and Find New Partners

In response to an invitation of the Latvian Member of the European Parliament Ivars Ijabs, State Research Programme (VPP) Innovation Fund project Smart Materials, Photonics, Technologies, and Engineering Ecosystem (MOTE) participants visited the capital of Belgium - Brussels, from 19 to 20 March to meet his team, partners, as well as with representatives from the Latvian Embassy in Belgium, Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) to seek new cooperation opportunities with other research institutions.

On the first day of the visit, participants first visited the European Parliament (EP) building, to learn about the history of the EP and the European Union (EU. They had a conversation with Ivars Ijabs, who is closely involved in the development of science, to find out more about the opportunities offered by the EP in its various programs and projects. Ijabs sits on several committees responsible for science, innovation and draft laws on how Latvia can get more EU funding for science, research, and innovation.

Director of the Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia Andris Anspoks, who represents the lead partner in the MOTE project, presented the objectives of the project, the results achieved and his views on the need to implement similar projects in the future. “MOTE brings together Latvia's leading scientific organisations to create future technologies. The project focuses on Photonics, Microfluidics, Robotics, the Internet of Things, Sensors, and Smart Materials. These innovations are shaping our tomorrow and it is important that they are also shared at the international level,” highlighted A. Anspoks.

The project also had the opportunity to visit the Latvian Embassy in Belgium to meet Aiga Liepina, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Latvia, LIAA Head of the Latvian Office for Innovation and Technology in Brussels Egita Aizsilniece-Ibema and Aleksandrs Martins Blums scientific adviser in Brussels of Ministry of Education and Science (IZM). Attendees discussed spin-offs, applications of the European Innovation Council (EIC) and European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) programme, the progress of various projects, and the opportunities they offer in Latvia and other countries.

During the visit, MOTE participants also took the opportunity to meet other potential partners and scientists in Brussels. Together with the representatives of KU Leuven, the oldest university in Belgium, the project representatives discussed the possibilities of submitting project applications to the EIC and the EU's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, as well as the possibilities of using the technologies developed during the MOTE project. The participants also took part in the European Research and Innovation Days, an event organized by the European Commission (EC) that brings together policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders to discuss and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond and to network.

The trip to Brussels has enabled project participants to understand how to better engage in shaping the content of the new European Framework Programme through the Latvian position and other mechanisms, revealing that participants in Latvia's innovation ecosystem have insufficient information about all the opportunities Europe has to offer. In addition, the visit served as a good basis for discussion with policymakers in Europe while seeking new cooperation partners that will contribute to MOTE's further development and success.

Project participants represented during the visit to the European capital were the Institute of Solid State Physics (University of Latvia), Institute of Electronics and Computer Science (University of Latvia), Riga Technical University, as well as Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre and Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry.

The project is implemented under the national research programme Innovation Fund - a sectoral research programme established by the Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia. The aim is to promote scientific research, cooperation between research institutes, universities, and industry, encourage and support technology transfer, and the development of innovative and commercialized products and technologies to meet the needs of industry. The Smart Materials, Photonics, Technologies, and Engineering Ecosystem project will run until the end of 2024.

The research is funded by the Latvian Council of Science, within the framework of the project Smart Materials, Photonics, Technologies, and Engineering Ecosystem (VPP-EM-FOTONIKA-2022/1-0001).
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