ERKC

Energy Research Knowledge Centre

Latvia

Research themes and prioritisation

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Innovation and research have not been priorities in Latvian policy or law-making over the last few decades.The primary challenge for innovation policy is funding. Due to the sharp decline in government spending on research and innovation in the past few years, efforts in this field have relied mainly on EU support.

In its National Reform Programme, Latvia now aims to devote 1.5 % of GDP to research and development by 2020.

Priorities in energy research include regional energy sector analysis and optimisation, management of energy savings, energy-related environmental policy, renewable energy resources, energy efficiency, electrical networks and electricity supply systems clean fossil energy technologies, electrical devices and machines, advanced materials and solid-state physics.

Organisation of research

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The Parliament of the Republic of Latvia is the state authority responsible for deciding the allocation of government funds for the development of support programmes in science and technology. The Ministry of Education and Science is the main administrative authority for the implementation of science and technology development policy. The Ministry is directly engaged in the funding of research and the administration of research support programmes, both domestic and international.

The Latvian Council of Science plays an important role in the scientific system by facilitating the implementation and coordination of science, technology and innovation policy. It assesses the implementation and results of scientific research projects and programmes. State-funded energy research is carried out mainly by the Energy Research Institute of the Latvian Academy of Science (Institute of Physical Energetics) in cooperation with other institutes and universities. Energy research by private enterprises and EU projects is co-financed by the Ministry of Economics and managed by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.


Figure 1: Organisational structure of energy research in Latvia.

Programmes and budgets

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Budget overview

The total spending on R&D in Latvia is less than 1 % of GDP. Figures for annual state spending on energy research are not available. From 2006 to 2013, the total spending on energy-related parts of the national research programmes was €7.5 million.

Table 1: The main research programmes in Latvia.

Programmes and initiatives

National Research Programme 2010–2013 (LATENERGI)

Valsts pētījumu programma 2010–2013

This programme includes research on technologies for the innovative production and use of energy and the reduction of carbon emissions through greater reliance on renewable energy resources. It supports measures for the mitigation of environmental and climate degradation.

National Research Programme 2006–2009

Valsts pētījumu programma 2006–2009

The previous National Research Programme included research on modern methods and technologies in the field of energy. Research projects focused on clean energy, security of energy supply and energy efficiency.

National govermment departments

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Ministry of Education and Science

Latvijas Republikas Izglītības un zinātnes ministrija

The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for the development and implementation of policy in education, science, sports and the national language. The Ministry also promotes the sustainable improvement of the welfare of the citizens of Latvia.

Ministry of Economics

Latvijas Republikas Ekonomikas ministrija

The Ministry of Economics is Latvia’s leading state administrative institution in formulating economic policy, with the aim of making the national economy more competitive at European level. The Ministry promotes the sustainable development of a structurally and regionally balanced national economy. It works closely with non-governmental organisations representing entrepreneurs and other social partners.

National research programme management agencies

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Institute of Physical Energetics (IPE)

Fizikālās enerģētikas institūts

IPE is Latvia’s leading energy research institute. It covers a wide range of energy research issues, including the modelling and analysis of energy-environment interactions and policy studies, pricing and tariff policy in the energy sector, and programmes related to energy efficiency and energy conservation.