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Times are changing and so are we. What to expect in the following years

Image author: No LLU arhīva

The year 2022 has brought many new beginnings to the Latvian University of Life Sciences and Technologies. The impact of which will be measured not by today's standards, but at least by the standards of the next decade. They will determine the direction of processes within the university and strengthen its ability to respond to the needs of national and global society.

New name

At one time, the beginnings of the university and its core were formed around one sector of the economy - agriculture, which has been reflected in the name of the university for more than 80 years. However, in recent decades, the university has purposefully developed as a multidisciplinary science university, whose identity is determined not by one sector of the economy, but by natural resources and their sustainable use in various sectors of the economy.

The expansion and strengthening of the university's identity ended on May 18, 2022 with the majority vote of the Convention to change the name of the university to Latvian, thus the Latvian University of Agriculture got a new name "University of Latvian Life Sciences and Technologies", preserving all current study directions and announcing ambitions to develop new ones. This name change was the fourth in the history of LBTU as an autonomous higher education institution, and vividly reflects the university's continuous efforts to change and grow.

New management

Implementing a new higher education management model, a new decision-making body - the Council - started the operation of LBTU on May 20, 2022. It is responsible for LBTU's sustainable development, strategic and financial supervision, and also ensures LBTU's operation in accordance with the goals set in LBTU's strategy. The council consists of representatives of the university's academic staff, as well as people important in the national economy, as well as a representative nominated by the president. Thus, the view of the academic community and the society on important issues for the development of the university is balanced.

The first LBTU Council is chaired by the former Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, and the director of the Rural Support Service, Ģirts Krūmiņš, was elected as the deputy chairperson. The most important tasks of the Council in its first months were the approval of the University Constitution and the new name, as well as the development of the new university strategy for the following years.

A new strategy

In 2022, the period of operation of the previous LLU Development Strategy ended, which was once the first document in which three directions of specialization were determined for the university's research activity - biosciences, engineering sciences and social sciences. From this year, they have been established in the Constitution of LBTU and ensured the status of LBTU scientific university.

With the expiration of the previous Development Strategy this year, new goals of the university's operation have been put forward in discussions at various levels, which are included in the LBTU Development Strategy for 2023-2027: research excellence and innovation capacity, high-quality studies and excellence in university management. The vision of the university is to become a modern, nationally and internationally recognized scientific university - a leader in the innovation of bioeconomy and related industries and in the sustainability of natural resources in the Baltic Sea region. LBTU's inclusion in the international Times Higher Education ranking for the fourth year in a row shows that the set vision is achievable.

New opportunities for students

At the very end of 2021, the student business incubator "Hatch Up" started operating. It was created within the framework of the student innovation program "LLU Student Innovation Skills and Promotion of Entrepreneurship". Thus, this year's students had the first opportunity to take steps in entrepreneurship and develop their ideas or ideas proposed by entrepreneurs already during their studies, before graduating from the university.

In the summer, the first cycle of the incubator ended with the presentation of students' ideas to the jury. The teams that created a soil diagnostic application, designed and developed unique linen dresses and prepared multifunctional wooden furniture were recognized as the most successful. The diversity of students' ideas vividly reflects the diverse directions of the university's activities. In the second half of the year, the second cycle of the program was announced, giving even more students the opportunity to test their abilities and potential to be entrepreneurs.

Restored infrastructure facilities

Similar to other years, continuous work on the improvement and renovation of infrastructure objects continued this year. The increase in the prices of energy resources demanded new and sustainable solutions in the maintenance of buildings, therefore the university started using the services of the heat supply company "Gren". In addition, significant investments have been made in student hotels to increase their energy efficiency and improve students' living conditions. The 2nd and 7th student hotels, as well as part of the 6th student hotel, underwent transformations.

At the same time, this year, construction works were completed in the territory belonging to the Faculty of Forestry on Dobeles Street, where a unique building - the Interdisciplinary Scientific Laboratory of the Faculty of Forestry - was opened next to the Department of Woodworking. It was created with the support of the forest industry and is considered a model building, so that the building itself is the best story about the use of forest, wood and related resources. In its construction, modern, industrially manufactured constructive solutions were used, which can be multiplied in many economic and industrial building projects.

Submitted on: 02/01/2023