The 100th Anniversary of Latvia’s Customs and the 25th Anniversary of Customs Education are Celebrated with an International Conference

 

On November 7, 2019, the State Revenue Service (SRS) and Riga Technical University (RTU) organized a conference “Shaping a Smarter Future of Customs” to celebrate the centenary of Latvia’s Customs Service and the 25th anniversary of customs education. It brought together industry experts from all over the world to discuss current issues relevant to customs development.

The role of customs in the world is changing, with security playing an increasingly important role alongside the function of fiscal and legal facilitation of international trade, affecting both customs and customs clients. Therefore, the conference focused on the role of customs in ensuring security and innovation in customs control. Ricardo Treviño, Deputy Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), shared his vision on how customs service is adapting to new threats and opportunities, while Ilze Kuniga, Head of the Customs Policy Unit (TAXUD.A.1), Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union of the European Commission, spoke about the European Commission’s vision for innovation and its role in customs work. The future of Latvia’s Customs was described by Raimonds Zukuls, SRS Deputy Director General in the Field of Customs, Director of the National Customs Board.

Speaking about the development of Latvia’s Customs, Raimonds Zukuls, SRS Deputy Director General in the Field of Customs, Director of the National Customs Board, emphasized: “The paper age, with customs declarations and accompanying documents stored on hundreds of meters of archive shelves, is now in the past. Electronization and automation are a way for the customs to keep up with the speed of movement of goods, while ensuring that restrictions and prohibitions are respected. We have developed state-of-the-art control methods and technologies to protect the EU’s external border and society. The work of customs officers was and will be interesting, responsible, dynamic and international.

Extensive discussions on development-relevant issues were held with representatives from the US Customs and Border Protection of the US Department of Homeland Security, the Pan-European Network of Customs Practitioners (PEN-CP), the International Association of Port Community Systems,

neighbouring Customs Services, SRS of Latvia, State Police of Latvia, universities and organizations of Australia, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the NATO Strategic Communication Center of Excellence, and large companies such as “Latvijas Pasts” and “Microsoft”.

The conference was also attended by many international experts who together with the International Business and Customs Institute (SESMI) of RTU have developed professional standards for customs and a unified customs education system in the world. The demand for well-educated customs officers is increasing because of using sophisticated technical solutions and information systems in customs control. Professor Aivars Vilnis Krastiņš, Director of SESMI, spoke about customs education in Latvia.

He emphasized that high-quality customs education can only exist if the educational institution works closely with the customs, while customs can only get qualified staff in cooperation with the educational institution: “When the winds of changes blow, some build wind catchers, but some – windmills. In the winds of changes, Latvia’s Customs and the customs education system were created from scratch, but today Latvia’s Customs has become one of the most developed and educated in the world and is providing assistance to other countries. RTU SESMI and Latvia’s Customs have jointly built a windmill that works successfully in today’s world.”

This year marks 25 years of customs education in Latvia – in 1994 training of customs officers started at RTU SESMI. RTU is the only educational institution in Latvia with an internationally accredited study program “Administration of Customs and Taxes”, which provides higher education in the field of customs and taxation. The unique study program has been developed in cooperation with the World Customs Organization and the SRS of Latvia.

Latvia’s Customs is celebrating its centenary this year. On December 1, 1919, the Central Customs Office of the State of Latvia was established within the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which started centralized management of the activities of the customs authorities and ensured the formation of the customs structure. The establishment and operation of Latvia’s Customs is economically and politically significant in the context of the independence and history of the Republic of Latvia. In the 1920s, both the structure of the Customs Service and the infrastructure of border crossing and customs control were created to enable the Customs to monitor the movement of goods by land and rail, in ports, post offices, Spilve airport.

Since Latvia’s accession to the European Union, when the role of the Customs in replenishing the Treasury diminished, protection of society has come to the forefront. However, the Customs is also involved in protecting the financial interests of the EU Member States and plays an important role in ensuring that operators who are honest participants in international trade benefit from reliefs defined in the normative acts.

 

 

 

 

RTU MOVES UP THREE PLACES IN QS ECCA RANKING

Riga Technical University (RTU) was ranked 54th in the QS Emerging Europe and Central Asia (ECCA) 2020 ranking, moving up three places in a year. The ECCA is a ranking of regional universities in Europe and Central Asia and includes a total of 350 leading universities in the region. The results of the ranking were released on 15 October.

At the regional level, the reputation of RTU among employers, the level of internationalization reaching a high proportion of foreign lecturers and students, and academic reputation are highly rated. Moreover, the evaluation of these indicators has increased compared to the previous year.

Universities are evaluated according to ten criteria – academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, number of academic staff holding a doctoral degree, citation level of scientific publications, number of scientific publications per faculty, number of international academic staff members, number of international students, as well as web impact.

This year, five higher education institutions from Latvia have been included in the ranking: the University of Latvia – ranked 39th, Riga Stradins University – 141th, Latvia University of Agriculture – 174th, Daugavpils University – ranked in the 231–240 group and Transport and Telecommunication Institute – ranked in the 301–350 group. Among higher education institutions in the Baltic States, the University of Tartu has the highest ranking – 5th place.

Lomonosov Moscow State University was ranked 1st; St. Petersburg State University – 2nd, and Novosibirsk State University – 3rd.

Ranking

RTU Has Achieved the Highest Results So Far in The Eduniversal Ranking

Photo: The Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management of Riga Technical University (RTU) and Riga Business School (RBS) have been included in the 4 palms league of the Eduniversal ranking for the fourth consecutive year; RBS Director Jānis Grēviņš (from left) and Vice-Dean of RTU Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management Inga Lapiņa (in the middle) receive the acknowledgment of being awarded 4 palms.

The Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management (FEEM) of Riga Technical University (RTU) and Riga Business School (RBS) have been ranked high – in the 4 palms league – in the world’s best business school ranking «Eduniversal» for the fourth consecutive year for outstanding academic excellence, outstanding quality and strong international influence in business and management education. The Master study program «Innovations and Entrepreneurship» implemented by the FEEM has been rated the best in Eastern Europe.

The Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking 2019 includes ten out of 12 RTU FEEM and RBS Master study programs, attesting their quality and international competitiveness. The evaluation of all programs has improved compared to the previous year, for example, the program «Total Quality Management» has risen 19 places. It ranks 12th among the top 100 Master study programs in quality management in the world. The program «Administration of Customs and Taxes», which is the first study program accredited by the World Customs Organization, has also received a higher international rating. It ranks 30th best in the world in its field.

Two more study programs implemented by RTU FEEM – «Urban and Regional Engineering Economics» (23rd in Sustainable Development and Environmental Management) and «Entrepreneurship and Management» (36th in Entrepreneurship) – have been included among the top 100 university and business school programs in the world. The program «Civil Construction and Real Estate Management» ranks 18th among the 50 best programs in the world.

Among the 200 best university and business school programs in Eastern Europe, the study programs implemented by RTU FEEM take leading positions, for example, the professional study program «Innovations and Entrepreneurship» is recognized as the best in this field. The program develops creative thinking and the ability to create new values, educates and trains entrepreneurs and executives to work at companies and organizations of all sizes and areas. The programs «Business Finance» and «Organization and Management of International Economic Relations» rank 4th in their respective fields, while the academic study program «Economics» ranks 6th. In turn, the study program implemented by RBS «Master of Business Administration» has been evaluated three times – it ranks 14th in Marketing, 4th in Professional MBA and 15th in Executive MBA among the 200 best Eastern European programs.

The French rating and consulting company SMBG every year assesses 1,000 best universities and business schools in the Eduniversal ranking and it evaluates the top Master study programs and MBA programs in 50 different specializations in 154 countries worldwide. Eduniversal Business Schools Ranking is a league of five palms. The top 4 palms league includes 200 business schools of outstanding standing and considerable international influence, including RTU and RBS. The ranking aims at helping students choose the most appropriate schools in East Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Central Asia, Eurasia and the Middle East, Latin America, Oceania, Western Europe and North America.

RTU RESEARCHERS WILL HELP TO RECOGNIZE AND MANAGE STRESS AT WORK

Researchers of Riga Technical University (RTU) within the framework of an international project are developing specific training modules and practical tools to help organizations and employees across Europe to recognize, prevent and avoid negative workplace stress.

«We have been complaining about stress a lot lately. But stress should be seen as a normal part of everyday life. Sometimes it can also aid in reaching the goal. Stress can motivate us to get promoted at work or run the last kilometre of a marathon. But if we are unable to recognize and manage stress and it becomes prolonged, it can have a serious impact on the quality of work and also on our health. Each of us has different stressors. According to various surveys, stress at work is at the top of the list, and stressors are different – heavy workload, long working hours, too much responsibility, bad management, unclear results to be achieved, discrimination, no involvement in decision-making, etc. Each stress level will vary by personality and how we react to situations. Stress in the work environment is the result of a number of long-lasting irritants, even everyday things, and then slowly starts moving forward like a giant snowball if we do not notice the stressors that need to be noticed and recognized», says Zane Rostoka, a researcher and doctoral student at the Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management. Stress causes billions of losses

Temporary and mild stress helps an employee to mobilize, it even acts as a driving force, but prolonged stress at the workplace has a negative impact on the mental and physical health of workers. It worsens the work ability and working lifespan of employees – they get tired quickly, work carelessly, make mistakes, are sick more often and suffer from depression. According to the report «Calculating the cost of work-related stress and psychosocial risks» by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the cost of work-related depression in Europe is estimated at around € 617 billion annually. This amount includes the cost of absenteeism, loss of productivity, healthcare, and disability benefits. Another European study by the agency shows that stress is a major work safety and health concern in approximately 80% of European companies, but only a limited number of these companies or organizations have introduced specific procedures to prevent work-related stress; there is a lack of skills and expertise.

Reducing stress level by at least 10%

RTU Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management is one of the partners in the Erasmus+ co-funded international project «Improving management competences on Excellence-based Stress avoidance and working towards Sustainable organisational development in Europe» (IMPRESS). In the project, scientists and experts from German, Spanish, Latvian and Irish universities and organizations are developing a set of solutions that helps to understand how stress affects all aspects of entrepreneurship, such as management style, cost of absenteeism, work organization, work-life balance, demographic change, staff training, information flow, and also to identify and prevent stress risk factors.

Extensive research has already been carried out in all project partner countries to identify individual factors in the work environment that contribute to engagement and satisfaction (motivation) by analysing interactions with organizational management processes such as work content / asignments, working conditions and workload, team and collaboration, work role and responsibility, attitudes and behaviours, organizational climate and collaboration, control and clarity, role and support of the management, well-being and stress, employee satisfaction and engagement.

The research analyses these processes in interaction with individual factors. The research in Latvia has shown that a factor such as «clarity and control» is ranked higher than «management and support». However, the factor «management and social support» has a greater impact on «well-being and tension». Factors such as «organizational environment and culture», «role and responsibility levels» and «working conditions and workload» all have a significant impact on well-being as well as engagement and satisfaction. Respondents cited poor work planning, excessive workload, controversial demands and unclear work responsibilities as key stressors, along with decision-making regarding employees without involving them in the process, ineffective communication, lack of management and peer support, etc. Overall, only 2.1% of respondents in Latvia reported high levels of tension whereas 56.8% of respondents in Latvia mentioned high levels of engagement and job satisfaction.

This summer researchers also developed training modules, the approbation of which will begin in the autumn. According to their competences, RTU researchers developed modules to cover the following topics: stress, stressors, their recognition in the work environment, organization of work environment processes, impact of working conditions on productivity, changes in work content and environment, management of new forms of work (e.g., remote work), workload and workflow management, organizational work environment, culture, team collaboration, employee attitude and behaviour, demands and tasks for the employee, their compliance with the workload, etc.

Modules developed by researchers of Latvia as well as modules developed in other Member States will be approbated in Latvia. It is planned that they will be approbated by students and experts of RTU Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management.

After approbation, all modules will be combined into an innovative stress assessment and management tool. It will help to recognize and evaluate stress levels, identify how to prevent an increase in individual stressors through e-learning, and use a special test to assess the changes made. IMPRESS aims to reduce the causes of stress by 10%, which could save the European economy more than € 10 billion in 2035.

New motivation

Currently, the greatest stress for managers is caused by staff shortage, it is difficult to attract specialists and motivate young employees. «Employees set high demands, especially young ones with great ambitions; everyone wants a high salary from the first day of work and wishes to be a manager. For young people, interesting work content in the work environment is essential, but there is often lack of self-initiative to take on additional responsibilities without the manager’s instructions. Young employees work while the job is interesting for them, they are open, they travel, they work for one employer then for another, and they want to enjoy life without making extra commitments», says the researcher at RTU Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management. She admits that managers are often confused and do not know how to manage such an employee. Namely, managers are capable of managing unconscious (hygiene) motivational factors: reward and working conditions. Often employers and also employees mainly operate with financial and other material motivators. However, it is essential to be able to evaluate and manage the unconscious motivators – organizational culture, values and goals; management’s ability to represent values, set goals, motivate and develop the team, involve employees in the decision-making process; sense of belonging; opportunities for professional development and career development (horizontal and vertical), including training and capacity-building programs, work-life integration and interconnection; professional activity as self-expression. Motivators are changing and evolving with economic and societal growth. Today, employees are mostly motivated by the goal, mission, and work-life balance. An international study published in 2014 by Deloitte University Press shows that today employees are more than twice as motivated by work content as their career ambitions.

Using experience, training and assignments

The research carried out within the IMPRESS project shows that stressors are similar across Europe, but with slightly different intensities, namely, which factor has a greater impact. For example, in many European countries more stress is caused by ensuring equality between women and men in the work environment, whereas in Latvia this problem is less topical, although the pay for the same work is still different for women and men, says Z. Rostoka. Latvia, on the other hand, differs with the work environment and the culture of mutual relations – we are more closed, we avoid talking about unpleasant issues, the atmosphere at work is not so free, so there is a greater risk of conflict.

The IMPRESS training modules are developed taking into account that they must be equally effective throughout Europe. RTU specialists combine theoretical and scientifically grounded findings, as well as experience and practical tasks of various experts so that both employers and employees can immediately recognize stressors and make the right decision to reduce them. The experience of local and foreign users and experts will also be taken into account during the approbation.

 

For information

«Improving management competences on Excellence-based Stress avoidance and working towards Sustainable organisational development in Europe»

Project No. 588315-EPP-1-2017-ES-EPPKA2-KA

Funding: Erasmus+

 

Partners: GAIA – «Association of Electronic and Information Technologies in the Basque Country», University of Barcelona,  Technical University of Munich, Riga Technical University, «Riga East University Hospital» Ltd., Eurofortis, «IBK Management Solutions GmbH.», «The International Industrial Consult IIC AG», Waterford Chamber of Commerce, NGO «Mutualia»

Implementation time: 01/11/2017 – 31/10/2020

Source: RTU, IMPRESS

How to deal with stress at work can also be found on Latvian Radio’s program «How to Live Better» (19/09/2019, in the Latvian language)

RINA LEADS EU-FUNDED PROJECT TO INCREASE THE SECURITY AND RESILIENCE OF THE EUROPEAN GAS NETWORK

The European gas network forms an integral part of the EU’s energy needs and its plans to meet the carbon reduction figures set out in the Paris Agreement. It already forms a significant role in the energy mix accounting for 22 percent of the energy usage, and with the growth of power-to-gas technologies initiatives, it is expected to grow.

The gas network is complex by nature and highly interconnected. It crosses borders, utilizes a variety of different transportation pipelines, and is served by numerous diverse storage arrangements. All this complexity makes it a relevant example of Critical Infrastructure (CI) vulnerable to disruption by natural disasters, accidents, cyber-attacks, malicious behaviour, criminal activity or terrorism. Moreover, any outages or shortage in supply can have an adverse effect on the security of the EU and the well-being of its citizens.

Therefore, providing security and resilience to this vital resource and its infrastructure is of paramount importance. However, given the interconnected nature of infrastructure and potential cascading effects, ensuring security requires a broader understanding of the ramifications of a disruption. Among CI, the gas network and infrastructure represent a challenging case to be made secure and resilient to both physical and cyber threats, and their combination in orchestrated pervasive and long-lasting threat vectors.

When it comes to physical threats, EGIG (European Gas pipeline Incident data Group) reported a total of 1366 incidents from 1970-2016, the leading causes being Third Party Interference (TPI), such as ground works, malicious acts and sabotages, and ground movements. When it comes to cyber threats, although the numbers of incidents reported so far is less, the results can be devastating as well. Attacks such as Night Dragon and Shamoon have caused considerable financial damage to oil and gas companies. Global figures estimate that cybersecurity breaches in oil and gas and power cost operators $1,87 billion up to 2018.

In this context, to ensure the security and resilience of the EU gas network, RINA is coordinating a major Research and Development EU collaborative project, SecureGas. In line with the European Energy Security Strategy, the European Programme for European Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP), the EU’s reliance on gas imports and the EU Regulation 2017/1938 on Security of Gas Supply, the project focuses on the 140.000km of the European gas network covering the entire value chain from production to distribution, providing methodologies, tools, and guidelines to secure existing and incoming installations and make them resilient to cyber-physical threats.

Over the course of the project, it will define a blueprint on how critical gas infrastructure should be planned, designed, built, operated, and maintained to cope with cyber-physical security threats. This will serve as baseline for defining a High-Level Reference Architecture (HLRA), that will be used as guideline for adapting, customizing, integrating technological components that will be finally demonstrated in a set of Business Cases. The resulting outcomes will be offered as services for the security and resilience of the EU gas network through a Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, that allows modularity, flexibility, cooperation, and third-party interoperability.

The project boasts a multidisciplinary consortium of 21 international partners. It is made up of integrated energy company (ENI S.p.A.), gas corporation (Public Gas Corporation of Greece S.A), TSO – Transmission system operator (AB Amber Grid), and DSO-Distribution system operator (Attiki Natural Gas Distribution Company S.A.), managing all together +15000km of pipelines; technology providers active in the field of Security and Critical Infrastructure (Leonardo S.p.A., Guardtime A.S., Elbit Systems Ltd., WINGS ICT Solutions, IDEMIA Identity & Security Germany AG, EXUS, GAP Analysis S.A., Innov-Acts Ltd., and Disaster Management, Advice and Training Consulting KG), research and academic institutions in Energy, Security and Resilience Engineering (Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung, Kentro Meleton Asfaleias, Joint Research Centre Ispra, Riga Technical University, Technologická platforma Energetická bezpečnost ČR), to support the project implementation. Finally, the Stakeholder Platform (SP), led by Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea, will provide advice to secure a long-lasting diffusion of the project outcomes, beyond the project perimeter as well.

This project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 833017.

RINA provides a wide range of services across the Energy, Marine, Certification, Transport & Infrastructure and Industry sectors. With a turnover in 2018 of 440 million Euros, about 3,700 employees and 170 offices in 65 countries worldwide, RINA is a member of key international organizations and an important contributor to the development of new legislative standards.

RTU HAS BEEN INCLUDED IN THE EUROPE TEACHING RANKINGS 2019 AND IT IS THE HIGHEST RANKED HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION IN LATVIA

Riga Technical University (RTU) is included in the 200+ best university group of the Europe Teaching Rankings 2019. This is the rating of the prestigious international rating agency THE (Times Higher Education), which uses student surveys as the main source of data for in-depth assessment of two criteria – learning and teaching. RTU has been included in this rating for the first time.

The ranking used a wide range of student surveys – 125,000 students were interviewed, including RTU students. The questions included in the surveys explain student engagement, outcomes, the diversity of of institutions’ environments, and the resources that universities have in order to teach effectively.

RTU performance in student engagement has been highly ranked. This criterion assesses student engagement in the learning process, student interaction, whether and to what extent students recommend their higher education institution to others, as well as the link between students and the labour market. Student engagement is the most important of all four criteria in the rating, as its share is 35% in total rating.

The diversity of RTU learning and teaching environment has also been highly ranked, which analyses the gender balance in academic staff, students, the proportion of foreign students, the participation of students in the Erasmus+ mobility program. The diversity of the learning environment accounts for 25% of the total rating, while the other two criteria – student outcomes and resources available for effective teaching – account for 20% each.

The University of Latvia (UL) has also been included in the ranking, which, likewise RTU, ranks in the group of 200+ higher education institutions. In three out of the four ranking criteria, RTU results are better than that of the UL.

The University of Oxford is number one, followed by the University of Cambridge (both from the UK) and the University of Navarra from Spain is ranked third. A total of 258 European universities have been ranked.

Europe Teaching Rankings 2019

RIGA TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY RECEIVES AWARD FOR LEADERSHIP IN INNOVATION

Riga Technical University (RTU) has been given the award for «Leadership in Innovation» for its contribution to promoting innovation, and has been placed in the Platinum Category of the Sustainability Index assessment for the second year in a row. The high evaluations were achieved through purposeful efforts in the development of innovation, as well as efforts to bring to life the green lifestyle and provide scientific contribution to the development of environmentally friendly technologies.

The Sustainability Index methodology explains that companies that have received the platinum category have fully integrated corporate responsibility into their activities, and they have appointed responsible persons on both the board and executive level. These companies systematically collect data and assess impact, as well as report on their activities with a high level of transparency and by involving stakeholders, and an external auditor confirms their published data.
RTU was included in the Platinum Category of the Sustainability Index in 2018. However, it is the first time that RTU has received the award for «Leadership in Innovation». This year nineteen companies were included in the Platinum Category. The solemn award ceremony of the Sustainability Index took place on 13 June.

In order to reduce the consumption of plastic bottles and the total amount of waste, there are drinking water fountains located at RTU faculties and waste is sorted. The green principles are considered when building, reconstructing and equipping facilities. An important role is played by innovations of RTU scientists, which are approbated in Ķīpsala. For example, energy-efficient outdoor LED lighting is installed in the student campus, while in students’ hostels and RTU Ķīpsala Swimming Pool, heat energy obtained from warm wastewater is used to heat water.

RTU implements digitization by gradually giving up the circulation of printed documents and switching to electronic services. RTU also cares about employee loyalty and organizes events for their families. These efforts have also been appreciated for the fourth consecutive year by awarding the status of a Family-Friendly Enterprise to RTU.

Sustainability Index is a strategic management tool that helps Latvian enterprises establish the level of sustainability and corporate responsibility, while providing the public, state and non-governmental organizations with objective criteria to praise and support the most forward-looking and responsible companies in Latvia.

RTU MOVES UP IN THE PRESTIGIOUS «QS WORLD UNIVERSITY RANKINGS»

Riga Technical University (RTU), compared to last year, has climbed to the 701–750 place in the «QS World University Rankings 2020», and this indicator is the highest out of all evaluation results of the three Latvian universities included in the ranking. The other two Latvian universities remained in the 801–1000 place range. RTU earned the highest praise for its engagement of foreign students, reputation among employers, and has improved its international prestige.

The ranking includes 1001 best universities in the world from 82 countries. Higher education institutions were assessed taking into consideration six criteria: Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, Citations per Paper, Faculty/Student Ratio, as well as International Faculty and International Students.

RTU received the highest appraisal for its increase of foreign students, ranking 437th in the global assessment, while for its employer reputation RTU ranked 449th, and the increase of the international faculty that ranked RTU as 543rd, is also of importance. The international faculty ratio indicator is the one where RTU has shown the most rapid growth, increasing its position by 39 places since last year.

RTU has been included in the «QS World University Rankings» for the third year in a row. Other universities from Latvia that are included in the ranking are University of Latvia and Rīga Stradiņš University, which both, same as last year, remained in 801–1000 range.

The assessment of Academic Reputation and Employer Reputation is based on extensive international surveys. Employers and academicians not only from Latvia but also from other countries expressed their opinion about RTU, and this fact only underlines the international significance of this prestigious ranking.  The performance of higher education institutions in the remaining four criteria was assessed on the basis of submitted data that was verified according to internationally available information.

As in the previous two years, this year Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been ranked first, Stanford University – second, and Harvard University – third in the «QS World University Rankings». The results of the ranking were published on 19 June.

RTU has also shown convincingly the best results among 18 Latvian higher education institutions at the beginning of June in the «U-Multirank» rating, being the only Latvian university that received the largest number of top or A-level assessment in 11 criteria, for example, for graduate students employed, number of spin-offs, and funding attracted for science projects.

«QS World University Rankings»: www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings

THREE UNIVERSITIES WILL OFFER A UNIQUE IT STUDY PROGRAMME FOR THE FUTURE DIGITAL LEADERS

 

In the new academic year, Riga Technical University (RTU) will offer its students a new study programme «Computer Science and Organizational Technologies» developed jointly by Riga Technical University, University of Latvia (UL) and the State University of New York at Buffalo. This programme will educate and train high-level information technology (IT) experts — the potential business leaders. The mentioned programme is the first step in the initiative of the two largest Latvian universities, government and private entrepreneurs to annually educate 3,000 IT professionals in Latvia. On Wednesday, 24 April, all collaboration partners confirmed their commitment by signing a memorandum of cooperation.

The new academic Bachelor study programme «Computer Science and Organizational Technologies» has been created taking into consideration the potential information and communication technology (ICT) industry development in Latvia and the growing demand for high-level ICT professionals. The programme was developed jointly by Riga Technical University, UL and the State University of New York at Buffalo. It will educate and train the future IT leaders – people who are able to manage large projects and companies, creating Latvian and Baltic leadership in the IT field.

 

The study programme will be implemented in English, and the studies will take four years to complete, with the possibility to spend the last year at the University at Buffalo. During the first two years, students will acquire the all-round theoretical basis or the basic knowledge, whereas at the beginning of the third year they will be able to choose a specialization. In the sphere of computer science, there will be a possibility to specialize in the field of artificial intelligence and data representation, as well as algorithms and computer security, while the management field will offer two areas of specialization – finance and general management.

 

The two largest universities – UL and RTU – will implement an identical study programme that will be coordinated by RTU Riga Business School, which has established a long-term cooperation with the University at Buffalo. Students will be able to choose at which university – RTU or UL – they want to study the programme. Prospective students will have to pass entrance examinations.

Upon completion of the programme, students will receive Bachelor’s degree in Computerised Control and Computer Science. It is envisaged that each of the universities will issue their own diploma for the obtained Bachelor’s degree.

There are no state budget allocated places in the new study programme; however, this is the first time that a new study programme has been created not only by universities, but also thanks to the financial contribution and support from the government – the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Economics – and the private sector – banking and IT industry. Their contribution is used for the elaboration of the study programme and professional development of academic staff because, since the programme is established on the basis of Computer Science programme at the University at Buffalo, the academic staff of RTU and UL will develop their knowledge by undertaking fieldwork in the USA.

Collaboration partners have joined the project recognising the labour market demand for high-level IT professionals – leaders of the digital world who are not only first-class IT professionals, but, possessing business knowledge, are able to manage large projects and run companies, and set the vision and the direction for the digital world.

 

 

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