Wednesday, October 31, 2007

VVF's new job

Four months ago, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga finished her second term as the Latvian president (probably, she was the best Latvian president ever and most of Latvia was sad to see her go). But VVF did not stay retired for long.

Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga is now the new president of European Research Area Board, a group of experts that will advise EU on scientific research and make policy suggestions to European Commission. It's an advisory role but an important one.

While looking for information on her new appointment, I came across similarly-named
European Research Council which distributes EU funding for research. Their website has the preliminary results of their first grant competition. Latvia did not do well at all and, even in terms of submitted grant proposals, we were the last.

Latvian governments did underfund research quite badly for 12-15 years (from Godmanis government in early 1990s until a few years ago) and we are still seeing the consequences of that. Things have been changing for better in the last few years (I hope the next government continues that) but it will take a while to undo the damage from 12-15 years of underfunding.

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