RSU Research Breakfast Events Held On-site and Online
On 2 September the first Research Breakfast of this academic year was held at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU), where researchers, students and other interested parties were able to participate on-site in the Senate Hall, or remotely via Zoom. The Research Breakfast began with a speech by RSU Vice-rector for Science Agrita Kiopa, who opened the new season of the RSU Doctoral School and introduced a wide range of upcoming seminars and other events. More detailed information is available on the RSU Doctoral School website.
Kiopa outlined the diverse range of topics that the Doctoral School covers, for instance seminars by visiting Associate Professor Sergio Uribe from Austral University of Chile (Universidad Austral de Chile) on data use and management, as well as a seminar on quality research methods in social sciences by Liene Ozoliņa, a social policy expert and lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Later the Vice-rector for Science provided information about one of the research-based education approaches implemented by RSU: the vertically-integration project (VIP) study courses. RSU is one of the first institutions of higher education in the Baltic States to implement this approach and stands to gain the following benefits the courses: strong and competitive cross-industry teams, intensive integration of research into the study process, and other improvements. The VIP courses consist of teams of 6 to 12 students who work on particular research tasks under the guidance of their lecturers. It is essential that a team is made up of students from different fields and study levels: a second-year student might be on the same team as a doctoral student. They should all share an interest in the subject of the specific team – celiac disease in children, the work environment, microbiology, state foundations or other topics.
Afterwards Associate Professor Ivars Vanadziņš, the Director of the RSU Institute for Occupational Safety and Environmental Health, spoke on how to put the possibilities offered by the VIP courses into practice and shared his experience. The aim of the VIP teams is to provide the students from various RSU faculties with knowledge and practical skills in organising and implementing research, develop planning skills and implement long-term multidisciplinary cooperation between various industries.
Vanadziņš introduced the participants of the Research Breakfast with VIP Ergonomic Workspace in a Healthy Environment, already implemented by the RSU Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The experience of the VIP courses shows that students engage in practical work with great enthusiasm, and that it is possible to organise joint discussions with the help of remote Zoom sessions. VIP has also been a new and positive experience for lecturers. The challenging part, in Vanadziņš' opinion, is the additional time required to engage and organise the practical work. Anyone who's interested can apply for a VIP course via MyRSU.
Implementing VIP at RSU takes place within a project co-funded by the European Social Fund Improvement to promote the management process and study content modernisation at RSU (No. 126.96.36.199/18/A/011). The objective of the project is to strengthen RSU's competitiveness by modernising study programmes in line with the development needs of society and the industry, facilitating the link between research and studies, as well as to improve the management staff's processes and skills. The total funding of the project is 2,290,800 euros, of which 1,947,180 euros is co-funded by the European Social Fund and 343,620 by the state budget.
The RSU Research Breakfast wrapped up with speech by Raimonds Strods, Project Manager of Teaching and Learning at the Centre for Educational Growth, who introduced participants to the target scholarships of the Boriss Teterevs Foundation. It is possible to obtain a scholarship that aims to promote the effective integration of international visiting lecturers into RSU, a sholarship to modernise the health care study programmes and social sciences study programmes. Applications for the targeted scholarship must be submitted by 25 September. Research Breakfast participants were invited to apply for scholarships to create a new VIP course, as well as to improve study programmes by integrating research.
Representatives from the Technology Transfer Office invite all interested parties to apply for future Research Breakfast events. In October a report for various target audiences on the results of the National Research Programme to Mitigate the Consequences of COVID-19 will be drawn up at a Research Breakfast event.