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The Federation of Security and Defence Industries of Latvia (FSDI) presented the Defence Industry Annual Prize in Education and Research on Wednesday, 7 October. First prize was awarded to Prof. Māris Taube, Lead Researcher at the Military Medicine Research and Study Centre at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU). Doctoral student and researcher of the RSU Military Medicine Research and Study Centre, Darja Ņesteroviča, received second prize, and third prize went to Gatis Šūpols and Gatis Gaigals – researchers at the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science.

This is the second time that FSDI Latvia, with the support of the Latvian Security and Defence Cluster, awarded annual prizes intended to provide researchers with an incentive to focus their efforts on Latvian and global security. ‘Security is crucial for the existence of Latvia and Europe. This is evidenced by regional conflicts, international terrorism, electronic warfare, the migration crisis and, currently, the COVID-19 pandemic. When the public feels safe, the economy and prosperity grow and we can pursue ambitious goals such as a greener and more digital economy, and provide better education and health care,’ says Elīna Egle, Chairwoman of the Board at FSDI Latvia.

Prof. Māris Taube won first prize comprising 1,500 euros for his research project Leadership Tools for Suicide Prevention. The research focuses on strengthening the role of military leaders in suicide prevention in the military units of NATO member states and is a follow-up to the project Suicide in the Military Environment which earned the NATO Scientific Achievement Award.

RSU doctoral student and technical orthopaedist Darja Ņesteroviča was awarded second prize - 1,000 euros for the research project Biomechanical Aspects of Wearing Military Footwear and Their Relation to the Lower Extremity Injuries Caused by Overexertion. Both military personnel and officers with specialised service ranks (police officers, border guards, firemen) will benefit from the findings. Ņesteroviča’s participation in the international research project Reducing Musculoskeletal Injuries organised by the NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO) also deserves recognition. She worked on this project together with researchers from the USA, Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia and Spain, and contributed with calculations of musculoskeletal injury rates.

The third prize award was 500 euros and was awarded to researchers from the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science, Gatis Šūpols and Gatis Gaigals, who conducted their research project Radio Frequency Scanner (ANTE) in cooperation with SIA DATI Group.

The winners of the Defence Industry Annual Prize in Education and Research were selected by a cross-sectoral jury comprising representatives from FSDI Latvia, the Latvian parliament, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Education and Science.