On November 23, 2016 during the conference “Spreading Excellence and Crossing the Innovation Divide” organized by the European Commission in Brussels, the Director-General of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Robert-Jan Smits and the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas announced the winners of “WIDESPREAD 1-2014: Teaming” competition. The Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia (ISSP) is the only scientific institution in the Baltic Sea region to be granted support from the European Commission for the Horizon 2020 program “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation”. 169 submitted proposals were evaluated in a two-stage process, and a multinational group of experts selected ten best projects. The project CAMART² from Latvia was ranked as the 5th best project.

The goal of the project is to strengthen ISSP and the position of Latvia among the leading European nations in the realm of science and high-tech developments through materials research and the transfer of technology. The project will have a strategic impact on scientific, industrial and economic developments in Latvia as well as the entire Baltic Sea region. ISSP will establish open access laboratories to promote research, innovation and high-tech commercialization in Latvia. These laboratories will be open to academic and industrial institutions throughout the whole Baltic Sea region.

In this project, in collaboration with the University of Latvia, Master’s and doctoral level educational programs will be revised and upgraded in order to train specialists in the fields of nanomaterials, nanoelectronics, nanophotonics and related high-tech fields. The dynamic environment at the Centre of Excellence will foster the development of new products and start-up enterprises through enhanced interactions between students, scientists and entrepreneurs.

CAMART² is based on collaboration between ISSP, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) – the largest technical university in Sweden, and Acreo Swedish ICT (Acreo) – the Swedish research institute for microelectronics and optics. The Centre of Excellence will profit from the complementary expertise of the project partners in business and science, and their rich experience in commercialization of the research results accumulated at the Nordic innovation cluster Kista Science City. The CAMART² project will take the services, knowhow and capabilities of all partners into account to create a joint research and technology transfer platform for the promotion of science, innovation and industrial developments.

The European Commission has made a grant EUR 15 million to support the development of the Centre of Excellence during the next seven years. In addition, under the management of the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia and Ministry of Economics of Latvia, over EUR 16 million from the European Regional Development Funds will be invested in the development of research and technology transfer infrastructure, thus bringing the total investment amount to over EUR 31 million.

ISSP is a leading research centre in Latvia, which conducts internationally competitive materials science research and education, as well as providing innovative solutions to industry.

In 2013, the international scientists group Technopolis recognized the ISSP as the second best ranked scientific institute in the fields of natural sciences and mathematics in Latvia, and also ranked it as second highest among all research institutions in Latvia.