Integrated sectoral, scientific and educational development promotion
The Institute has developed a twinning plan that analyses the situation, and future actions are planned in two directions:
- sectoral collaboration (commercial horticulture and food);
- collaboration with scientific institutions and universities.
The purpose of the plan is to develop the collaboration of the Institute of Horticulture on a national and international level in order to advance research activities in horticultural and food sectors and to promote discovery of new knowledge and its application in the national economy thus positively reflecting on the recognition of Institute of Horticulture.
Commercial fruit-growing took its modern form in the mid-1990s, based on the research of the scientists of the Institute, in close collaboration with growers and Latvian Orchardman Association. Since the advancement of commercial fruit-growing in its modern sense with the help of scientists has started, the acreage of new orchards has significantly increased over the last 15 years. Relatively new cultures, which are also unique in Europe and globally, have been introduced into production. Institute of Horticulture regularly hosts “Field Days” during which the institute shares the most recent research results with the plant growers. The plant growers are offered individual consultations on how to choose the right cultivation technologies and cultivars depending on the chosen cultivation profile (for integrated and organic farms). The scientists regularly participate in the development of documents, laws and regulations of fruit-growing and food sectors.
Since 2010, the Institute of Horticulture is the home of Technology Transfer Centre in Fruit-Growing (FruitTechCentre), which has been created jointly with Lithuanian Institute of Horticulture. With the help of the FruitTechCentre and through the realisation of various projects, informative and educational materials have been compiled (books, brochures, web-pages, video content), as well as descriptions of technologies and technological solutions. All content is freely accessible at the FruitTechCentre’s official website - http://fruittechcentre.eu/.
In collaboration with processing companies, Institute of Horticulture conducts research on technology improvement and new product development. Over the last 3 years with the aid of Business incubators, four producers have introduced scientist-developed technologies in the production process, developing an innovative business activity. More than 10 products have successfully entered the Latvian market. These products are being exported or are in the process of exporting.
Within the science of horticulture, a lesser number of scientific research projects have been conducted, and the transfer of knowledge has been comparatively insignificant. Currently, HORIZON2020 project EUROLEGUME is being realized, within which the transfer of knowledge through seminars and open doors days takes place. Periodically, scientists of vegetable-growing publish articles on vegetable cultivation in popular journals, including research results.
Institute’s goal in technology transfer sector: to increase horticulture sector-related innovation and competitive capacity of SMEs by introducing developed technologies in the Institute and by expanding research spectre and amount (especially in vegetable-growing).
Collaboration with scientific institutions and universities
LatHort is actively collaborating (at different levels) with 48 foreign scientific institutions in 23 different countries, of which strategically important partners are 6 institutions in Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Switzerland. Up to the present day, this international collaboration has included different activities: joint research projects, publications, scientist exchange programs, breeding material and research information exchange. The most significant outcome of the collaboration include: the joint science projects (conducted with 16 foreign partners), the scientist participation in FP7/Horizon2020, EUROSTAR, EUREKA, INTERREG project proposal preparation, as well as participation in 5 COST Action activities. Institute of Horticulture scientists share joint publications with colleagues from 16 foreign institutions. The scientist exchange programme has been carried out with 7 foreign institutions. A breeding material exchange is carried out on a regular basis with 35 collaboration institutions. Institute's scientists represent Latvia in several sectoral organisations - EUFRIN, EUVRIN, ECPGR, ISHS, EUCARPIA. The collaboration in research projects will be continued and expanded in the future, promoting international recognition.
Collaboration with scientific institutions in Latvia
Through the realisation of various research projects, the Institute has developed valuable collaboration with all scientific institutions in Latvia that are directly or indirectly connected to agricultural and food sciences. Historically close collaboration has been developed with Latvian Plant Protection Research Centre, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Food Technology), Latvian State Forest Research Institute "Silava", etc. Currently, Institute of Horticulture collaborates with 13 scientific institutions and university departments. In the future, the collaboration focus will be shifted to qualitative collaboration project development, introducing more interdisciplinary research that will significantly contribute to the introduction and diversification of sustainable agricultural practice in Latvia.
Integrated development of science and education
Traditionally, Institute of Horticulture has developed collaboration with educational institutions that prepare experts in horticulture and food sectors, as well as in supporting sectors (Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, University of Latvia, Riga Stradins University) by annually facilitating bachelor's, master's and doctor's thesis drafting within the institute. Institute of Horticulture scientists are members of LUoLSaT doctorate council and master's examination committee, also taking part in reviewing doctorate thesis. Dobele and Pūre have internship programmes for students of LUoLSaT and Bulduri Secondary School of Gardening. The institute also works with students of Dobele State Gymnasium, conducting research work drafting. Institute of Horticulture scientists are members of state examination committee at LUoLSaT and Bulduri Secondary School of Gardening. It creates an opportunity for evaluating the educational level of the new experts and identifying deficiencies in education that can be averted in collaboration with the teaching staff by developing internship and study programmes.
The Institute of Horticulture must become the leader in research and transfer of knowledge in sectoral areas. It must be a place where research work of various level is conducted in collaboration with LUoLSaT, UoL, RSU and other universities. A certain capacity of the institute is to be dedicated to facilitating internships to university students, specialised college students, and for collaboration with students of institutions of general education.
Goal in collaboration with scientific institutions and universities: to promote national and international collaboration for advancing the development of interdisciplinary and internationally competitive research, the coordination of research activities, the useful utilization of scientific potential and infrastructure, the strengthening of international recognition.