Research Council of Lithuania
Research Council of Lithuania started new initiatives designed to promote research for the state and society needs. A call to frame National Research programs a year ago prompted to formulate five national programs from nearly 150 initiatives by scientists.
The selection involved a multi-step procedure including a consolidation of proposals, expertise by the Science Council experts, evaluation by respective ministries and formation of working groups to finalize and prepare the programs.
This experience could be beneficial to other partners as an experience of targeted policies as a response to societal and state needs, especially when innovation system has to be established. The Research Council also initiated scientific practice to the students of universities for 1-2 months during vacation period. The practice involves selection of the best supervisors and then students may apply for a position in the respective laboratory or department. This was welcomed by hundreds of students many of them selected a topic for their graduation thesis and even future career in science.
Participating in the project will enable to transform the former Science Council of Lithuania which was only the advisory body on science and research policy to the Parliament into the respective Research Council after the respective amendment to the law on science and education was passed by the parliament in December 2007.
The new role of the Research Council includes funding of research projects, grant scheme for the best young and advanced researchers, evaluation centers of excellence. To realize these tasks an experience from other countries is valuable. The following problems are to be solved in immediate future with the aim to effectively use the European Union financial assistance for the period 2007-2013, of which the Government 10 % allocated for research and innovation.
Therefore the need to prepare funding schemes based on the peer review by international reviewers, which formerly was rarely used in Lithuania, to identify the excellence centers and set the National Innovation System are the urgent objectives.
Established in 1991 the Science Council of Lithuania is and remains an initiator or an evaluator of all the most important legislative proposals in the field of the Lithuanian science and studies system. The main aims of the Council are to seek that this system would efficiently develop research and development projects which are of primary importance to the State economy, social development, international co-operation, higher education, and contribute to the creation of intellectual services and science-oriented high tech production as well.
In May 2008, the Science Council of Lithuania of the seventh term started its work. Its goals, objectives and the ways of achieving them were laid out in the amendment (December 2007) of the article 11 of the Law on Science and Studies of the Republic of Lithuania as well as in the Regulations of the Science Council of Lithuania transforming the latter into the respective Research Council. The results of the Council’s work include in-depth reports on the most important issues of research, higher education as well as the innovation policy. Council decisions, the proposals to the Seimas (Parliament), the Government and the science and studies institutions are defined. Major attention is paid to the development of a science-oriented society in the context of globalisation and international integration, which is capable of effectively competing in the modern technology, services and product markets, as well as to be aware of and to preserve its national identity.
Although there are many well-known and internationally recognised groups of Lithuanian scientists and science institutions, successfully participating in the scientific projects of the European Union, NATO and other international organisations, it is still desired to increase their number. Strengthening the connections of science with business and industry will also be pursued.
The Research Council of Lithuania is open to new ideas, which puts a great effort into increasing the role of the Lithuanian system of science and higher education in all areas of countries life.
E. Butkus obtained a PhD in 1979. During the academic year 1980-81 he was a postdoc at The Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague, the then Czechoslovakia. His entire career is associated with the Vilnius University: having served as a Lecturer, Senior lecturer and Associate Professor, he became a Head of the Department of Organic Chemistry in 1991 and obtained a full Professorship in 1997. E. Butkus was appointed the Chairman of the Science Council of Lithuania in 2003 and the Chairman of the Research Council of Lithuania in 2008.
During period of 1992-2000 he was a visiting fellow at Lund University, Sweden, under scholarships from The Swedish Institute, SOCRATES program, etc. In 1994 he carried out a EU TEMPUS project at Vrije Universiteit, Brussels. In 1998 he had the American Chemical Society International Exchange program grant at the Princeton and Minnesota Duluth Universities.
E. Butkus has published over 70 papers in leading international journals and presented invited and oral lectures at international conferences. He is a Section Editor of the Central European Journal of Chemistry, and a member of the Editorial board of the Chemistry journal published by the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
E. Butkus is a member of the EU Ideas programme committee.