On 26 September, Director General of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA), Kaspars Rožkalns, met with the Executive Managing Director of Innovation and Technology Platform Water Europe, Durk Krol, to confirm LIAA's desire to promote the inclusion of Latvian innovation players in this partnership platform and to agree on cooperation in the development of joint projects.
“As one of the elements of Latvia's national image strategy, we have defined Mission Sea 2030, a set of measures to promote progress towards a cleaner Baltic Sea with the help of innovations and at the same time present the country as a place where innovations, that are widely requested all around the world, are created. In cooperation with Water Europe, in the field of water innovation, we can build new partnerships to significantly increase Latvia's investment in research and development, by attracting additional resources from the EU programme Horizon Europe and other funds,” emphasises Director General of LIAA, K. Rožkalns.
Water Europe platform currently has more than 250 members representing the entire water ecosystem, including companies, scientific institutions, municipalities, utilities, and public organisations working in the sector.
"For Latvian enterprises and academic institutions, we can offer both the vision about the advancement of the European water sector and the network which would help engage in research and innovations necessary for implementing the vision," says the Executive Director of Water Europe, Durk Krol.
Riga Technical University has already joined Water Europe, but the municipalities of Riga and Liepāja have also expressed an interest in participating. LIAA is ready to play a coordinating role to bring together Latvian companies, scientific institutions, and other interested organisations with the members of the platform, who managed to attract up to 75% of the total Horizon Europe funding for the theme of water. It should be emphasised that companies wishing to join Water Europe will be able to receive support of up to 80% of the participation fee in the international competitiveness promotion programme administered by LIAA. Municipalities can also benefit significantly from Water Europe by developing various solutions to manage wastewater more efficiently or to solve other urban or water management issues. Participation in Water Europe is free of charge for municipalities.
Currently, work is underway in Latvia on the development of a regulatory framework for some pilot areas where new technologies could be tested. In this way, we could attract members of Water Europe to conduct their research in Latvia. LIAA is also involved in other activities to promote water innovations. This spring, the City to Sea hackathon was successfully held, resulting in the development of seven new business ideas on the theme of water. The Science Commercialisation Programme also currently has four water-related projects, which will conclude this December.