On January 31, 2023, kick-off meeting of the European Union programme “Horizon Europe” ERA Chair project “Natural Products Research at Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS) as a Driver for Excellence in Innovation” (Natalion) was held. The project funding of €2.5M will be used for the development of natural products research direction at LIOS and increasing the scientific excellence and capacity of LIOS. Successful implementation of the project will also contribute to the strategic goal of LIOS to become an outstanding European research center.
The meeting was opened with video greeting by the Minister of Economics of the Republic of Latvia Ilze Indriksone, who emphasized that LIOS has attracted funding for both the achievement of institutional goals and also supporting the achievement of national goals:
“With your knowledge and new innovations solving human health issues, you will make a great contribution not only to our society, but even to issues important to the whole world. This time, I am even more pleased with the content of your research because nature is the source of your inspiration. And the nature of Latvia is the basis for everything for us Latvians – the basis for our way of life, the basis for health, the basis for our spiritual growth and stability.”
Deputy Director for Science at LIOS and Project Manager of the Natalion, Dr. Aigars Jirgensons opened the meeting:
“The funding for this ERA Chair project has provided an opportunity to attract a world-class scientist – Dr. Stefano Donadio, who will develop the natural products research direction at LIOS. Integration of this research direction into internal and external cooperation networks will strongly synergize with the existing LIOS competences in drug discovery and will enable LIOS to become stronger and more competitive in the field of drug discovery.”
One of the project outputs will be the establishment of LIOS Innovation Hub, the main tasks of which will be to provide an institutional environment that fosters innovations and technology transfer and to implement training on exploitation and commercialization of the research results.
Project Natalion will be implemented in close cooperation with NAICONS (Italy), a biotechnology company with well-established experience in natural products research, thus making the newly developed natural products research at LIOS more efficient.
The kick-off meeting was attended by the Project Management Board, External Advisory Board, and leaders of the project work packages. Lauma Sīka, the Deputy Director of the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of the Ministry of Education and Science, and Ieva Siliņa, Advisor to the Minister of Economy on Innovation and Digitization, emphasized the significant contribution of the anticipated project results to the practical solutions of public health issues and economic growth and also confirmed the intent of the ministries to support a successful implementation of the project.
The Natalion project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence under agreement No 101087181.