Employment of Researchers
In Latvia, according to the "Law on Scientific Activity", a researcher is a natural person who performs research and who has acquired scientific qualification (a doctoral degree). The status of a scientist shall be determined by his or her scientific qualification, individual achievements in science, and an expert evaluation.
- to ensure the objectivity of scientific research;
- to inform the public about the results of the research, to provide consultations and expert opinions;
- to promote scientific breakthroughs and insights;
- to improve her scientific qualifications and participate in the education of new scientists;
- to terminate scientific research that, in the opinion of the scientist, may cause threat to human kind, society or nature and inform the public accordingly;
- to participate in the improvement and development of the of the educational system.
- a researcher is responsible for the objectivity of the research results and the conclusions drawn on the basis of these results;
- a researcher is liable for exceeding her competence if, as a consequence, the public is given recommendations that do not arise from the specific results of scientific research;
- a researcher is liable for fair use of the materials, financial means and information for achieving the set targets;
- a researcher is not liable for the consequences of further use of the scientific research, except in the following cases: if the researcher herself has used the research results or prepared such for use and if there is an agreement between the researcher and the user of the research results regarding the liability of the researcher.
The researcher shall have exclusive intellectual property rights resulting from her scientific activity, unless the contract provides otherwise. A state scientific institution shall have the material rights to an invention or plant variety if it is fully created as a result of a state-funded research pursuant to the procedures set out in the operational rules (see Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)).
In Latvia employment of researchers and other academic staff in the institutions of higher education and research institutions is regulated by the “Law on Institutions of Higher Education” and “Law on Scientific Activity”.
HEIs have the following academic positions:
- professor (internationally recognized expert in his/ her field who performs scientific research or artistic creation at a contemporary level and ensures high-quality studies in the field of science or art. A person elected in the post of a professor shall have a doctoral degree and at least 3 years of experience as an Associate Professor)
- associate professor;
- docent (persons with a doctoral degree);
- senior research scientist;
- lecturer (persons with a doctorate or master’s degree);
- research scientist;
- assistant (persons with a doctorate or master’s degree).
University academic staff carries out scientific research and participates in educating the undergraduates and the he university determines the scope for each of these activities.
The employment contract for an academic position is concluded by the rector of the HEI for the period of election - 6 years. A person may be elected to only one academic position and only in one HEI. A person elected to such a position may perform academic work in another institution of higher education or college in the position of visiting professor, visiting docent or visiting lecturer. A person elected to such a position may be at the same time elected also to the position of a senior researcher or researcher.
The academic staff of the HEI receives annual paid 8 week leave and every 6 years - paid 6 month academic leave for scientific research or carrying out scientific work outside their place of work. Academic staff is entitled to receive a single, paid 3 month study leave for the preparation of a doctoral thesis.
Visiting Professors, Visiting Docents and Visiting Lecturers. If there is an academic position vacancy or a temporary vacancy in a HEI or a college, the institution may hire a visiting professor, a visiting docent or a visiting lecturer for a time period of up to two years. Visiting professors, visiting docents and visiting lecturers have the same rights, duties and remuneration as professors, associate professors, docents and lecturers, but they may not participate in the activities of the elected management bodies.
The open competitions is announced by publishing an announcement in the official newspaper “Latvijas Vēstnesis”.
The RI have the following academic positions:
- senior researcher (persons with a doctoral degree);
- researcher (persons with a doctoral or a master degree);
- research assistant.
Persons shall be elected for 6 years to academic positions as a result of an open competition in accordance with the procedures specified in the by-law of a research institution.
Participation of Foreign Researchers in Scientific Research Projects Implemented by the RI.
RI registered in the Register of Research Institutions are entitled to invite third-country nationals to participate in the scientific research projects implemented by them if the person has a doctor of science degree or a higher education degree necessary for the acquisition of a doctor of science degree. In such cases, the research institution shall enter into an employment contract with the foreign researcher in which the conditions for the implementation of the research project are provided for. The employment contract shall be signed by an authorised person of the scientific institution and the foreign researcher. The employment contract shall be entered into for the time of the implementation of the scientific research project and may not exceed the term of validity of the temporary residence permit issued to the foreign researcher. The employment contract shall be terminated if the foreign researcher has been refused a renewal of the residence permit in Latvia or if it is cancelled.
The equation of a foreign degree is carried out pursuant to international agreements binding to Latvia (see Recognition of Diploma and Qualification).
A research institution may host leading visiting researchers and visiting researchers. Such researchers are recruited without election and the employment contract is concluded for a period of not more than 2 years.
You will often encounter references to R1-R4 researchers. These denote career stages in researchers’ careers. This classification aims to communicate the various characteristics that researchers may have throughout their career. It describes four broad profiles that apply to all researchers, independent of where they work – in the private or public sector.
- R1 - First Stage Researcher (Up to the point of PhD). This profile includes individuals doing research under supervision in industry, research institutes or universities. It includes doctoral candidates.
- R2 - Recognised Researcher (PhD holders or equivalent who are not yet fully independent). Here we are including Doctorate degree (PhD) holders who have not yet established a significant level of independence and researchers with an equivalent level of experience and competence.
- R3 - Established Researcher (Researchers who have developed a level of independence). This describes researchers who have developed a level of independence.
- R4 - Leading Researcher (Researchers leading their research area or field). This is a researcher leading his/her research area or field. It would include the team leader of a research group or head of an industry R&D laboratory. In particular disciplines as an exception, leading researchers may include individuals who operate as lone researchers.
Therefore, in Latvia, most assistants and research scientists and some lecturers in HEIs are R1 researchers; part of lecturers, and most of senior research scientists and docents, as well as some associate professors in HEIs are R2-R3 researchers, depending on the level of their qualification; finally, some associate professors and most but not all professors in HEIs are R4 researchers.
Similarly, in research institutions in Latvia, most but not all research assistants are R1 researchers; most but not all researchers in research institutions are R2-R3 researchers; and most but not all senior researchers in research institutions are R4 researchers.
Read more about the research profile descriptors HERE.
- Ministry of Education and Science - the Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for education, science, sports, youth and state language policies in Latvia.
- Ministry of Welfare - the leading institution of the state administration in the areas of labour, social security, children's and family rights, and equal rights for people with disability and gender equality.
- State Labour Inspectorate - a state supervisory and control institution to carry out the activities in order to ensure an effective implementation of the government policy in the field of labour legal relationship, labour protection, as well as the technical supervision of dangerous equipment.
- Latvian Focal point of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work - to inform the people about occupational safety and health.
- Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (LBAS) - protects the interests of professional trade union members and employees on the branch and inter-branch level.
- Education and Science Workers Trade Union – protects the interests of professional trade union members and employees.