Tallinn University of Technology

Lauma Muizniece from Latvia holds a PhD in Public Administration with a major in Technology Governance from the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance. We wanted to know how she, as a recently elected Director of The Latvian Council of Science, has applied the acquired skills and what her current challenges are.

SBG_Alumni_Lauma Muizniece
Lauma Muizniece

TalTech SBG is proud of its large alumni community - there are already more than 28 500 members. In 2003 the first study programmes in the English language were launched in SBG, and by today our alumni network has become international and represents more than 80 nationalities.

What do you do today and what/which event attracted you to your current job? 
I have just started in my position as the Director of The Latvian Council of Science. I was attracted to this position as research and innovation policy has been both my professional and academic interest for years and my research work focused on issues with research funding in Latvia. I have had the opportunity to experience different viewpoints by working with research projects at the University of Latvia and later by heading Technology Department at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia that focused more on technology transfer and research commercialisation. I felt that this new position not only would allow me to use the knowledge I developed throughout my studies but would provide a new perspective to improve my understanding even more.

Why did you decide in favour of studying in Estonia? 
At the time I had already specialised in topics like innovation policy, development of new technologies and technology transfer and I was searching for programmes that would enable me to develop in this field further. I came across TalTech and was impressed by the programmes it offered. Additionally, studying in a PhD programme did not require me to move to Estonia as I wanted to keep doing my job in Riga, Latvia. It was quite easy to commute to lectures so I decided to try! 

Which study programme did you study, and why did you pick this one? 
I studied the Public Administration programme with a specialisation in Technology Governance. I picked this one as it was a perfect match for what I was looking for due to my interests and previous job experience. Additionally, accomplished researchers were teaching the courses providing international experience.

What do you think is the strength of this field in today's labour market? 
I think knowledge in this field is essential as focus on the need to transform economies to knowledge-based ones has been discussed more and more and there is also a need to foster the contribution of scientific achievements in solving socio-economic challenges. It is a complex policy arena, and the Technology Governance programme gave excellent insight that complimented my previous experience.

Could you recall any sweet memories or funny situations from your university time? 
There are so many! I made some very great friends, and those relationships went beyond working on co-publications or joint group works. I think this is the part I cherish the most really.

Looking back at your studies, what would you ask the university to do differently to become even better?
Nothing really! At first, I was worried how it would feel to be an international student, but I felt very welcomed and the staff of Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance and TalTech overall always helped me out whenever I needed. The courses were of high quality and the knowledge I received was extremely valuable. I feel honoured to have graduated from TalTech!