Smart materials, technologies, and engineering stand as essential drivers in Latvia's economic transformation, fostering the creation of fresh and inventive technological solutions while facilitating the development of high-value products and services. This sector serves as a foundational pillar for various domains, offering crucial components and systems that underpin precision medicine, ICT, smart cities, green energy, and the bioeconomy.
Optimal utilization of smart materials demands a collaborative effort among industry, scientific endeavors, and national authorities. Fortunately, Latvia has a longstanding history as a scientific hub, characterized by enduring partnerships between academia, scientific exploration, and industry, alongside well-established science clusters. Demonstrating excellence in scientific achievement across the Baltic States, Latvia has secured its leadership position, driven in part by astute funding allocation to scientific institutions.
Functional materials for photonics and electronics, thin layers and coatings, equipment, devices and systems, energy harvesting and storage
- Here you can find world-leading high-impact research and more than 100 years of experience in delivering state-of-the-art solutions for the industry, as well as excellent supply chains for electronics, optics and lens manufacturing.
- In Latvia, there is an enormous potential for the science and industry of smart materials because we have international expertise and plenty of innovation collaborations within H2020 projects.
- We offer technology scouts who work with companies and research organizations and help them navigate through the jungle of academia. Technology scouts will consult about the state-of-the-art technology available at research organizations and where and how to secure funding.
- We have the ambition to become Silicon Valley of the north, and already plenty of impressive and market-leading products are coming from Latvia, such as the world's fastest optical switch and top-notch optical fibre products.
- Today, smart materials are one of Latvia’s research priorities, and the cooperation between the industry and scientists is very active. Latvia has the necessary infrastructure (technology, policy, researchers, know-how, etc.) for high-impact investment and result delivery in developing deep tech innovations, such as platform MATERIZE - a one-stop solution to link business and science.
- A cherry on top of these opportunities and benefits – Latvia is the leader of employment in fast-growing companies in the Baltic States.
Employment and education
- Nowadays, smart materials are replacing insufficient traditional resources. Altogether 3733 companies are operating in the sector, with total employment of 35 thousand people.
- One of the main driving forces to invest in this industry is the skilled and motivated workforce and scientists available in Latvia. We are 7th in the world in the number of students entering STEM bachelor programmes in Europe (2019).
- Latvia's universities have numerous study programmes within different levels representing engineering and natural sciences. The total number of engineering and natural sciences programme graduates at Latvia's largest universities is 2735, namely, 37% of all enrolled students in 2021.
- RD Alfa Microelectronics develops and manufactures high reliability and radiation-hardened microelectronics components for aеrоspace and defence equipment. Partners – European Space Agency.
- HansaMatrix is electronic system manufacturing, partners – Facebook, Apple, VW, Boeing.
- LightSpace Technologies are global leaders in real-time multi-plane volumetric 3D image display technologies.
- EuroLCDs offers the world’s fastest optical shutter technology, smectic liquid crystal switchable smart glass.
- Groglass is one of the world’s leading developers and manufacturers of anti-reflective coatings. From the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to the Forbidden City Museum in Beijing, the world's leading museums trust Artglass by Groglass to preserve and display their most cherished collections.
- Fiber Optical Solution (FOS) – specializes in developing optical-fiber gyroscope. FOS has supplied high-precision gyroscope to world companies such as NASA, Applanix Corporation and Lockheed Martin.
- LightGuide Optics is the world’s leading provider of fiber optic products, optical fiber probes for laser medicine, optical fibers for UV, VIS, or IR range. Light Guide Optics produces more than half of the world's instruments used in urology.
- CeramOptec creates customised solutions in fiber optic technology, medical Original Equipment Manufacturer
- Sidrabe has more than 50 years of excellence in developing unique thin-film technologies, partners – NASA.
- Baltic Scientific Instruments (BSI) specializes in the development and fabrication of devices for spectrometric analysis based on semiconductor and scintillation radiation detectors. Their products are applied in multiple industries: nuclear power; environmental monitoring; geophysics and the mining industry; medicine and healthcare; research including space sciences; security systems and customs control; and other spheres.
Engineering & metalworking sector in Latvia
Engineering and metalworking historically has been one of the leading industrial sectors in Latvia. Nowadays, it has evolved and progressed into a very competitive, innovative, and productive industry with key advantages such as skilled and cost-efficient workforce, strong R&D capability and geographical location. To get further information on Engineering and metalworking sector in Latvia click here.