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President of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences

In the present-day world, academies of sciences are not identical. They differ in their objectives and methods as well as in their importance for the system of research in their countries. However, the common mission of all academies of sciences is to bring together the most distinguished scientists and undertake projects that would enhance the prosperity of a country and contribute to its scientific, economic, social and cultural progress. The academies are also united by their traditional aims: to foster society’s critical and scientific thinking, to encourage high-level scientific research and to protect the independence and freedom of science.

The Lithuanian Academy of Sciences fulfills its mission by a sustained and vigorous promotion of education and science. Topical conferences, meetings, seminars, and discussions are held not between the Academy members alone but between the Academy and other scientific and educational institutions both in this country and abroad. The promotion of education and science, which is essential for progress, is always an international one.

Academic discourse is effective when it involves the prominent as well as the young, creative and innovative scientists of the country. Therefore several aspects are important for the selection and activities of the Academy members. The main criterion for selecting an Academy member is their scientific achievements. To engage the whole intellectual elite in the Academy’s activities, it is necessary to expand cooperation between Academy members and non-members - its regular reserve.

Another important sphere of activity is to encourage talented scientists and scientific research in every possible way. The time when the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences comprised many research institutes and supervised their activities is past history. The present-day Academy members conduct their research at autonomous universities and institutes, however, that does not mean that the Academy has no influence over the policies and evolution of Lithuanian science. Besides commemorative prizes and annual prizes awarded to young scientists and students, the Academy takes other actions to stimulate research. Since 2004, the LAS has coordinated the cooperation between the Lithuanian scientists and the European Organization for Nuclear Research and supported the participation of young researchers at the Lindau Nobel Prize Winners Meetings; since 2010, it has been awarding 15 annual research grants to young scientists.

The third aspect of the Academy’s activities is related to its expert and advisory function. Though at first glance it seems to be its obvious and possibly basic function, it contains serious challenges to the independent and objective nature of science: it is essential that the balance between academic
freedom and responsibility should never be disturbed.

Prof. VALDEMARAS RAZUMAS
President of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences

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