Education Fri, 02 Dec 2022 17:29:57 +0200 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb KTU students – among the best in Europe in digital marketing KTU students – among the best in Europe in digital marketing

In the Global Online Marketing Academic Challenge (GOMAC 2022), the team students of the KTU School of Economics and Business, the Marketing study programme were recognized as the winners of the European region. The campaign of another team from KTU entered the final.

The fourth-year students’ team of the KTU Marketing study programme, the winner of the European region, collaborated with the New Crush company in the project. During the competition, the team created Google Ads advertising and marketing solutions in the social media platforms for the electronic storage of the New Crush food supplements brand Glofix.

“I am glad that the team I had to work with and who was able to test their strength in a competitive environment was evaluated at the international level,” says Mantas Strelčiūnas, NewCrush’s Business Process Manager.

Another KTU team planned and implemented a digital marketing campaign for Last Mile, a mobile app for ordering groceries and everyday goods from various providers. The project earned the team a place among the finalists and a special mention for its outstanding campaign presentation.

“We are happy to become finalists in the GOMAC 2022 competition. We put a lot of effort into Google Ads campaigns and we are proud to see that these efforts were appreciated,” says the captain of the finalist team Viktorija Usinaitė.

Seeking benefits not only for the business
During their studies, students collaborate with businesses and non-profit organisations in planning and implementing search advertising through Google Ads and social media marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram) campaigns.

“We aim for the campaigns implemented by students to contribute to the achievement of the partner organisation’s marketing goals. Students gain experience in Google Ads account management, customer expectations, and budget allocation,” says Elena Vitkauskaitė, the lecturer who was supervising the teams.

New Crush representative Mantas Strelčiūnas is proud of his team’s performance in the competition: “It wasn’t just an ordinary success in the competition, it brought tangible benefits to both the company and the team. After the execution of the campaign and the results obtained, it was easy to determine the further strategic plans of the brand, which we continue to this day”.

Ieva Balkevičiūtė, marketing manager of Last Mile, thanks for the effort and work while working on the project: “The achieved results made us happy and gave a competitive result compared to other campaigns”.

KTU EVF lecturer Indrė Petrikė notes that the highest results were achieved by student teams, which have been striving not only for high study results but also for winning in the competition since the beginning of the semester. Achieving this goal, helped students overcome the challenges of studying, teamwork, and cooperation with representatives of organisations.

The captain of the winning team, Milda Pumputytė, admits that one of the essential factors on the way to success was the partnership with a company: “We chose New Crush and its brand Glofix, to participate in the competition with us because we found it playful, promising, interesting and approachable.”

“While running the campaign, we faced challenges, but the focus of all team members and mutual support helped us to move forward,” says the captain of the finalist team, Viktorija Usinaitė.

This year, 414 students in 108 teams from Australia, India, the United States of America, Canada, Costa Rica, Poland, Lithuania, France, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Germany competed for the award of the best digital marketing team in Europe. The results of the student campaigns were evaluated by a competent board, and the winners were chosen by 27 judges from all over the world.

KTU School of Economics and Business students have been participating in digital marketing competitions since 2009 (they previously participated in the Google Online Marketing Challenge – GOMC, held until 2017). Since 2009, 9 KTU student teams have been awarded as the best: four were selected as the best in the world, four were the best in the European region, and yet another team won a special mention for excellent data analysis.


]]> (Raimund) Education Sat, 26 Nov 2022 18:33:54 +0200
Baltic Rectors’ Scholarship Competition to Be Held at Vilnius University Baltic Rectors’ Scholarship Competition to Be Held at Vilnius University

The Rectors' Scholarship Competition, which has become a tradition among the three Baltic universities - Vilnius University (VU), the University of Latvia and the University of Tartu - is again inviting students to participate. This year, the competition is moving to Vilnius University.

"I am delighted to work with the Rectors of the Universities of Tartu and Latvia to foster a culture of multilingualism at universities. I believe that joint initiatives strengthen not only existing ties but also create new acquaintances and research projects, contributing to the recognition of the Baltic States, their history, languages and cultures around the world," says Prof. Rimvydas Petrauskas, Rector of Vilnius University.

The Rectors' Scholarship Competition is held annually, and the winner is awarded. The competition aims to promote the unity of the three Baltic States and encourage the study of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian languages and cultures. The winner is awarded a scholarship of EUR 2000.

The competition is open to students at all levels of study who can speak the three Baltic languages: one at the C1 level (can be a native language) and the other two at least at the A2 level. The Rectors' Scholarship contestants will compete in a writing competition on a topic of their choice at their home university, and the final round will take place at Vilnius University.

The winner of the last Baltic Rectors' Scholarship competition was Gabrielė Aputytė, a student of the Faculty of Philology at Vilnius University.

VU students can send their essays to the VU Institute of Baltic Countries and Cultures at with the subject line "Rectors' Scholarship Competition".

The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2023.


]]> (Raimund) Education Fri, 25 Nov 2022 18:11:52 +0200
VU Researchers Present a Selective Dna Tagging Tool in Molecular Cell VU Researchers Present a Selective Dna Tagging Tool in Molecular Cell

The article entitled "Selective chemical tracking of Dnmt1 catalytic activity in live cells" by researchers of Vilnius University Life Sciences Centre (VU LSC) Institute of Biotechnology Vaidotas Stankevičius, Povilas Gibas, Bernadeta Masiulionytė, Liepa Gasiulė, Viktoras Masevičius, Saulius Klimašauskas, and Giedrius Vilkaitis has been published in "Molecular Cell", a prestigious and highly cited journal. In the same issue of the journal, Prof. Saulius Klimašauskas, Prof. Giedrius Vilkaitis, and Dr. Vaidotas Stankevičius feature the "Meet the Authors" series about the published work and stories behind it.

The paper by the interdisciplinary team of VU scientists presents a new molecular tool, named Dnmt-TOP-seq, dedicated to high-resolution selective tracking of the catalytic activity of the Dnmt enzyme in live mammalian cells. It enables new detailed insights into epigenetic mechanisms that have not been possible with previously used methods.

For more than a decade, the LSC research team has been studying the enzymes - DNA methyltransferases - involved in 'writing' epigenetic marks in human cells. This research is important for early diagnosis of cancer and other serious diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and autism, as well as for personalized medicine.

DNA methylation is one of the most important epigenetic modifications that regulate many developmental processes in mammals and is essential for the proper functioning of multicellular organisms. Aberrant DNA methylation is associated with disruptions of numerous biological processes leading to developmental defects and pathologies. In mammalian cells, the DNA methylation toolbox consists of three catalytically active DNA methyltransferases: Dnmt1, Dnmt3A, and Dnmt3B.

Dnmt1 is thought to be mainly responsible for the maintenance of pre-existing methylation profiles after DNA replication, however, its specific contribution to the formation of DNA methylation profiles still remains obscure.

“We have developed a new tool that allows us to see details of epigenetic mechanisms that were invisible with previously used methods. Epigenetic marks in DNA, which determine the identity and fate of a mammalian cell during development, are written by three independently controlled 'pens'. Therefore, conventional analytical methods can only see a final combined result of these three 'writers', but exactly what and when each of them writes into DNA, is largely unknown. Our newly discovered method allows us to selectively track the catalytic activity of one of the 'pens', the Dnmt1 methyltransferase, in living cells. Using biomolecular engineering technologies, we have enabled Dnmt1 to use a different 'ink' and permits tracing its activity separately from the other two 'pens',” explains Prof. Klimašauskas.

The Dnmt-TOP-seq approach opens the door to a wealth of new research that will provide a deeper insight into the mechanisms of cellular epigenetic regulation in the development of organisms and in human disease.

“It can be applied in biochemistry, biomedicine, nanotechnology, and other research fields, and in the development of tools for disease diagnosis. Tagging different regions of DNA chains using the corresponding methyltransferases allows the study of the complex process of protein translation in real-time,” notes GMC researcher Prof. G. Vilkaitis.

This work is part of a European Research Council (ERC) grant, the only one in Lithuania so far. In this work, the scientists used not only the CRISPR-Cas gene editing technology but also their previously developed and patented methods for specific biomolecule labeling and analysis, called mTAG (methyltransferase-directed Transfer of Activated Groups) and TOP-seq (Tethered Oligonucleotide-Primed Sequencing), which enabled highly accurate covalent DNA labeling and analysis in live mammalian cells.

Molecular Cell is one of the leading scientific journals of Cell Press/Elsevier, publishing articles of exceptional scientific excellence in the field of molecular and cell biology. Its Impact factor according to the Clarivate Analytics ISI Web of Science (IF>19) is more than four-fold higher than the aggregate index of the category "Biochemistry & Molecular biology" and it is ranked among the top 2.5% of journals in this category (7th out of 297).


]]> (Raimund) Education Thu, 17 Nov 2022 13:54:40 +0200
VU Student for a Day Event Attracts Lithuanian and Foreign Students VU Student for a Day Event Attracts Lithuanian and Foreign Students

In October, Vilnius University (VU) hosted its traditional Student for a Day event, where students had the opportunity to experience first-hand the difference between university studies and school classes. This year's event attracted significant interest from Lithuanian and foreign students, with over 5,300 students registered. The largest number of students attending the lectures were tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders.

Prospective students came from all over Lithuania - Vilnius, Panevėžys, Alytus, Šiauliai, Kaunas, Klaipėda and other Lithuanian schools. Most of the lectures were contact-based.

The lectures were attended by students not only from Lithuania but also from abroad. As many as 52 countries registered. The countries with the greatest interest were Nigeria, Ukraine, India and Ghana.

At the VU Student for a Day event, students were able to attend lectures and interactive activities in various fields of study. Foreign students also attended to lectures organised by student ambassadors on studying and admission procedures at VU and life in Lithuania.

In addition, VU invited students to join the initiative and take part in additional Open University lectures, which were very well attended, with classes registering for the sessions.

Student for a Day is a VU event that has become a tradition, where students can experience what it is like to be a student. They can participate not only in lectures and seminars but also in various competitions, win prizes and learn about the VU admission procedure.


]]> (Raimund) Education Wed, 16 Nov 2022 18:38:38 +0200
Renovated VR laboratory opened for KTU students Renovated VR laboratory opened for KTU students

From the autumn semester, KTU students can study in Renovated Virtual Reality (VR). The working space which is located in the Faculty of Informatics is opened for students who are interested in deepening their knowledge of VR applications in various branches of science, improving their practical abilities and engaging in additional creative activities.

According to Andrius Paulauskas, the Head of the Department of Virtual and Augmented Reality Technology Laboratories of the Faculty of Informatics (KTU IF), the VR laboratory has been operating at the university for several years. However, the renovated space will not only give young researchers more opportunities to create various solutions but also will provide the ability to entertain themselves during their free time.

“The new laboratory will have everything needed for successful work in creating virtual reality, augmented reality or other interactive programmes including computers, and various virtual reality equipment. Students can develop their ideas or contribute to ongoing projects, gain experience, create their portfolio or even launch their programmes on the market,” says Paulauskas.

VR technologies – a glimpse into the future

The KTU VR laboratory installation was sponsored by a software development company, Coherent Solutions. According to Lina Šiumetė, Head of the Lithuanian branch of the company, talent development is an integral part of socially responsible business.

“Coherent Solutions is a part of the IT market – we create innovative products every day and contribute to the development of new technologies. This field is very dynamic, and one of the most important responsibilities of a progressive business is to share knowledge with students, and our future colleagues so that they become highly qualified professionals in the future. We do this both by sharing our experience and by investing in the technologies needed for their development and upgrading their qualifications,” says Šiumetė.

According to Šiumetė, this cooperation aims to provide space and tools for students, who are willing to experiment, create innovations and contribute to future technologies.

“The university is a space where the students’ potential takes shape and innovation is born. The KTU Faculty of Informatics community is already taking solid steps in the field of virtual reality, so our investments in new devices will only strengthen their positions and accelerate progress. We believe that more than one interesting project will be born in this space,” says the company’s representative.

KTU VR space was decorated by artist Martynas Auz. The character flying and creating in virtual reality illustrates the purpose of the renovated space. This work aims to inspire young talents and show that anyone who wants to can master VR technologies.

The application of VR is limitless

The artificial environment created by the software is implemented into various experiments and research in the university, and its application in education is limitless. Using VR technology, a person can acquire practical skills without leaving the university premises with the help of simulated scenarios, analyse situations and adjust their actions based on the conclusions reached.

The solutions developed at KTU, often respond to the educational use of VR equipment: during this year’s technology and innovation event Technorama 2022, a game invented by a Master’s student whose goal is to assemble a human skeleton from the abundance of surrounding bones, was awarded a prize of 500 euros established by the KTU Alumni Association.

“Before the pandemic, our projects often represented the university at various exhibitions, so we hope to be able to do it again soon. However, the programmes created by students in the laboratory are gaining national and global recognition: a little over a year ago, a game developed by students about the flight of the Lituanica plane across the Atlantic Ocean was awarded the World Summit Awards (WSA),” says Paulauskas.


]]> (Raimund) Education Tue, 15 Nov 2022 18:31:35 +0200
Vilnius University Signs Cooperation Agreement with the Lithuanian Armed Forces Vilnius University Signs Cooperation Agreement with the Lithuanian Armed Forces

On 11 November, a cooperation agreement was signed between Vilnius University (VU) and the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The agreement was ratified by representatives of the institutions, who met in person and signed the document – the Rector of Vilnius University, Professor Rimvydas Petrauskas, and the Chief of Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, Brigadier General Mindaugas Steponavičius. The institutions agreed to strengthen and develop their cooperation, to educate and inform the public on the issues of cybersecurity and to foster civil society.

"Close cooperation, sharing of competencies and mutual support are always essential for a country, and especially in the current geopolitical situation. The University welcomes this cooperation agreement and believes that with our knowledge, intellect and technological solutions we can contribute to the strengthening of the security of the state and to the support of our military forces," said Professor Rimvydas Petrauskas, Rector of Vilnius University.

"The agreement confirms what is very important for the institutions we represent. It is in our interests to strengthen and develop the cooperation, to educate and inform the public on the issues of cybersecurity. We are pleased to have such an understanding and such a sense of responsibility for public safety in academia. I believe that by bringing together the expertise of the soldiers and the intellectual capabilities and efforts of the VU community, we will strengthen our ability to safeguard the interests of the state and its citizens," said Brigadier General Mindaugas Steponavičius, Chief of Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, after the agreement was signed.

The agreement includes cooperation on joint projects, exchange of expert information, cooperation on curriculum development, organization of internships and training, sharing of knowledge and new developments with students, non-regular lectures, discussions and scientific conferences at the University.


]]> (Raimund) Education Mon, 14 Nov 2022 15:44:09 +0200
Business education expert: young generation is different now Business education expert: young generation is different now

“Today, young people entering the job market are not necessarily asking for a high salary. Instead, they want to have more integrity, be more equal, and be treated with respect in their workplace. They want to create a difference, a positive change,” says Natalia Ilina, Accreditation and Member Service Manager at AACSB International. She believes that the main task of business schools all over the world is to focus on the positive impact that they can have on society.

While visiting Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) in Lithuania, Ilina emphasised the importance of universities being agile and innovative, always thinking about how to do things differently.

“When we talk about the societal impact, it’s important to understand that we don’t talk about focusing on a certain goal or standard, but rather about the mindset shift. The schools need to focus on change, be innovative, and not afraid to make experiments,” says the representative of the global business education alliance, AACSB, of which KTU is a member.

Alliance for good force
Since 1916, AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and learning and development services to over 1,850 member organisations and more than 950 accredited business schools worldwide. Only 6 per cent of the best business schools in the world are AACSB-accredited.

Aiming to join them, in 2018, KTU became a member of the Association and started its accreditation journey.

“Through the accreditation process, the schools prove that they have sufficient resources, authority and responsibility to provide their learners with the education which is not only aligned with the needs of the businesses currently in operation but which will also be relevant in the future world,” says Jurgita Sekliuckiene, Professor at KTU School of Economics and Business.

As a KTU International Accreditation Project Manager, she is convinced that the AACSB accreditation is not only a synonym for high-quality business education but also a commitment to the students, faculty and business. The schools that are set on the accreditation journey (it may take more than 6 years) have to pass the strictly regulated multilevel review and mentoring process provided by the international business education academic community.

Both Sekliuckiene and Ilina believe that the benefits of such partnerships reach beyond the formal recognition or certification. The real value of the process is in the new connections within the academic community, and the common efforts of all the stakeholders involved toward the betterment of the world.

“Any accreditation body is indeed a connector between educators, businesses, learners, alumni and society; it facilitates the alliance of good force. In addition to the implementation of high standards, there are also educational events, and development activities that serve as socialising hubs and help to be in the current of the new trends,” says Ilina, convinced that partnerships can serve as inspiration to contribute to societal change.

The accreditation journey has many positive outcomes
KTU School of Economics and Business (SEB) is one of two business schools in Lithuania that are seeking AACSB accreditation. Only 8 of almost 2 thousand members of the Association are from the Baltic region. According to Ilina, the AACSB accreditation can provide a very strong push for the international visibility of KTU. However, she emphasises the continuity of the process, which does not end with accreditation.

“The accredited schools are streamlining their processes internally. For example, it may be, that schools start their accreditation journey for marketing purposes, and end up improving their strategies, their faculty resources and their intellectual contributions,” says Ilina.

She is working with business schools from around the world, including Eastern Europe, Baltic, Asia-Pacific regions, and countries such as China, Taiwan, Australia and Korea, and says that the institutions from different regions face different challenges. Overall, Baltics is a very young market in this respect. While evaluating KTU’s progress, the business education accreditation expert was impressed by the solidity of KTU’s strategic plan, the clear key performance indicators, and the many initiatives the university does for social impact.

Sekliuckiene believes that in the Baltic region, KTU has a unique position of being a business education and research competence centre in a technological university: “This allows us to develop cooperation with technical faculties, using our competencies to create interdisciplinary study programmes and research of added value.”

She points out that interdisciplinarity is one of the five core strategic principles of KTU SEB (others being internationality, talent-nurturing, networking and providing challenge-based learning).

Both experts believe that KTU’s journey towards AACSB accreditation so far has been more than successful.

“We are observing the increased number and quality of the publications in high-level international journals, the more active participation of the staff in international conferences, and the growing number of research grants for national and international research projects. It is all contributing to our strong reputation within the international community, regional and local businesses, and society,” says Sekliuckiene.

For the young generation, success is related to societal contribution
“Sometimes structured information is new information,” smiles Ilina, thus emphasising the value of the accreditation journey itself: even the analysis and reporting on the internal processes may contribute to the change.

Sekliuckienė values the possibility to develop the organisation in partnership with AACSB, which empowers the university to implement changes in the study process and research culture, and to actively involve the academic community in the process, which, in turn, results in the social impact to the wider society. According to her, the greatest challenge in this journey is the implementation of competence-based learning in the study process, which is closely related to the AACSB Assurance of Learning (AoL) standard. However, she believes that this is also an opportunity.

“During recent years, not only our School’s faculty staff but also our business partners, and students were involved in the implementation of the AACSB AoL standard. We held numerous discussions, focus groups and meetings and defined the competencies aligned to our mission – cutting-edge knowledge, strategic thinking, critical thinking, entrepreneurship and leadership,” she says.

Ilina agrees that the accreditation process would not be possible without the active involvement of the faculty staff – both administrative and academic, and of the learners.

“All these people are the bloodstream of your organisation,” says the Accreditation and Member Service Manager at AACSB.

According to her, focusing on societal impact should be at the heart of all the activities provided by a contemporary high-quality business school.

“Societal impact is the core value in the mindset of the new generation. Based on our surveys, the business education alumni nowadays are measuring their success not solely by their salaries or position but also by what change they have achieved,” says Ilina, Accreditation and Member Service Manager at AACSB International.

While visiting KTU in October 2022, Ilina took part in the 20th Baltic Management Development Association’s (BMDA) Conference, where she was one of the speakers at the panel discussion “Critical issues in curriculum and educational program design”.


]]> (Raimund) Education Thu, 10 Nov 2022 15:52:32 +0200
Prof. Jatužis, the New Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University “I Am Not Scared of Any Challenges” Prof. Jatužis, the New Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University “I Am Not Scared of Any Challenges”

“What made me step out of my comfort zone and run for the position of the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University? There were several reasons. First of all, having worked for many years at the faculty and as a clinician, I saw things that needed to be fixed. Of course, you may not want to leave your comfort zone, but the time came when I felt I could make a difference. I’m not intimidated by challenges, and I have faced them before – when I was applying for medical studies, choosing my speciality, and leading the Institute of Clinical Medicine. All of this has been a source of innovation and an incentive to improve. Finally, my colleagues have encouraged me and pushed me to try my hand at a new field,” says Prof. Dalius Jatužis. In November this year, he took up the position of Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University.

What was the most memorable piece of advice or request you received after you were elected Dean?
I received many congratulations and good wishes – to not give in or give up, and to not be afraid of change and to adapt. However, perhaps the most memorable suggestion was to not lose sight of life alongside the work, the science and my new responsibilities.

Tell us what changes will be implemented for the Faculty in the near future?
First of all, we will inevitably face the reorganisation of pre- and post-graduate studies and the introduction of tiered competencies. Second, the opening and launch of the Science Centre, planned for next year, will also be a major challenge, requiring the activation of research teams and the creation of new working positions. Third, the educational activities of the Medical Faculty professors require structural changes. We will discuss how to activate and strengthen this area.

In your plan of activities as a candidate for the position of Dean, you have set a goal to fully support research groups. How do you plan to do this?
Strengthening science is not only my priority but also a priority for the University. Although there is certainly a lot of progress and the professors have made a lot of progress in their fields of science (the number of project activities and scientific publications has increased over the last years), this is certainly not the ceiling. There is more and better to be done if only we can help and support research teams. As I have already mentioned in my roadmap, it would be very beneficial to have a research support group with experts competent in statistics, biostatistics, bioethics, article writing and project preparation. They could provide methodological support, advice to research teams, help with writing project outlines, and so on. Many medical schools abroad, have such specialists. I think it would make sense to follow their example.

Another form of assistance would be targeted support for the research groups with the highest achievements. This could take many forms – prioritising the acquisition of the necessary infrastructure, and considering the issue of fellows, for example.

In your Roadmap, you also noted the importance of creating a favourable psycho-emotional atmosphere and of involving non-academic staff more in the community and life of the faculty. Why is this important? What measures will you use and what will it take to achieve these objectives?
It is important that people are enthusiastic to come to work, and don’t feel coerced. They are motivated because that is where they meet like-minded people, where they find colleagues who create a supportive emotional atmosphere and to whom they can turn for advice and support. These seemingly simple things make a big difference. When employees feel satisfied with their work, with the results, and their daily interactions, they can get much more done in a day, and do it better. In other words, the quality of an employee’s life depends on the quality of their performance – this is nothing new.

How to actually achieve this, is a more difficult question, because we are all individuals, with our own character, our own disposition, our own way of looking at life. There have and always will be a variety of people in a team, but we need to find a common denominator so that everyone feels that Vilnius University Faculty of Medicine is a second home. We spend almost a third of our lives at work, so it is important that the workplace is not a place where people are forced to stay for eight hours. I would like it to be a place where they do something valuable, feel it and find it fulfilling.

The awakening of a sense of community can be achieved in a variety of ways: teambuilding activities, outings, and cultural and sporting events. A positive microclimate in the workplace is also important, based on human values such as mutual respect between supervisor and subordinate, between colleagues, and between academic and non-academic staff. I think there is a lot to be done, and how it will work is another question. It is easy to say in theory, but it may be more difficult to put into practice. However, where I have worked previously, I have usually been able, as far as possible, to manage the microclimate in a positive direction. But it is certainly a challenge – perhaps in a year’s time, we will be able to say whether there has been a shift.

This is not your first management-level position. What kind of leader do you think you are?
Many people say that I am tolerant, positive, quite cheerful, enthusiastic, and proactive and that I try to keep an objective view. Others say I am perhaps even too good. This is how I am perceived from the outside, but what about reality? It seems to me that I can be both angry and harsh – I try to be impartial, but at the same time, demanding, and empathetic. I try to understand the other person, for example, why they were angry that day, why was it they didn’t do what they needed to do, or why they didn’t do it the way we might expect. It’s about personal qualities. But I would also mention something else. In my previous leadership roles, I have always tried to keep in mind the main purpose of a leader’s mission: to achieve the goals and objectives of the association, clinic or institute through a combination of means that seem appropriate to me.

What inspires you most in your daily life? Where do you draw your strength from?
I am inspired by all work I do that is necessary, meaningful and motivating. I am annoyed by my own unfinished work. When there’s a lot to do, you can’t keep up with it all – the backlog grows and it causes tension and frustration. But work that is useful and necessary for someone else provides positive emotions, inspires us to think and then the day was not in vain! The support of co-workers, friends and family members is also very encouraging.

When I am not at work, I look up at the sky, at the leaves on the trees, at the flowing river, nature’s changes, life turns, nothing is standing still, and you remember that the weekend is approaching – it’s very motivating.

Tell us what do you like to do in your free time? Which of your current activities do you enjoy most and why?
I have a lot of hobbies; the only problem is a lack of free time. There is very little I haven’t tried. I like fishing, both in Lithuania and in Norway or other countries. I’ve been taking photographs for a long time; I have several cameras and I reach for them all the time. In the past, my main leisure activity was music: singing, playing various folk instruments – the concertina, bandoneon, lumzdelis (a long flute-like Lithuanian folk musical wind instrument), various small and bigger horns, and a zither. I spent 10 years in the Vilnius University folklore ensemble Ratilio. Now I sing in the Santaros Mixed Chamber Choir, which is made up of medical professionals. It’s a very good, positive and brain-cleansing activity. Also, ever since we were students, my peers and I still get together once or twice a week to play basketball. Cultural activities are also very important, and almost every week we go to the theatre or to a concert with family and close friends.

If you could meet anyone who has ever lived or is still living, who would that be and why?
I would like to meet Dr Jonas Basanavičius. It would be interesting to talk to him, to ask him what pushed him to do something that I imagine was almost impossible in those days – the proclamation of the Act of Independence. At that time, it must have been almost unbelievable to consider the establishment of Lithuania as a state. However, we can now see what was achieved thanks to these incredible people – we were among the leading European states between the wars. Even the 50 years of Soviet rule did not shake the Lithuanian language and culture. We can only thank those people who, at the beginning of the 20th century, took up such an altruistic idea while living well themselves. Apparently, they believed very strongly that it could be done and they did it.

Prof. Dr. Dalius Jatužis was born on 18 January 1968 in Biržai.

Education and professional activities
1991 – completed the medical studies programme at the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University
1995 – became a qualified neurologist
1996 to present – Doctor at the Centre of Neurology, Vilnius University Hospital Santaros Clinic
1999 – was awarded a doctoral degree in Biomedical Sciences
1999 to present – a member of the World Federation of Neurology and Educational Coordinator for Lithuania
2007 to present – President of the Lithuanian Stroke Association
2009 to present – Full Member of the European Stroke Organisation
2012 – was conferred the title of professor
2015 to present – Lithuanian delegate to the European Academy of Neurology
2015 to present – President of the Lithuanian Neurological Association
2017 to present – Director of the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Vilnius University Faculty of Medicine
Currently – Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University
Research interests: stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases; ultrasound studies of cerebrovascular circulation.


]]> (Raimund) Education Wed, 09 Nov 2022 18:53:29 +0200
MERIT – Development of a new pan European educational ecosystem for training of digital specialists MERIT – Development of a new pan European educational ecosystem for training of digital specialists

An ambitious digital learning ecosystem called MERIT launched in October 2022 with a vision and plan that aims to help address Europe's skills gap among digital specialists.

The project includes a joint Master program that will be offered by four European universities (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VILNIUS TECH), Riga Technical University (RTU) and Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech)) and led by the UPC in Spain, with industrial partners and other stakeholders that contribute with their expertise, research and innovation activities.

MERIT is a European Union co-funded project under Digital Europe programme, with participating universities from four countries, industrial partners, excellence and research centres, national technology transfer organisations and Digital Innovation Hubs. The purpose of MERIT is to increase the number of young people who can contribute to the digital economy by enhancing their capacities for innovation, entrepreneurship and employability through enhanced on-the-job training as well as academic training at university level - supported by continued education.

In today's globalized world where AI is disrupting every industry including healthcare or transport services; IoT devices are being used everywhere from homes to businesses; cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated – it is becoming increasingly important for every country to have an AI-ready workforce. The European Commission estimates that by 2030, up to €135 billion will be needed for investment in AI and related technologies.
The main concern of MERIT is to equip the society with workers able to understand, manage and innovate in technological developments including artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and cybersecurity.

How does MERIT achieve this?

Through its four-year programme, MERIT will develop a strong educational ecosystem that is innovative, inclusive and sustainable. The programme will create a knowledge base of society needs in the field of digital innovation and employability. It will also establish conversion courses for reskilling non-ICT specialists, mobility opportunities for teachers and learners in-between the 4 countries. Finally, the programme will provide industry-relevant courses, hackathons and employability skills for students and graduates to be job-ready upon graduation.

MERIT is a European program aiming at increasing the number of digital specialists, reskilling individuals and providing upskilling. It will be implemented in four European countries: Spain, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, but the Master students will be able to address industry challenges at EU level, with a special focus on countries with a low DESI (Digital Economy and Society) index, such as Romania. The program aims to provide students with excellent learning tools (e-learning resources, blended learning approach), as well as to identify the market needs and trends that are going to emerge in the next years. MERIT contributes to the ICT domain by promoting integration of research aspects to hands-on problems and by supporting the insertion of young people into companies or public organizations.

Who can benefit from the program?

A special focus will be on prioritising underrepresented communities and gender equality in STEM careers. The program will include mentoring and networking opportunities, as well as hands-on experience in labs, companies and public organisations.

This is a unique program that consolidates Europe's best minds in cutting edge technologies for the creation of a highly skilled workforce. It promotes the advanced learning and development of emerging technologies in the field of robotics, automation, internet of things, cybersecurity applications. Students will be trained by leading researchers from top universities and companies in Europe.

Project co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.


]]> (Raimund) Education Tue, 08 Nov 2022 14:39:36 +0200
Digitisation: Can Robots Replace Humans? Digitisation: Can Robots Replace Humans?

The speed of growth in technology and communication over the last decade has been tremendous. The massive use of digital technologies has changed individual and social values, organisational culture and created a variety of challenges for both employees and employers. There has been plenty of coverage in the media of the development of automation and robotics in human resources management processes and its increasing importance.

Digitisation during the pandemic

From an organisational perspective, digitisation improves an organisation’s operational efficiency, helps to adapt to a changing environment for competitive advantage, improves decision-making and the experience of employees. However, digitisation can also have a negative impact on jobs, as they are reduced or eliminated in certain sectors. This leads to polarisation in the labour market: organisations that use new digital technologies have an advantage over those that do not.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, digitisation has accelerated and has contributed most significantly to the change in the administrative functions of organisations, the speed of traditional human resources processes, in particular the conduct of recruitments, the coordination and conduct of meetings with candidates remotely, or the training of staff. There is availability and variety in distance learning, timely personal learning through distance learning programmes, etc. However, the move to distance learning resulted in the loss of a related source of learning – learning from experience, i.e. the insights of group members. However, direct human contact remains important. Staff communication has also been adapted to digital reality – digital tools have increased the speed and responsiveness of information transmission and made information more accurate.

From the employee’s perspective, digital transformation has increased the influence of employees in organisations. The increase in digital tools (e.g. feedback apps, etc.) has enabled staff to play an increasingly active role in organisational decision-making. It helps employees feel more needed by the organisation, increases their job satisfaction and personal well-being.

In addition to the positive changes of the digitisation during the pandemic, there are also negative aspects. The constantly increasing demand and expectation for technology use are leading to a reduction in face-to-face contact, which is having a negative impact on social ties and reducing social inclusion. In the work context, this has led to a weakened sense of community and, at the same time, trust and motivation problems. Studies have also shown that asynchronous communication, the pressure to react immediately, e.g. to reply to a message, has been linked to stress, burnout, sleep problems and disturbances in work-life balance. It is no coincidence that the challenges posed by the pandemic have led to a trend of mass resignations. And contrary to expectations, the uncertainty has prompted workers to reassess their work and life priorities and to consider alternatives they would not have thought of before the pandemic.

How will digitisation change future processes?

There are several possible future scenarios resulting from digitisation in organisations. In the first scenario, the development of digitisation in human resources management will not be very fast. Potential barriers to this scenario include: lack of appropriate models and data, software and technology, and human resource capacity issues. The monetary and human resources and infrastructure needed to carry out these processes are also important.

The second scenario involves a further increase in the automation of the human resources management processes, robotics and an even greater role of data analytics. To retain staff, employers will focus on retraining and ensuring the well-being of employees, while in the meantime looking for ways to ensure a smooth operating process. For example, finding new ways of organising work.

Finally, there is a third scenario where organisations will optimise their operations, save on recruitment costs, embrace change, digitalise their processes, and transform their business. Possible scenarios: redundancies, reviewing job functions, delegating functions to robots.

It is difficult to say which scenario will come true, as sufficient or insufficient efforts by public authorities, educational institutions, managers and unpredictable circumstances (e.g. an economic recession) can make any scenario possible.

Can robots replace humans in the workplace?

However, the development of digitisation and artificial intelligence is inevitable. Artificial intelligence is the technology of the future and is already driving growth and market development in a wide range of activities. However, there is still a shortage of specialists in this field. Improving their digital and soft skills (e.g. continuous learning, effective communication, taking responsibility, etc.) would enable them to exploit their creative potential and improve their competitiveness in the market.

To answer the question of whether robots are likely to replace humans, it is worth looking at a study by the US technology company Oracle. When asked how robots are better than their managers, 26% of respondents said that robots are better at providing unbiased information, 34% believe that AI keeps to a schedule, and 26% believe that robots are better at managing budgets. In some areas, where routine mechanical work is carried out, robots can indeed be far superior to humans. But as futurist Gerd Leonhard says, ‘there are many things that robots cannot do and are unlikely to do in the future’. That are emotional intelligence, flexibility, creativity, cooperation and other human qualities. As long as we develop them, we will be more valuable than the most advanced technologies.


]]> (Raimund) Education Mon, 07 Nov 2022 18:38:51 +0200