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In preparation for Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) Research Week which will be held in April, 2019, our researchers answer three short questions which provide insight into their achievements as well as their current research interests. We invite you to mark your calendars and save the dates of 1 to 5 April so you can be part of the major RSU research event!

Assistant Professor of the Department of Political Science Māris Andžāns has been closely tied with RSU for 16 years already. Then RSU was the only university in Latvia that offered international relations study programme, and so he settled down to his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral studies here at RSU. Since 2016 he has been in charge of young political scientists and has been heading one of the eight RSU doctoral study programmes.


Considering its international scale and ambition to focus on each of our university social science fields in detail, the interdisciplinary conference and the RSU social sciences event of the year – PLACES – is something Assistant Professor Andžāns is looking at with high expectations.

Why am I involved in research?

It seems logical that I ended up at RSU. In school I was fascinated by geography, history, foreign languages and politics, especially, international politics. Sixteen years ago RSU was the only university in Latvia that offered to acquire a Bachelor's degree in international relations and European studies. During these years the university has maintained and improved its positions – we have highly specialised in international relations, which is evident from the RSU teaching staff's significant role in the research and discussions of foreign affairs in Latvia. During my studies, I managed to do a good job while working for the government, as I had to deal with a series of challenges. However, at one point I felt exhausted. The acquired doctoral degree opened up academical opportunities. Therefore, I joined both RSU and the Latvian Institute of International Affairs. What I like about research are discussions with colleagues, drafting publications, conferences and the fact that the publication conclusions don't just remain on shelves, but also reach a wider audience, thus shaping the public opinion.

Why do I plan to attend PLACES, the RSU interdisciplinary conference on social sciences?

My role in PLACES, as a head of the doctoral study programme, will mostly involve mobilising political science PhD students to participate. When writing a PhD paper, discussions with colleagues bring in new insights and help to improve the results. I learned it, when I was a PhD student myself, and I hope that our current PhD students will see it for themselves. There has been a good and stable influx of them at the university for the past years. Almost all our PhD students are working in the field of international relations. They research cooperation between Central Asia, Near East, Russia, Poland and Baltic countries, as well as the public diplomacy and the defence policy of Latvia. One of the PhD students is also analysing the healthcare policy of Latvia, thus bridging together political science and healthcare.

Why should you attend the conference?

I think that every researcher and PhD student needs this event to get constructive comments that would improve their work and prevent potential criticism in the future. When writing my publications, I always ask my colleagues to review them. As a result, I get ideas and comments about required improvements. For PhD students, participation in conferences and scientific activities are, purely mathematically, a way to acquire credit points. It's also important that the teaching staff is maintaining and updating their scientific knowledge and discussing ideas. It's praiseworthy that this conference has been made international. Furthermore, it's entirely dedicated to social sciences. I already feel that the colleagues' desire to participate is greater than in the previous years.