International Conference

The conference is dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the BASNET Forumas association

The situation of young researchers in the Baltic States: Development or waste of future scientific potential?

November 23, 2023

Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Constitution Hall, Gedimino pr. 53, Vilnius


Prof. Martin Andler

Professor emeritus at the Université de Versailles St-Quentin (Paris-Saclay) & President of the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE)

Martin Andler is a mathematician and historian of science, professor emeritus at the Université de Versailles St-Quentin (Paris-Saclay). His main domains of research are Lie theory and the development of mathematics in France since 1870. A graduate of École normale supérieure in Paris, he obtained his PhD (doctorat d’État) from Université Paris-Diderot in 1983. He has held positions as a CNRS researcher, before joining Versailles-St-Quentin, and has been a visiting professor at MIT, Rutgers, and a visitor at IAS-Princeton. He was vice-president of the Société mathématique de France (1997-1999) and the founding president of Animath, the main mathematics outreach organisation in France (1998-2017). His interest in European policy issues led him to be vice-president of Euroscience (2012-2018). Since 2017, he has been the president of the Initiative for Science in Europe.

Prof. Martin Andler is Keynote speaker. He will talk  about researchers careers in Europe, especially at the early stage, and especially in Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anne-Sophie Godfroy

University of Paris Est Créteil, researcher at the Ecole Normale Supérieure - Université Paris Sciences Lettres (PSL) &COST Action Voices coordinator

Making young researchers’ voices heard for equality: an opportunity to rethink and transform the European Research Area


Even if many intersecting inequalities originate in the early stages of the career (Murgia & Poggio 2019), equality policies specifically targeted at young researchers are the blind spot of equality policies. The high level of mobility and diversity of statuses partly explain this gap, as well as the contested definition of ‘young researcher’.

This presentation is based on the experience of the COST Action VOICES (CA 20137, 2021-2025, VOICES facilitates a community of gender equality practitioners, researchers and stakeholders from forty European countries, both within and outside the European Union.  The aim of VOICES is to make the situation of young researchers visible, to document it and to make proposals for a better understanding of the specific trajectories and difficulties of young researchers and for moving towards greater equality.

In addition to institutional and national data, VOICES aims to reconstruct personal trajectories and better understand how they relate to research policies. VOICES includes in its network three umbrella organisations, EURODOC (European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers), EPWS (European Platform of Women Scientists) and CPED (Conférence Permanente des Chargé-es de mission Égalité Diversité), which enables it to carry out exploratory studies on a very large scale.

Through some examples of ongoing reflections and surveys, this paper explores how VOICES can bring new data, new questions and new practices to the discussion on the future of research in Europe.


Short bio:

Dr Anne-Sophie Godfroy is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris Est Créteil and a researcher at the ” Republique des Savoirs “, a transdisciplinary research unit of the CNRS, the Ecole Normale Supérieure – Université Paris Sciences Lettres and the Collège de France.

After studying philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, she defended her PhD at the Université Paris-Sorbonne on the emergence of probabilistic thinking in the XVIIth century.

Her research interests are knowledge production and circulation, science in society, history of science and epistemology, gender and science, science education, international comparisons. During the last decade she has participated in several European funded research projects on gender equality. She has contributed to the implementation of gender action plans in universities as Equality Officer from 2019 to 2022 and as Vice-President of the Permanent Conference of Equality and Diversity Officers in France from 2019 to the present ( She is also an expert, ethics officer and member of evaluation panels for various projects, reports and working groups on gender equality.

She chairs the COST VOICES (CA20137) from October 2021 to October 2025: Making Young Researchers’ Voices Heard for Gender Equality.

Prof. Dr. Gintaras Valinčius

Chairman of the Lithuanian Scientific Council

An experienced and recognized scientist in the fields of biochemistry and life sciences, with a career spanning 40+ years, Chairman of the Research Council of Lithuania. Founder and former director of the Partnership Institute for Genome Editing Technologies and the Life Sciences Centre, a partner of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Earning widespread recognition and admiration within both national and international scientific communities, expertise has extended to high-level advisory roles: advised Lithuania’s Minister of Science and Education on the development of national research infrastructures, was one of the leaders of the Smart Specialization Strategy, and currently serve as an advisor to the NATO Advisory Expert Group on emerging and disruptive technologies. Distinguished academic journey includes esteemed US institutions — National Institute of Standards and Technology, Johns Hopkins University and Carnegie Mellon University. Notably, a pioneer in introducing electrochemical and biomimetic methods for biosystem research in Lithuania. A visionary leader and presenter, driving innovation and knowledge creation in the scientific community.


Student Fellowship Programmes in Lithuania: Experiences and Opportunities

The presentation provides an overview of the Research Council of Lithuania (RCL) student research fellowship programmes, highlighting significant achievements, challenges and opportunities provided by RCL initiatives. The emphasis is on practical experience and financial support provided to young researchers who participate in the programme, intending to demonstrate the positive impact of the initiative on the students. This concise overview aims to demonstrate RCL’s unwavering dedication to creating prospects and fostering upcoming scientific talent.

Prof. Liudvika Leišytė

Deputy director of the Center of Higher Education at Dortmund Technical University

Precarity, recruitment and promotion in academia


Precarious contracts in European academia have significantly increased in the past decades due to various policy reforms related to academic capitalism, such as increasing the number of doctoral holders, reducing permanent positions, worsening working conditions for academics as well as saving schemes of university managers. We pose the questions on how do academics compare across disciplines, seniority and gender regarding their employment contract? How does the perception of fairness of recruitment compare across gender, type of contract and seniority?


The results show that more junior academics than senior academics are employed on temporary contracts. There are differences by gender, with more female respondents working on temporary contracts. Further, higher percentage of precarious employment can be found in hard sciences compared to the soft sciences respondents. The responses regarding the perceptions of fairness of hiring and promotion show that higher percentage of women, early career academics and those on temporary contracts disagree with the statement.

In this way, this talk points that the perception of fairness of recruitment and promotion is perceived slightly differently depending on gender and career level. This is in line with the academic and social capital theory, with those with higher capital, that is, senior academics, are also the ones with more power and say in the schools and faculties, and thus, have more voice regarding promotion. The difference by discipline can be explained related to the research funding mechanisms, whereby, hard sciences have increasingly been relying on postdoctoral labour in the laboratories funded by research council or foundations, bring more precarious contracts into the system.

Prof. Dr. Liudvika Leišytė is a professor at the Dortmund University of Technology, deputy director of the High Education Science Studies Center, member of the European Academy, member of the SKVC advisory board, long-time member of the board of Futura Scientia and former chairman of the board.

Mrs. Rasa Kulvietienė

Advisor to the Minister of Education, Science and Sports of the Republic of Lithuania

Dr. Maria Rosaria Masullo

Senior researcher at National Institute for Nuclear Physics, Naples unit

Dr. Maria Rosaria Masullo is senior researcher at National Institute for Nuclear Physics, Naples unit, Italy. She works in particle accelerator field collaborating within national and international projects located in different laboratories (CERN, BNL-USA, TRIUMF-Canada). In these last years, her researches are mainly focused on the study of beam instabilities in accelerators, methodologies for their mitigation and laboratory electromagnetic characterization of mitigation materials. Naples coordinator for INFN Scientific Committee 5, local referent for the Technological Transfer and since 2017, component of the National Committee for TT and of the FELLINI Coordination Board. Since 2008 she is involved in gender issues inside the research and the university. For 8 years, she was the president of first INFN CUG, guarantee act committee. In 2008, she joined the Women in Science Association formed by researchers of Naples University “Federico II”, INFN and National Research Council (CNR). Component of the International Advisory Board of the EU FP7 GENOVATE project, she participated to HORIZON 2020 GENERA project, and later to GENERA-NETWORK. Inside INFN she is responsible of a gender transformative MENTORING program, the first in an Italian research institute. She was nominated, for gender issues, in the expert group of the Research Italian Ministry Delegate for the “Excellence in Science Pillar (ERC, MSCA, FET)” of Horizon 2020 from 2013. Referee of different journals, she has been supervisor of several Physics and Engineering master thesis.


Gender mentoring program for an inclusive research environment

Equality between women and men is one of the European Union’s founding values, but despite the acquired rights and the significant changes in women’s participation in educational paths and job world, our society is still on a man scale. In the academia and the research area, after the first career stage, gender asymmetries, especially, in scientific contexts are persisting and they will do not disappear ‘naturally’. Among actions supporting gender mainstreaming strategies in academic and research institutions, Mentoring programs are quite diffuse to support women in overcoming barriers in their career advancement. Among all the mentoring programs, gender mentoring ones have the purpose to drive not only individual development (for mentees), but to contribute to systemic change in the institutions working also on mentors. A mentoring program can be  not only a support to achieve equity, but a way to increase gender awareness, change the narrative and move from “equal opportunities” to inclusion, removing the systematic barriers that create inequalities.

Ms. Inga Skendere

University of Latvia, Director of the Study Development and governance improvement program


The situation of young researchers at University of Latvia: short summary   

As most universities around the globe, the University of Latvia transforming education processes caused by globalization, labor market requirements, the global geopolitical situation, and the pandemic. If the impact of the Bologna process on transformation at Master’s and Bachelor’s level at the University of Latvia is considered positive, then doctoral level studies are currently on a certain pause, i.e. maintaining both previous academic heritage as ceremonial councils and hierarchical structures and introducing Western European values.

The presentation will briefly point out the situation regarding doctoral studies at the University of Latvia based on the results of a survey of doctoral students, depicts the profile of a typical doctoral student: challenges, motivation, reasons for dropouts; the support mechanisms as well as the main conclusions about the results of postdoctoral project will be briefly described.

INGA ŠĶENDERE is director of Study Development and Governance Improvement Programme at University of Latvia

Prof. Dr. Raminta Pučetaitė

Kaunas University of Technology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

Young researchers navigating the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) of the academic environment

Abstract. The overall environment in European societies has become volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, which is abbreviated as VUCA environment. It raises a number of tensions to individuals in academic institutions, which is also reflected by the worsening of mental wellbeing and health of early career stage researchers. The presentation highlights institutional and national level practices which account for these tensions, e.g. the precariousness of academic careers, lack of project-based doctoral and postdoctoral positions, evaluating interdisciplinary research results in institutional performance management systems, the need for quality in supervision and training of supervisors. The presentation rests on the results of some European projects.


Dr. Raminta Pučėtaitė is Professor and Principal Investigator of the research group Public Governance at Kaunas University of Technology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities (Lithuania) and Adjunct Professor of Management, Organizational Ethics and Human Resource Management at the School of Business and Economics of Jyväskylä University (Finland). She chairs the Commission of Gender Equality, Diversity and Violence Prevention at KTU. Her research focuses on organizational ethics, equality in working life, organizational trust and innovativeness. She has published in national and international volumes, including Journal of Business Ethics; Business Ethics – A European Review; Baltic Journal of Management; Journal of Baltic Studies; Journal of Social Entrepreneurship; Transformations in Business and Economics and two monographs.

Prof. Dr. Toomas Vaimann

Tallinn University of Technology, Department of Electrical Power Engineering and Mechatronics & President of Estonian Young Academy of Sciences (EYAS).

Sustaining Estonia’s Higher Education and Research: Challenges Regarding PhD Students and Young Researcher

Abstract: Estonia is facing critical challenges surrounding the shortage of PhD students and the limited presence of native Estonian speakers amongst PhD students. These issues have significant implications for higher education, research, and R&D&I potential in Estonia. The lower-than-desired number of PhD students raises concerns about the continuity and growth of research within the nation. Challenges faced by young researchers and academic community might start to hinder the development of future academic leaders and threatens the advancement of knowledge and innovation in various fields.


Toomas Vaimann is a member of Estonian Young Academy of Sciences and is currently the president of the organization.

He is also a research professor in Tallinn University of Technology, Department of Electrical Power Engineering and Mechatronics. Internationally, he has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland, and worked as a visiting professor at the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics, ITMO University, St. Petersburg, Russia. Additionally he holds the programme director position for Master’s and PhD studies in the field of Electrical Engineering in the Tallinn University of Technology.

Dr. Juozas Nainys

CEO and co-founder of Atrandi Biosciences


Young researcher community is a vital part of any innovation driven business in Life Sciences field. There are multiple critical touch points between academia and business throughout the life cycle of the biotech company. Large proportion of these interactions are driven by young researchers. Therefore, ensuring continuity and growth of research potential is vital to the future of innovation driven economy in our region.

Brief Bio

Juozas Nainys, PhD is the CEO and co-founder of Atrandi Biosciences, a company that is pioneering cutting edge technologies in the field of life sciences. The company’s unique liquid handling technology is enabling researchers to gain deep and precise insights into individual cells, providing answers to biologists’ most pressing questions and advancing the development of new and effective therapies for a wide range of diseases. The name “Atrandi” comes from the Lithuanian word for “you discover,” which perfectly encapsulates the passion and pioneering spirit that drives Juozas and his team.

Juozas earned his PhD in biochemistry from Vilnius University and during his studies spent extensive time at Columbia University where his research was focused on single cell analysis. Juozas has co-authored over 10 peer-reviewed articles in top scientific journals and holds co-inventorship on 4 patents.

Dr. Tatjana Pladere

Assistant professor and researcher (PhD in Physics) at the University of Latvia &Member of the Board of Association of Young Scientists of Latvia (LJZA)

Addressing academic career instability in Latvia

Academic research careers encounter instability in many European countries due to a variety of reasons. Some nations have an oversupply of PhD graduates and a high competition for stable positions, while others like Latvia grapple with limited funding that makes even professorships uncertain career options. This lack of stability within academic careers can hinder economic growth, fostering a competitive environment that prioritizes short-term goals over research integrity. Additionally, the constant pressure to secure project funding, directly tied to one’s livelihood, can impede innovative research endeavors and diminish the attractiveness of academic careers for potential researchers. Recognizing these challenges, European nations are actively seeking solutions. In my talk, I will provide a concise overview of the situation in Latvia, comparing its current system with the newly proposed one.

Short bio
Tatjana Pladere is an assistant professor and researcher (PhD in Physics) at the University of Latvia. During her doctoral studies, she was actively involved in several scientific projects that fostered successful cooperation between academia and industry. The result of this work was recognized by the Latvian Academy of Sciences as one of the most significant achievements in applied science.
She currently serves as a member of the board of the Latvian Association of Young Researchers, an organization with more than 300 members. This organization plays a key role in shaping policies and new initiatives in Latvia, offering recommendations on various topics including higher education reforms, new financial models, and the modernization of academic career structures and doctoral studies.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Denis Sokol

Faculty of Chemistry of Vilnius University


Point of view to the situation of YR in industry

Becoming a young researcher in Lithuania is unpopular due to several factors:`

  • Lengthy and challenging learning process
  • Low or relatively low remuneration
  • Frequent employer’s unfavorable attitude towards scientific activities
  • Small job market (limited job opportunities and low likelihood of career advancement)
  • Low correlation between acquired qualifications and offered salary (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate)
  • Attraction of other professions

Short Bio:

Denis Sokol currently holds the position of an Associate Professor with a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Vilnius University in Lithuania. Throughout his academic journey, spanning from bachelor’s studies to the present, he has maintained close collaboration with both academia and industry. This collaboration has afforded him extensive experience in organic chemistry, encompassing research and large-scale production, as well as in pharmaceutics, specifically in the production and purification of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API). His expertise also extends to inorganic chemistry, demonstrated through his doctoral thesis on LDH anionic clays. He actively participates in education and scientific initiatives, contributing to projects such as the educational program “Tęsk” and various projects with the Agency for Science, Innovation, and Technology (MITA). These experiences provide valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities within future academia and the research industry.

Dr. Arūnas Žiedelis

Assistant at Vilnius University Institute of Psychology & member of Lithuanian Young Scientists Union (LSYR)



Creating decent conditions for doctoral students is a challenge that higher education institutions do not always manage to cope with. In 2021-2022, a study was conducted on the well-being and productivity of Lithuanian doctoral students, which aimed to understand better what study conditions help and hinder them from staying motivated. Analysing the answers given by 633 doctoral students allowed to present some ideas on improving the processes of doctoral studies. Reducing tasks of low added value, ensuring the quality of supervision, and more transparent communication are among the most essential areas of improvement.

Dr. Arūnas Žiedelis is Assistant at VU Institute of Psychology and member of Lithuanian Young Scientists Union. He will present the research project implemented together with LJMS and its results

Dr. Aušra Baradokė

Founder of JSC "Deep Scientific"

From Global Academia to Local Innovation: The Return to Lithuania and Advancements in Sensing Technologies


Dr. Aušra Baradokė shares her experience on the transition of young scientists from academic research to the business sector. She starts by reflecting, ‘Returning to Lithuania after my experience at the University of Oxford, I recognized numerous opportunities for young scientists to apply their research for practical solutions.’ She elaborates on their recently established, ‘Deep Scientific,’ which is dedicated to invigorating Lithuania’s burgeoning scientific community. The company primarily focuses on developing advanced sensing methodologies for environmental applications, integrating international experience to drive innovation in this field. Discussing the move from academic research to entrepreneurship, Dr. Baradokė notes, “This shift isn’t just about leaving the lab behind; it’s about transforming lab work into market-ready innovations. It’s an exciting mix of scientific experience and business development.” She emphasizes the need for supportive environments, vital for young scientists to flourish in business settings. Dr. Baradokė also touches on the crucial role of intergenerational collaboration in scientific enterprises. “Mixing the knowledge of international scientists with the guidance of business professionals is essential for technology development,” she says. In conclusion, Dr. Baradokė shares, “My journey from international academia to launching a startup in Lithuania shows the impactful role young researchers can play in advancing science and business, especially with the right support and attitude.

Brief Bio

Dr. Aušra Baradokė is a distinguished researcher and entrepreneur with a notable background in science and technology. She holds a PhD in a field related to physical and technological sciences, achieved in collaboration between Lithuanian and Ireland (Dublin City University, and Trinity College Dublin) institutions. With over 10 years of research experience, Dr. Baradokė has contributed significantly to various scientific groups, including a notable postdoc at the University of Oxford. Her work at Oxford, funded by Innovate UK, led to the publication of a few high-impact research papers and a patent in the area of polymer based sensing. She has published 20 publications related to Biosensors, Biomedical Applications and Environmental Science and Nanomaterials. Driven by a passion to apply her scientific expertise to real-world challenges, Dr. Baradokė returned to Lithuania, supported by the MJJ fund. In Lithuania, she founded JSC “Deep Scientific” a startup focusing on the development of services in the environmental sensor domain. Her story shows how young researchers connect academia and industry, especially in science-based entrepreneurship.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Urtė Neniškytė

Group leader at Vilnius University, Life Sciences Center and EMBL Partnership Institute for Genome Editing Technologies.


Improving the conditions of young researchers: think globally, act locally

Young researchers often face challenging working conditions and unstable career paths, causing many to leave to pursue other options. Recent years have been marked by world-wide decrease of fellowship and funding applications from young researchers, demonstrating the importance of developing adequate support framework for doctoral students and post-doctoral trainees. While some actions, such as ensuring employment status and social security require the change of laws defining the legal status and working conditions of doctoral candidates, other areas can be improved within the institutions themselves. Suitable regulations of doctoral studies support young researcher gender equality, provide opportunities for skill and career development as well as science-business interactions. Strategic internationalization conteracts the brain drain and brings in good practices from other institutions. Finally, defining expectations and providing training to the mentors of young researchers is essential for creating inclusive and supportive environment that allows the realisation of young researcher potential.

Dr. Urte Neniskyte has received a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge (UK) and completed post-doctoral fellowship at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Italy). After returning to the Life Sciences Center of Vilnius University, U. Neniskyte established Molecular Neurobiology research group. Since 2021, she is a group leader at Vilnius University and EMBL Partnership Institute for Genome Editing Technologies. From 2017 to 2022, U. Neniskyte served as a member of the Board of the Research Council of Lithuania.

Prof. Hab. Dr. Gintaras Valušis

Director of Centre of Physical sciences and technology (FTMC), a head of the Department of Optoelectronics, professor of the Faculty of Physics of Vilnius University, and full member of Lithuanian Academy of Sciences

Dr. Agnė Šulčiūtė

Associate Professor in KTU's Faculty of Chemical Technology

„It takes two to tango“


In our ever-changing world, it’s vital for us in academia (research), innovation, and business to join forces because we all play a dynamic role in influencing one another. As we in academia seek to adapt amidst global competition, teaming up with innovative businesses becomes a source of sustainable revenue. Simultaneously, we see businesses acknowledging academia as a vital force for innovation, offering access to fresh ideas and diverse talent. In our collaborative environment, we, as young researchers from academia, innovation, and business, work together. Our shared vision is to sculpt a future where our combined efforts propel lasting societal progress.

Brief Bio

Agnė Šulčiūtė is a dedicated researcher and educator with expertise in the fields of catalysis, kinetics, and electrochemistry. She earned her Ph.D. in 2016, specializing in the synthesis, structure, and electrochemical properties of ZnO and Zn–Co oxide coatings within the Faculty of Chemical Technology at KTU. Agnė has a rich international research background, including a research stint in Germany at “Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin” and as a visiting researcher at Lehigh University in the United States. Agnė actively is contributing to the scientific community with numerous scientific publications and educational books on chemistry. In addition to her research endeavors, Agnė is deeply committed to education, teaching master’s and bachelor’s students at KTU. She mentors students, contributes to academic competitions, and engages in various educational and scientific events, showcasing her dedication to fostering the next generation of scientists. Agnė’s multifaceted career also involves organizing conferences and actively participating in research projects with a focus on sustainability and innovation.

Beyond academia, Agnė Šulčiūtė is recognized for her mentoring role in initiatives promoting innovation and social impact, underlining her commitment to bridging the gap between scientific research and real-world applications.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dalia Šatkovskienė

Vilnius University Faculty of Physics, Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy &President of BASNET Forumas association & Chair of Organizing Committee of the Conference


Assoc. Prof. Dr.  Dalia Satkovskiene

Dalia Šatkovskienė is a physicist and a expert in gender equality in science issues. She graduated from department of elementary particles of Moscow State University (scientific advisor Prof. B. Pontecorvo). Since 1973 she has worked in different scientific and academic positions at Theoretical Physics Department of Vilnius University.  Prof. D. Šatkovskienė has more than 130 scientific publications and is an author of 4 textbooks in theoretical physics, was invited and has participated in a large number of scientific conferences. Among other professional awards she is a holder of the American Physical Societies international Marshak award (2008). D. Šatkovskienė coordinated two EC FP projects: the regional Baltic States FP6 project “Baltic States Network: Women in Sciences and HT” (BASNET) and FP7 project „Structural Change Promoting Gender Equality in Research Organizations“(SAPGERIC), „Gender Equality Implementation in Research Institutions: Collaborative Approach“ (GEIRICA) project financed by EEA and Norway Funds Bilateral programme and others. She was invited as Advisory Board member in number of EC projects. She initiated the establishment of BASNET Forumas and currently  is President of BASNET Forumas. She is an active member  of Administrative Board of prestigious European women scientists’ organization European Platform for Women Scientists (EPWS) and is representing Vilnius University in European Network of Physicists Genera. Prof. Satkovskiene strongly contributed to implementation of gender mainstreaming policy in the Baltic States region. 2014m. she was awarded with the Baltic Assembly Medal for promotion the unity and cooperation among the three Baltic nations.

Dr. Dalia Šatkovskienė initiated the conference and gave the introductory talk during the opening ceremony of the Conference emphasizing the necessity    to improve the situation of young researchers in the Baltic States- the future scientific potential for wellbeing of Baltic nations