July 20, 2017

The group of young and active scientists of Economics in cooperation with Global Lithuanian Leaders and the Bank of Lithuania have initiated the discussion on the development of Economics and research worldwide and the role Lithuania plays in it.

The panel consisted of ambitious professionals of Lithuanian descent teaching and carrying research at top universities of the world, namely Jūratė Liaukonytė, Charles H.Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Steve Tadelis, University of California Berkeley, Rimvydas Baltaduonis, Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania, Alminas Žaldokas, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology as well as Alfredas Chmieliauskas, President  of ISM University of Management and Economics,  and Rūta Petrauskaitė, Deputy chairman of the Science Council in Lithuania. It was moderated by Board Member of Bank of Lithuania Marius Jurgilas.

Rūta Petrauskaitė, as the representative of supervising institution, gave brief overview of the development of social sciences in Lithuania throughout the last two decades which witnessed the extraordinary popularity among young people but failed to meet their expectations and to reach the international level in quality of the education. This situation resulted in the abundance of graduates without real influence on economic thought in Lithuania, despite to say internationally, as well as the absence of research.  discussion highlighted that social sciences are changing in of economic research. “That is exactly what makes universities famous and attractive: their influence on the international development of the science through research, innovative ideas, resourceful cooperation,” remarked Rimvydas Baltaduonis, true believer in the necessity of dynamic research centers for small countries like Lithuania.

What are the secrets of inspiration and attraction of brightest minds? Statistics show that  as many as 24% of Lithuanian Master students (compared to ES27 average of only 18%) tend to look for traineeship opportunities abroad. Around 20 % leave to study for Masters to other countries. It was highlighted that it is not salary that determines the preference of young academics. It is the wide opportunities to improve, grow, meet the stars of the science, get international experience and connections, feel part of the global community.

Alminas Žaldokas once chose to work at exceptionally young Hong Kong University of Science and Technology even though he had multiple job offers from a number of old European Universities. As the young university was established to deliberately grow into the leading scientific institution, it could offer high-level international faculty colleagues, scholarships for scientific conferences and research projects, freedom of thought and action. This experience encouraged to bring together Lithuanian scientists of Economics working all around the world for annual conferences now held every year at local universities.

All panelists believe in the necessity of international experience and striving for excellence in both areas of the science: teaching as well as research. According to Steve Tadelis from USC Berkley University the innovation is not possible without the latter, critical thinking is beneficial and essential in scientific progress, the competition is the drive for ambitious students, and research funds are a good tool to inspire it if based on correct criteria.

The discussion panelists and participants agree on the necessity of communication and active discourse on the topic to finally trigger some action and dynamics in the studies of Economics as well as education system in general.

Check the photos of the discussion here.