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Lithuania’s Covid plan puts €200m into higher education and R&D


Money expected to boost internationalisation of universities, promote research and raise admission standards

Lithuania’s higher education and innovation sectors are poised to receive €200 million under the country’s plan for its share of the EU’s €750 billion Covid-19 recovery fund, from which the country has requested €2.2bn in grants.

National plans must be approved by both the European Commission and the Council of the EU, and Lithuania’s was approved in late July. A Commission analysis of the plan published on 4 August found that 9 per cent of the funding requested is to be allocated to higher education and innovation.

According to the Commission, this funding will be used to “promote research and internationalisation of universities [and] set higher qualitative standards for colleges and universities”, consolidate innovation-promotion agencies, change the funding model of universities so that it is based more on contracts, and raise student admission standards.

“The consolidation of agencies responsible for innovation promotion is expected to make research and innovation policies more efficient,” the analysis says. But it adds: “The ambition level of consolidation could be higher and encompass more agencies.”

According to the Commission, “a new innovation policy framework, promoting innovative, high value-added solutions for businesses and industries, could attract private investments, enhance export activities, create new job and business opportunities and stimulate economic growth.”

Lithuania also intends to more narrowly focus its innovation and provide more effective support for “mission-based science-business cooperation”, the analysis says.

The plan also includes €448m for digital transformation to “create the necessary conditions for science and businesses to develop and deploy advanced digital technologies”.

It includes €312m for improving the quality of education, vocational training and adult learning.

On 3 August, the Commission distributed the first batch of payments under the fund to Belgium, Luxembourg and Portugal. Countries can receive up to 13 per cent of their total allocation initially, with the rest dependent on hitting agreed milestones.