In today’s world, academies of sciences differ in their objectives and methods as well as in their importance for the system of research in their countries. However, the common mission of all academies of sciences is to bring together the most distinguished scientists and undertake projects that would enhance the prosperity of a country and contribute to its scientific, economic, social and cultural progress. The academies are also united by their traditional aims: to foster society’s critical and scientific thinking, to encourage high-level scientific research and to protect the independence and freedom of science.

The Lithuanian Academy of Sciences fulfils its mission by a sustained and vigorous promotion of education and science. Themed conferences, meetings, seminars, and discussions are held not between the Academy members alone but between the Academy and other scientific and educational institutions both in this country and abroad. The promotion of education and science, which is essential for progress, is always of an international nature.

Academic discourse is effective when it involves the prominent as well as the young, creative, and innovative scientists of the country. For this reason, several aspects are important for the selection of the Academy members and their activities. The main criterion for selecting an Academy member is their scientific achievements. To engage the whole intellectual elite in the Academy’s activities, it is necessary to expand cooperation between Academy members and non-members – its regular reserve.

Another important sphere of activity is to encourage talented scientists and scientific research in every possible way. The time when the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences comprised numerous research institutes and supervised their activities is past history. The present-day Academy members conduct their research at autonomous universities and institutes; however, that does not mean that the Academy has no influence over the policies and evolution of Lithuanian science. Besides commemorative prizes and annual prizes awarded to young scientists and students, the Academy takes other actions to stimulate research. Since 2004, the Academy has coordinated the cooperation between Lithuanian scientists and the European Organization for Nuclear Research and supported the participation of young researchers at the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meetings. Since 2010, it has been awarding fifteen annual research grants to young scientists.

The third aspect of the Academy’s activities is related to its expert and advisory function. Though at first glance it seems to be its obvious and possibly basic function, it presents serious challenges to the independent and objective nature of science: it is essential that the balance between academic freedom and responsibility should never be disturbed. 

President of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences