On a daily basis Agita Līviņa is managing the Institute of Social, Economic and Humanities Research at Vidzeme University of Applied Science, taking care of such things as preparation of documents and project applications, selection of research topics and attraction of funding. She points out that in the research institute she tries to find topics that are of interest not only to the researchers themselves, but also useful to the university, companies, municipalities and at the international level. Agita Līviņa also teaches courses for students of Tourism and Leisure study field.
What are your scientific achievements?
In total I have four publications with co-authors - they are like chapters in books published by international publishers such as Cabi and Routledge. I see this as an achievement. The other is the Fulbright research grant which I received for four months at Buffalo University. During that time, I gained a lot of new contacts, and I also got a broader perspective on many things.
Why did you engage in research? Where did it all start?
I am quite stubborn, if I decide on something, then I want to do it. It all started when I wanted to apply for a particular job position, and I was compliant with all the requirements, except education in economics. I already had a bachelor's degree in environmental science and a master's degree in geography - specifically in regional development and planning. The position I wanted to take gave me a strong incentive to acquire the formally required education in economics, that is why I enrolled in the doctoral study programme at Latvian University of Agriculture. Probably for the first time I studied so much and so intensively for the entrance exam (smiles). When studying economics, research is already inevitable.
Have you wanted to be a researcher since childhood?
I have to say that there could be two points of reference - when I was a kid I wanted to become an ice cream seller, but when I was in secondary school I dreamt of working in the Gauja National Park. I do not work in the Gauja National Park, but today, from an external perspective, you can see that what I do in research is very closely related to the Gauja National Park.
What would be your suggestions for young people on their way to this profession?
The main thing is to be curious and willing to understand why everything happens the way it does - to understand the causes that affect each process, to look for correlations, to develop a broad perspective of things. There must also be a desire to explore something new rather than to repeat what has already been done. It is a very great freedom - to be a researcher.
What do you think is the most important scientific achievement in the world?
Very difficult question. Simply put, the coexistence of man and technology. It would not be easy to choose something specific. For example, every time I fly to a conference, I still wonder how it is possible for an airplane to take off and stay in the air.