The President of France Emmanuel Macron Encourages Strengthening Cooperation Between European Universities During his Visit at VU

2020 09 30 Macronas642x410Today, President of France Emmanuel Macron visited Vilnius University (VU), where he was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of VU at a solemn ceremony. During the visit, the French leader also took part in a discussion in which he discussed in detail the current issues of the European economy, relations with the world’s major powers and shared insights on the future of global Europe.

The goal is European integration

In an exclusive discussion with VU students, moderated by Assoc Prof Margarita Šešelgytė, Director at VU Institute of International Relations and Political Science, President of France discussed Europe, its identity and future, the situation in Belarus and emphasized the importance of European cooperation. While responding to students’ questions, Mr Macron stressed the importance of unification at the international and national levels, especially at such important moments as the coronavirus crisis.

“Young people are going through a very difficult period right now, we are asking for their help in protecting others, especially the elderly. I do not want us to forget in the future what we are asking of young people today. Some places, cafes, where young people often gather, are being closed, studies are continued remotely, which also causes some inconveniences, creates a completely different study atmosphere. Young people also have difficulty entering the stagnant labour market due to the pandemic. Of course, these solutions are necessary and important to protect the majority, but because of that we must feel the responsibility for everyone around us and we cannot leave future generations in unstable Europe, debts or with the problems of global warming,” in a discussion with VU students Emmanuel Macron said.

The French leader, in his support of united Europe and European university networks, emphasized the need for integration processes and investment in knowledge and education to achieve good results in the social and economic fields and to help solve problematic issues in all European states.

Emmanuel Macron’s initiatives in the field of education and higher education have been praised not only by leaders of European universities but also by the European Commission (EC), which has provided funding for such a project. The French President was the title of Doctor Honoris Causa at VU for the idea of creating joint European university networks and expanding the Erasmus + exchange initiative, as well as for the constant promotion of innovations in the field of education.

“New opportunities for cooperation and integration between European higher education institutions have been made possible by your visionary initiative as President of France. For the first time since long, the idea of university received new development at the political level.
It is a solid basis and honour for Vilnius University to award you the title of Doctor Honoris Causa for the contribution to the integration of European universities and the development of the idea of a modern university, while expressing your commitment to the idea of European universities’ cooperation and alliances,” VU Rector Prof Rimvydas Petrauskas said.

The European universities initiative is a breakthrough in the field of higher education

The initiative of the French President to create networks of European universities was first raised in September 2017, in Emmanuel Macron’s famous Sorbonne speech. This speech formed the basis for the vision in the field of education and culture formulated at the European Union summit in Gothenburg. These proposals are now included in various European Union initiatives and programmes.

Emmanuel Macron proposes to set up networks of European universities, which should become centres of educational innovation and top competences and achieve a higher level of student exchanges by 2024, with half of European university students having to spend at least half a year in another European state. The French leader is also aiming for European students to be able to speak at least two foreign languages by 2024.

After the EC’s first call for the creation and funding of European university networks was announced in 2018, 17 networks were selected already in 2019. Among them was VU, which together with 6 other European universities (Bergen, Granada, Graz, Leipzig, Lyon, Padua) joined the university alliance Arqus.

“The seven universities together are building the strong foundations of a new type of cooperation that will impact not only the students, but also staff development, the quality of the research and the integration with socio-economic fabric of our regions. We are committed to achieving a systemic impact that will help us to reach our long-term vision and also to bring on board the rest of the national higher education systems to improve the quality of our education, research and innovation provision”, says Dorothy Kelly, Arqus Coordinator.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of achievements has been reached on the Arqus path towards the construction of a truly European University Alliance. Good examples are the Arqus Open Mobility Agreement, that allows students to freely move between the seven institutions, the development of common institutional policies, joint degrees, or the successful application for Horizon 2020 funding to strengthen their joint research and innovation capacity.

The principal ambition of the Arqus Alliance is to act jointly as a laboratory for institutional learning from which to move forward in the design, testing and implementation of an innovative model for deep inter-university cooperation. The Alliance aims to consolidate a joint governance structure to facilitate the development of consensual joint policies and action plans, to consolidate participative structures to facilitate cross-cutting integration at all levels of the partner institutions, and to share its experience with other groupings in order to communicate the added value to be found in its model of integration.

Erasmus+ traineeship: Madalina tells about practice at VU MIF Cyber Security Lab

2020 09 24 Cyber Security LabMadalina, Robert, doc. dr. Agne Brilingaite

Erasmus+ traineeship is a traineeship (work placement) abroad in an enterprise or any other relevant organization in the Erasmus+ programme country.

Madalina Mariana, a student from Romania (University of Pitęsti) done Erasmus+ traineeship at Vilnius university Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics Cyber Security Lab. She told about the traineeship, Vilnius university and the city of Vilnius.

Traineeship experience and supervisors at VU MIF

Madalina said that Erasmus+ experience was full of challenges. “First three weeks or so felt like being thrown in the sea without knowing how to swim. The people would tell you what to do and you would struggle to make it work, but this is all it is in the beginning. This is generally true when you try to learn something new. And that is the best part of it. Even with the struggle and the self-doubt, you know that at the end of it, something amazing awaits you.

The team work was great. The teachers’ guidance was great. But the things I enjoyed the most were the things I learned about and the world I discovered through them,”– Madalina shares her experience.

Madalina M. says that teachers at VU MIF also not just guided through each step of the project, but they were really interested in sharing with students more and more of their knowledge and wisdom. “Teachers tried to know who we are and what we are capable of, so they can get the best of our abilities”.

Impressions about Lithuania, Vilnius and national cuisine

“I think the perception of the city depends on the place you are coming from. For me, the city used to release an amazing amount of energy with each new place I would discover. But at the same time, it made me feel at ease. And I think this is coming from its people, beyond the cold that seems specific for them. It’s been a once in a life time experience to live in Vilnius, so I can’t wait to go back even just as a tourist,”– said Madalina M.

Madalina’s favourite dishes – pink cold beetroot soup (“Šaltibarščiai”) and sweet mushroom biscuits “Grybukai”. “Being in Vilnius meant facing the international cuisine as much as the national one. There are a bunch of restaurants and food festivals that made the experience truly educational.

From the traditional dishes, I really enjoyed the Šaltibarsčiai soup and those Grybukai biscuits, but, honestly, from time to time, the thing I miss the most is Hesburger,” – said student.

Erasmus+ traineeship in Vilnius university – every students should try it

„I would definitely recommend it and, in fact, I did it. After I returned home, my Erasmus+ coordinator asked me to talk with potential Erasmus students about my experience in Vilnius. I think this kind of experience is something any student should try at least once in their life, even for a short period”.

More information about Erasmus+ traineeship can be found here

Applications for the spring semester exchange are open

Hello! Hello! Ciao! Ola! Zdravo!

Would you like ...

  • … improve and / or learn a new foreign language?
  • ... broaden your horizons, get to know a new culture and develop tolerance?
  • ... make new friends and develop independence?
  • ... gain invaluable academic and life self?

If you answered YES to at least two questions, we invite you to apply and participate in exchange program!

Registration takes place from 1 to 24 September.

Address of the list of universities for the spring semester:

We are also waiting for you at the informational meeting on September 17th at 3 p.m. via MS Teams for students of the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics.

Registration form

More information about ERASMUS+:

On the website of the International Relations Department of Vilnius University

On the VU MIF page

Master's Students Start their Academic Year at Vilnius University

2020 09 02 RektoriusEN380x250Due to the situation in the country and the world caused by the coronavirus, the 1st of September at Vilnius University (VU) is also different - the traditional opening procession of the VU academic year which brings together thousands of students is cancelled and this year Master‘s students will be the first to start their studies at VU. However, VU Rector Prof Rimvydas Petrauskas gladly notes that there is no shortage of talented students at VU who, even during this tense period, have decided to continue to challenge themselves and deepen their knowledge and competencies.

“We will start the autumn semester in the face of a continuing pandemic, therefore, we have to be particularly mobilised, supporting each other, helping to arm ourselves with patience, maintaining motivation, while at the same time addressing emerging issues and misunderstandings. The crisis will eventually pass and we will return to a fully-fledged university life - auditoriums, laboratories, internship places, attend again academic and non-academic events, communicate live, discuss and exchange ideas and news, and, finally, see each other’s faces. I dare say that we have learned the lessons of the crisis. We are ready to respond faster, to share the available data, to ensure openness of information, to demonstrate leadership when the leadership is needed by our state", Prof R. Petrauskas says.

This year, 1,540 first-year students of master's degree and professional pedagogical studies were admitted to study at the country's largest higher education institution, while a total of 1,470 students were admitted last year. From 1540 of those admitted, the state-funded study places amount to 1,200.

According to the number of the programmes ranked as the first choice during the main admittance, the top ten of the most popular state-funded Master's studies include International Relations and Diplomacy, School Pedagogy, Clinical Psychology, Marketing and Integrated Communication, Human Resource Management, Medical Biology, International Project Management (in English), Finance and Banking, Advanced Practice in Nursing and Health Psychology study programs.

A number of students in Arts Therapy (Drama Therapy), Politics and Media, Informatics, Business Development, Global Business and Economics (in English), Chemistry has increased. Artūras Šaltis, the head of the VU Admission Department, notes that these tendencies are not surprising because the Master's degree studies are important for successful integration into the labour market and wider career opportunities.

This year, VU also introduced a new Master's degree program - Molecular Biotechnology (in English), which has also attracted a great deal of interest as it meets the labour market expectations and educates the highest level specialists.

For Bachelor’s students, the study year will begin on 14 September. All members of the VU community are invited to the discussion festival on 12 September, organized by the VU Student Representation Office, where university professors will outline a wide range of interesting issues from politics to life sciences to the participants.

Although, taking into account the recommendations of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, safety of the VU community and the public in general, the planned traditional opening procession of the VU academic year in the city streets starting from the Independence Square to VU Grand Courtyard has been cancelled, a traditional flag-raising ceremony will take place in the VU Library Courtyard on 14 September at 9.30 am, which will be live broadcasted online.

MIF alumni Marija: IT is one of the most interesting and promising fields of studies

Marija Kairytė Brencienė is a former student of Information Technology study program at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (VU MIF). Currently she is working as a Computer Network Engineer at „Danske Bank“. We talked about her studies and the challenges that are being faced at work.

2020 08 17 Marija Brenciene380x250Why did you choose Information Technology study program?

I chose this program because IT is one of the most promising fields of studies now as it was ten years ago, when I had to decide which way to go after school. If I had to choose again, without doubts I would choose  IT studies again.

These studies were especially important and useful for me because during my  studies I not only had the opportunity to get acquainted with various IT sectors, but also to participate in projects and apply theoretical knowledge into practice.

I also got acquainted with a wide range of topics - programming, databases, web development, computer networks, etc. It helped me to choose an area I enjoyed where I started working before graduating from university and where I still work until now.

You are currently working as a Computer Network Engineer at „Danske Bank“ - what challenges do you face in this job?

My job is very dynamic, every days brings me new challenges and to be able to solve them I need to deepen my knowledge constantly.

Quite often I need to learn and adapt to new technologies, because they are being updated constantly. So the main challenge is how to absorb all the new knowledge and use it properly.

How does your typical day at work look like?

My main goal is to solve and manage various incidents. The problems range from the simplest "customers cannot connect to Danske Bank's WIFI network" to "Danske Bank customers in Denmark cannot connect to e-banking".

In your oppinion, what are your career prospects after graduating the IT program?

I think that the possibilities are endless, as having a wide range of IT knowledge makes it easy to enter the labour market. Knowledge in one area can serve and complement knowledge in another area, thus expanding job opportunities and giving advantage over competitors.

What did the University teach you? Does it benefit you in the activities you are doing today?

The university has taught me not to be afraid to take risks, to set goals, to pursue them and never to give up, no matter how difficult it may seem at first. All this is useful not only at work but also in personal life. At the university, I also learned to study properly, search for information, process and use that information - these are very important skills that I use at work every day.

What advice would you give to future VU MIF students?

I would advise not to be afraid of IT studies - this is one of the most interesting and promising specialty, which opens up a very wide range of career opportunities.

Vilnius University to Offer Free Studies and Scholarships to Belarusian Students

2020 08 21 Vilnius Lights820x546

Vilnius LightsSeeking to express solidarity with the people of Belarus and supporting the democratic aspirations of the citizens of the neighbouring country, Vilnius University (VU) has decided to establish the Grand Duchy of Lithuania scholarships for the most gifted applicants from Belarus. This would enable Belarusian students to study at VU free of charge and be provided with additional financial incentives. VU will also offer the opportunity for Belarusian students who are persecuted for civil and political reasons to transfer their studies to VU.

VU Rector Prof Rimvydas Petrauskas says that this initiative will provide an opportunity for young and motivated people to become VU students and to continue the tradition of the nations and cultures that formed the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

“The history of VU is closely related to the formation of the Belarusian identity as well as the community of Lithuanian and Belarusian nations. Both the university and the city of Vilnius itself have many signs of Belarusian identity. The rectors of Vilnius University are former representatives of famous Grodno relatives – Andriejus Valavičius, Martynas Počobutas-Odlianickis or Jokūbas Hladovickis. The formation of Belarusian identity was significantly influenced by the intelligentsia that lived and worked in Vilnius at the beginning of the 20th century. The Belarusian language and culture, the Belarusian people are part of the history of both Vilnius and the university, and, hopefully, part of the future. Lithuania and Belarus are connected not only by 679 kilometres of common border, but also by approximately the same number of years of history. The common past of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania could be the basis for linking contemporary Lithuanian and Belarusian societies,” Prof R. Petrauskas says.

Belarusian applicants will be able to choose between both bachelor’s and master’s study programmes. All the costs of their studies will be covered by the university, while the most talented students will be paid a monthly grant of EUR 200 in the first year of their studies. Entrants will be able to apply for scholarship until September 14.

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania scholarship will complement Vilnius University’s 450-year scholarship project aimed at encouraging talented young people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue higher education.

Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics Master study programmes:

Financial and Actuarial Mathematics



Modelling and Data Analysis

Software Engineering

Computer Modelling

Vilnius University Is Improving its Position in the Global Rating of the QS World University Rankings

2020 04 08 VU Spring Semester380x250Today, the latest rating of the world's top universities QS World University Ranking 2021 was published, in which Vilnius University (VU) maintains its leading position. Having jumped up by 35 positions, the VU is rated 423 and has been among 500 world's top universities for five years in a row.

The VU enjoys the highest rating in the field of academic reputation. Academic reputation is determined through yearly polls of academic staff, where respondents are asked to name the best higher education establishments in the world. In addition to the academic reputation, the ratio of students and lecturers in faculties and the indicator of foreign lecturers at the university were also improving.

According to VU Rector Prof Rimvydas Petruaskas, steadily growing indicators show that the university is pursuing its goals in a determined manner - it is turning into an open, international organisation, while improving positions presuppose attraction of talents from all over the world.

'Notwithstanding that university ratings cannot be an end in themselves, however they are important for internal self-assessment and international attractiveness. If compared with the last year, our results have improved; we belong to the world's elite of universities. Improving results demonstrate the importance of purpose-oriented and consistent performance, make us visible in a positive light and enable attraction of the most-gifted Lithuanian and foreign talents', stated Prof Petrauskas.

The ratings are established by assessing universities by six criteria: academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, faculty students, international faculty and international students.

The QS World University Rankings is the biggest independent world's university rating established every year since 2004. In the last eight years, the VU went up by 178 positions in it.

VU Alumnus D. Grinvaldas: "MIF has formed a strong approach to the independent learning process"

Darius Grinvaldas is a former student of Finance and Insurance Mathematics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (VU MIF), Vilnius University. We talked about work, studies and the financial sector with VU alumnus, who is now the head of the Risk Management Division of Danske Bank A / S in Lithuania.

2020 05 26 Darius Grinvaldas380x250Promising studies with the most talented students

“I started studying VU MIF finance and insurance mathematics in 2004. It was a really special year for Lithuania, because we became members of the EU. During that period, the rapid and very promising change and growth of the Lithuanian financial sector was already underway. Scandinavian banks and other international financial companies have started to develop and strengthen their organizations in Lithuania, and there was a significant supply of very interesting and attractive job offers,” recalls D. Grinvaldas.

According to the alumnus, not only the chosen field of science was inspiring and promising, but also the surrounding environment: “The specialty of Financial and Insurance Mathematics was almost the most popular (or one of the most popular) study programs. It was appealing to join the most talented and competitive students, who have very bright and promising prospects in the labor market” says the VU MIF alumnus.

Recalling his studies, Grinvaldas says he had very strict but precisely objective profesors. Students ’knowledge was valued with a great deal of responsibility and respect for the learning process. All were judged absolutely objectively and without any preconceptions or sympathies.

“VU MIF has formed a strong approach to the independent learning process. Learning to learn interesting and challenging subjects on your own creates an invaluable skill for a professional career, where development and change are a very natural part of everyday life,” he says.

Communication is also needed at work

As the head of the Risk Management Division of A / S in Lithuania, D. Grinvaldas says that daily work offers many different opportunities, but also poses challenges.

“I have the opportunity to be a leader for team leaders and risk management specialists who develop mathematical credit risk management models. Leadership is a continuous flow of cooperation in a large team, which requires very strong communication and teamwork skills, anticipation of the development of work situations, coordination of employees' interests and attitudes. This requires the use of emotional intelligence every day, listening very strongly and seeing the potential of employees' ideas, unleashing their creativity, encouraging them to take responsibility for the proposed solutions to tasks.

According to the VU alumnus, after university studies, he had to patiently learn these things and understand them independently: “This sometimes happened through many professional mistakes and failures. I believe that this learning is still going on process, it is a really big, but at the same time very interesting challenge, the complexity of which is incomparable with any technical credit risk task,” D. Grinvaldas shares his experience.

The connection with the university was not interrupted

Darius also maintains contact with the university, and is happy to have the opportunity to invite a group of trainees to the Danske Bank Group's risk management unit in Lithuania every year. Last summer, he had the opportunity to attend and listen to bachelor’s thesis defense presentations, which left a very positive impression.

Also, for several years in a row, Danske Bank has been the general sponsor of the Lithuanian Young Mathematicians' Meeting:

"Our organization employs a very large group of VU MIF mathematics graduates and still studying students from bachelor's to doctoral students, as well as two very cool lecturers combine work at university and a bank."

For future students, D. Grinvaldas wishes to enjoy studies, to cooperate, to be active and open to innovations.

“Try to perform as many tasks as possible during your studies, helping each other together, teaching each other and cooperating as closely as possible. I really appreciate and often repeat to my students working in the team prof. habil. dr. V. Paulauskas told us during the lecture that "You will have the whole time of your career to acquire practical knowledge and experience, but what we are trying to learn in the auditorium at the moment, you will not have the opportunity to learn so easily," says VU alumnus D. Grinvaldas.

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