Professor Aivaras Kareiva

One of the more compelling aspects of the international sol-gel community is our geographical diversity, with col-leagues from 36 countries having contributed to10 or more publications in JSST alone during the past five years from 2017. A noteworthy feature of this statistic is the fact that the work of some of our smaller regional sol -gel community is being cited at a significantly higher rate than the average for JSST, with a particular example being Lithuania (with 7.3 cites per paper published since 2017, compared to the global JSST average of 5.2 cites). This month, we shine the spotlight on one of our colleagues from Lithuania, Professor Aivaras Kareiva.

“I was born in Lithuania in 1960 during the era in which my country was part of the Soviet Union. I defended my PhD in Analytical Chemistry, which was undertaken at Lithuania’s Vilnius University (the oldest University in the Baltic States, founded in 1579), in Russian in Moscow. Since then, I have spent my entire post-PhD career at Vilnius Univer-sity, where I was promoted to Full Professor in 1998. 

During my first research internship at Helsinki University of Technology in 1993, I worked with Professor Lauri Niinistö, who introduced me to the scientific world of sol-gel chemistry, for which I am very grateful to him. This was followed by both short– and longer-term research postings from 1994-1999 at Stockholm University (Sweden), Harvard and Rice Universities (USA), Hasselt University (Belgium) and the University of Saarland (Germany). In 1998, we formed our sol-gel chemistry group at Vilnius University. Since then, the group has “prepared” 40 PhDs and 6 Post-docs who have used the sol-gel method to synthesize superconductors, optical and magnetic materials, bioceramic materials, and nanostructured materials. The sol-gel method has also been used successfully to preserve cultural heritage.

Of course, the most important achievement of our group is our very active cooperation with foreign partners. We have worked together for many years with scientists from the University of Tuebingen (Germany), Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic), Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia), Muenster University of Applied Sciences (Germany), University of Cologne (Germany), Kyushu University (Japan), University of Venice (Italy), University of Strasbourg (France), National Taipei University of Technology (Taiwan), University of Latvia, Georgetown University (USA) and others. Together with around 150 co-authors from over 35 countries, we have now published more than 320 scientific articles and participated in many research projects funded by grants and contracts. I am very glad that I have had the opportunity to host several students and trainees from Clausthal Technical University (Germany), Abant Izzet Baysal University (Turkey), National Taipei University of Technology (Taiwan), Institute of Surface Chemistry NAS of Ukraine, Muenster University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Riga Technical University (Latvia), University of Aveiro (Portugal), University of Maribor (Slovenia), University of Latvia, Dumlupinar University (Turkey) and Kanagawa University (Japan).

In addition to scientific work, I have also held several administrative positions at Vilnius University. Apart from my role as Head of the Department of General and Inorganic Chemistry (since 1998), I was elected as Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry (2006-2016), and from 2017 I have served as Director of the University’s Institute of Chemistry. I am a Member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences and Deputy Editor of the Lithuanian Journal “Chemija” (Chemistry). I received five Vilnius University Rector’s Research Awards (2003, 2007, 2011, 2016, 2020), two Lithuanian Republic Research Awards (2004, 2020), Lithuanian State Last Degree Fellowship (2007-2008), and the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences Juozas Matulis Award (2009). It was a particular privilege for me to be The Honorary International Chair Professor at National Taipei University of Technology, Taiwan (2012-2014); laureate of the Medal SAPIENTI SAT of the Association and Chapter of A. Sniadecki, K. Olszewski and Z. Wrublewski (Poland) (2016); and to be awarded the Medal of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences (2021)”.