No. 40

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Research and Funding

11 December 2019

Focus

RiTo No. 40, 2019

  • Jaak Aaviksoo

    Member of the Academy of Sciences, Rector of Tallinn University of Technology

The article analyses aspect of research funding in Estonia.

The central premise is the understanding that (academic) research cannot be viewed separately from the comprehensive research, development and innovation system TAI, which stands on three separate pillars. The historical background explains why TAI is so focused on academic research, and which are the differences between the existing TAI strategy in Estonia and the EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. A conclusion is drawn that based on the strengths of academic research in Estonia, we should make efforts to strengthen the other components of the TAI system as well, taking lead from the central objective set out in the current TAI strategy: “to create favourable conditions for increased productivity and improved standard of living, good education and culture, Estonia’s survival and development”.
This objective could be achieved if we strengthen not only the capability of the Ministry of Education and Research, but also that of other ministries, particularly the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, in managing the national TAI system; consequently, the role and responsibilities of the different partners should be reviewed.
Five proposals are formulated in the conclusions:

  1. We need to move from funding research to ensuring the functioning of the comprehensive TAI system in cooperation between different partners;
  2.  The central challenge concerns developing the innovation capability of the private sector;
  3. Results can be achieved through political choices and goal-setting;
  4. Researchers need clarity about objectives and a sense of security; and
  5. All this requires targeted funding.

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