Science Is Still Useful
There is no reason for Estonia to hang its head in shame: we have excellent researchers whose work is at the highest global level. Estonian researchers are able to contribute to the international world of science, as well as research issues pertaining to life in Estonia. What can set certain limits is our impatience to get everything immediately, without stopping to ask what researchers have to do to earn their living.
We can be proud of being able to conduct top class research in the Estonian language, and of the fact that our national university – the University of Tartu – celebrates its 100th anniversary on 1 December. Its beginning – at the time of the War of Independence – was anything but smooth. It has grown into a strong university with international ties, modern premises, and very wide-ranging curricula. We are marking the occasion by publishing eight articles from colleagues in the University of Tartu on challenges faced in different fields, and the possible solutions to these. The authors include psychologists and economists, but also sociologists, political scientists, educationalists, and legal specialists.
We could not do without a summary of research in Estonia over the last century; this is laid out in the essay of Jüri Engelbrecht and Erki Tammiksaar. Research funding is the topic of the essay of the Rector of the Tallinn University of Technology Jaak Aaviksoo. The President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere reviews the last five years of the Academy, and its outlook for the five years to come.
In order to offer a balanced view of the Estonian higher education landscape, we have included one article from the Tallinn University of Technology and one from the Tallinn University. Professor Alar Konist from the Tallinn University of Technology writes about the history, present, and future of oil shale research in Estonia. This is important because oil shale research started in Estonia around one hundred years ago and is closely linked to the development of national sciences in Estonia. Mihkel Kangur and Martin Küttim from the Institute of Ecology of the Tallinn University have undertaken a study of forest owners in Estonia.
This issue also contains the next instalment by Jüri Adams on how the Riigikogu got its Rules of Procedure. In this second instalment, he focuses on the development of the document during the 7th Riigikogu (November 1992 – February 1995). The issue also contains a study on Estonia’s civil society by Tanel Vallimäe from Praxis Centre for Policy Studies, and a survey of the preparations for the register-based population and housing census in Estonia by Diana Beltadze from Statistics Estonia. Deputy Secretary General of the Riigikogu Antero Habicht presents the recently published Riigikogu Statistics Collection, and Piret Viljamaa gives a traditional overview of international parliamentary news.