Base funding and centres of excellence

Base funding

Base funding means financing of R&D institutions for the purpose of attaining their strategic development objectives, including co-financing national and foreign projects and opening up new research directions and investing in the infrastructure. Base funding is provided to R&D institutions that have received a regular positive evaluation from the state budget via the budget of the Ministry of Education and Research.

Criteria of the base funding

95% of the funds allocated for that purpose in the state budget will be provided to applicants based on the results of their R&D activities carried out in the three years’ period prior to submitting the source data based on the following criteria:

  • the number of high-level publications in internationally recognised journals (i.e. articles that have been indexed in the Thomson Reuters Web of Science database (excluding  collections indexed by the Thomson Reuters ISI Proceedings) and/or articles that are included in categories A and B of the European Reference Index for the Humanities(ERIH), compiled by the European Science Foundation), the numbers of high-level level scientific monographs and their chapters as well as the number of patents and patent applications filed on behalf of R&D institutions (50%);
  • the amount of funding allocated for R&D (grants and contracts directly related to R&D activities; income from licencing and patents) based on financial reports (40%);
  • the institutions’ participation in PhD studies (10%).

5% of the amounts provided in the state budget for base funding are allocated for additional support to research of national importance.

Base funding encourages initiative and increases the accountability of R&D institutions in planning their activities It also enables R&D institutions better focus on their core activities and achieve better results. Base funding also helps to maintain financial stability and gives confidence to research institutions.

Centres of excellence in research

A centre of excellence in research is a consortium of several research groups internationally recognised in their field of research. The goal of centres of excellence is to improve the quality and efficiency of scientific research through cooperation between research groups. The objective of the measure “Development of centres of excellence in research”, which is funded from the European Structural Funds in the period of 2008-2015, is to create the pre-conditions for increasing the competitiveness and cooperation capacity of Estonian research activities in the European Research Area.

The measure of centres of excellence is implemented within the framework of the priority field “Improving the competitiveness of Estonian R&D activities through the research programmes and modernisation of higher education and R&D institutions” of the Operational Programme for the Development of Economic Environment. The measure is designed to improve the level and efficiency of research activities by harnessing the synergy arising from cooperation between thematically close top research units that complement each other.

Centres of excellence in research receive support from the European Regional Development Fund. The amount provided in the programme period of 2007-2015 is about 44.74 million euros. The maximum amount of funding provided to a project was 7.67 million euros with a minimum of national co-financing requirement of 5%.

The activities to be funded under the measure include research and development directly related to a centre of excellence, the acquisition of  infrastructure and equipment,  visits or work assignments carried out in other institutions, training, mobility of researchers, national and international cooperation relating to centres of excellence, the development and testing of innovative ideas, dissemination of information and popularisation of research findings.

Centres of excellence in research in 2008-2015:

Centres of excellence in research added in 2011-2015:


Last updated: 15 January 2015