Financing of the infrastructure


Scientific collections

A scientific collection is systematised set of artefacts, items or data media, catalogued at the level of an archival document, which has a lasting scientific value and is mainly used for research purposes. The institution managing the collection is responsible for preserving, developing and making available for research purposes of its scientific collection.

Scientific collections of the same field form a virtual network within Estonia, also known as a national collection. There are 10 national collections in Estonia. The national collections in the field of humanities include collections of archaeology, the Estonian language, cultural history, folklore and rare books. The collections of botany, geology, microbiology, mycology and zoology belong to the national collections in the field of natural science.

The Ministry of Education and Research is advised by a body of experts composed of representatives of all national collections on matters concerning scientific collections. The Expert Council assesses the applications for funding of scientific collections, makes proposals for funding collections, carries out the assessment of collections and advises the Ministry on other matters.

Regular assessment of scientific collections is carried out once every five years to assess the activities of the collections and their compliance with the requirements. The next regular assessment will take place in 2016. Meanwhile, collections can apply for special assessment, which is carried out following the same principles. Collections that have passed regular or special assessment with positive results can apply for funding from the Ministry of Education and Research.

The requirements for scientific collections, conditions for applying for funding as well as procedures for funding decisions and are established by  a regulation of the Minister of Education and Research. The Ministry supports the preservation, development and ensuring accessibility to scientific collections with around 765,000 euros a year.

Funding in 2014, broken down by national collections

Research libraries

A research library is a library which is responsible for the collection, preservation and processing of scientific information and making such information available by providing public services.

Research libraries in 2017-2021:

The requirements for research libraries, conditions and procedure of the designation of a research library are established by a regulation of the Ministry of Education and Research. Applications are reviewed and proposals for designating a research library are made to the Ministry of Education and Research by the commission for the designation of research libraries and archives libraries.

The Minister of Education and Research is advised on the matters related to research libraries by the Research Libraries Council whose tasks include:

  • discussing the matters related to the activities of research libraries and making suggestions to the Ministry of Education and Research;
  • making proposals for coordinating the activities of research library to the Ministry of Education and Research;
  • preparing collection development plans, short and long term development plans and joint projects for research libraries.

The Organisation of Research and Development Act lays down the general principle of financing research libraries – the acquisition of scientific information for research libraries under a uniform collection development plan. A uniform collection development plan for research libraries is prepared and introduced to the Ministry of Education and Research by research libraries annually by 1st of November.

The financing of the acquisition of scientific information can be applied for by research libraries designated by the Ministry of Education and Research. The funds allocated for the acquisition of scientific information will be used for:

  • running and subsequent collection of publications in order to form collections that meet the needs of R&D;
  • acquisition of electronic scientific information, including the purchase of licenses for databases;
  • collecting national publications for scientific purposes.

Research libraries have the right to apply for funding for joint procurement of electronic scientific information.

Research infrastructure roadmap

The research infrastructure roadmap is a long-term planning tool, implemented with a 10-20 years perspective, which contains a list of infrastructure objects of national importance that are new or require modernisation. The roadmap is updated regularly (every 3 years) to take into account the changing needs and possibilities. Including infrastructure object in the list of the roadmap is not a decision of funding nor does it rank objects in the order of importance; it is a starting point for further investment decisions.

The first Estonian research infrastructure roadmap was completed in 2010. In 2013, the process of updating the list of objects on the roadmap began, within which the objects that were included in the roadmap in 2010 and the potential of new objects were assessed and the list of objects on the roadmap is updated.

Research infrastructure is defined as the conditions and resources as well as the associated services that the research community needs for the effective development of R&D at the EU level as well as for the transfer, exchange and preservation of knowledge. A research infrastructure is comprised of facilities, equipment, collections, archives and structured information, allowing for the use of ICT infrastructures and other unique forms of infrastructure for research purposes. The infrastructures that are included in the roadmap can be physical objects, service providers or memberships in international organisations. They can be single-sited (such as a telescope, synchrotron), distributed structures (such as a network of biobanks), which may have a central/common service, or virtual (databases, archives, etc.), which can be accessed from the work place of the end user.

The Research Infrastructure Commission established by the Estonian Research Council advises the Council on the matters concerning the research infrastructure roadmap, participates in the updating process of of the roadmap, analyses the development of the infrastructure objects and makes proposals for updating the roadmap.

List of the Estonian Research Infrastructures Roadmap objects

Core infrastructure support

A core infrastructure is an infrastructure managed by a research and development institution, which has been established in the public interests for the purpose of pursuing research themes, and can be used by other persons on the terms and conditions established by the owner institution. A core infrastructure includes high-class research equipment or technologies and highly qualified workforce; its main purpose is to assist researchers and R&D teams  and business sectors by making available its expertise and analytical resources.

The list of core infrastructures is approved by a directive of the Management Board of the Estonian Research Council. An application for core infrastructure support is submitted together with an application for an institutional research grant.

Infrastructure costs

The infrastructure costs of a public R&D institution are covered from the state budget through the Ministry responsible for the area of government  of which the R&D institute belongs to. The infrastructure costs of an R&D institution of a local government are covered from the budget of the municipality or town.

Support for the infrastructure costs of an R&D institution acting as a legal person governed by public law or as an institution of such legal person is provided by the Ministry of Education and Research.

The infrastructure costs of institutions that do not pursue any continuous research themes funded by targeted financing are covered from institutional research funding (overhead costs, including the costs of maintaining the infrastructure and depreciation costs).

The infrastructure costs of an R&D institution acting as a legal person governed by private law are covered by that legal person. An R&D institution acting as a legal person governed by private law can receive support to cover infrastructure expenses from the state budget or the budget of a municipality or town.


Last updated: 5 May 2017