Research funding

The main instruments of the Estonian R&D funding system are institutional research funding and personal research funding. Institutional research funding is used to finance high-level research and development (R&D) and related activities (research topics) of research and development institutions . Personal research funding is a contribution to the costs of innovative or high-risk research projects carried out by researchers or small research groups.

Personal research funding

A personal research funding is a contribution towards the costs of innovative or high-risk research projects carried out by researchers or small research groups. Personal research funding is applied for in a public competition on the conditions and pursuant to the procedure established by the Estonian Research Council and approved by the Ministry of Education and Research. Funds allocated for personal research funding are allocated to the Estonian Research Council through the budget of the Ministry of Education and Research. The Estonian Research Council organises the assessment of applications for personal research funding and the assessment is carried out by the Evaluation Committee of the Estonian Research Council with the help of foreign experts.

Further information is available at the Estonian Research Council home page

Institutional research funding

An institutional research funding is allocated for financing high-level research and development, and related activities (research topics) of a research and development  institution. The aim is to ensure the consistency of the research and development of an R&D institution, and to upgrade, supplement and maintain the infrastructure necessary for this purpose. Institutional research funding is provided from the state budget by the directive of the Minister of Education and Research.

Institutional research funding can be applied for by research and development institutions whose science and development activities have received regular positive evaluation in at least one research field as of the application date. The evaluation of the institutional research funding applications is organised by the Estonian Research Council and carried out by the Evaluation Committee of the Estonian Research Council with the help of foreign experts. The amount of annual institutional funding is established by a directive of the Minister of Education and Research on the recommendation by the Estonian Research Council.

A core infrastructure is an infrastructure belonging to a research and development institution, which was established in the public interests for the purpose of pursuing research themes and which can be used by other persons on the terms and conditions established by the research and development institution. An application for core infrastructure support is submitted together with an application for an institutional research funding.

Further information about applying for institutional research funding is available at the Estonian Research Council’s home page

Statistics about Estonian research in 2016

 

 

Support from Structural Funds

Support from Structural Funds during period 2014-2020 means more support to increase quality in research and studies, applied research as well as internal and external collaboration. Main aim is strengthening the international competitiveness and highest possible quality of research, improving performance, intensifying national and international research cooperation between institutions and increasing the international impact of Estonian research.

Estonian research and higher education receives support about 359 million euros from Structural Funds during period 2014-2020. Biggest measure is program ASTRA with its budget of 129 million euros. All programs are based on Estonian Research and Development and Innovation Strategy.

ASTRA

An institutional package measure for R&D institutions and higher education institutions. Under the package, support will be provided for:
  • institutions’ comprehensive development plans that provide for structural changes and mergers in higher education and R&D institutions;
  • ​the strengthening of responsibility areas and areas stipulated in their statutes as well as the development of the quality of the relevant academic and research activities (stairway to excellence);
  • increasing the capacity of applied research;
  • the development of services with a view to extending cooperation with the business sector;
  • knowledge and technology transfer;
  • the modernisation and making available of teaching and research equipment for the purpose of cooperation with the business sector;
  • the supporting of the activities of doctoral schools (on the condition that cooperation between institutions is ensured);
  • the development of international and joint curricula, and other activities needed for the strategic development of the institutions.
  • The construction of buildings will be supported in a very few justified cases (considering development needs in smart specialisation growth areas and the responsibility areas of higher education). All infrastructure investments will be handled in conjunction with the development of the quality of research and teaching activities and human resource development activities.
  • Activities that support doctoral studies will take into account the principles of European innovative doctoral studies.
  • The package measure will support the implementation of the higher education reform and the reform programmes of research arrangements and other related activities.

Budget: 129 411 765 € from which 122 941 176 € is financial contribution.

Contact: Ministry of Education and Research, Pille Pikker, pille.pikker@hm.ee, 7350 215. Archimedes Foundation, Kadrin Kergand, kadrin.kergand@archimedes.ee, 7300804.

Centres of excellence

Support for centres of excellence with a view to strengthening the international competitiveness and highest possible quality of research (stairway to excellence), improving performance, ensuring future generations of researchers, intensifying national and international research cooperation between institutions and increasing the international impact of Estonian research.
A centre of excellence consists of one or more internationally high-level research teams that have a clear set of common research objectives and work under the same management. A centre of excellence may be formed from the research teams of one or several R&D institutions (incl. researchers working in the private sector). The aim of centres of excellence is to support high-level research, thus creating preconditions for the improved cooperation and competitiveness of Estonian research in the European Research Area and to increase the participation and success of Estonia in the EU research framework programme Horizon 2020.
Budget: 41 176 471 € from which 39 117 647 € is financial contribution.
Contact: Ministry of Education and Research, Pille Pikker, pille.pikker@hm.ee, 7350 215. Archimedes Foundation, Kristel Meesak, kristel.meesak@archimedes.ee, 730 0501.

Support for research infrastructure

Support for research infrastructure of national importance on the basis of a roadmap in order to, inter alia, provide Estonian R&D institutions and enterprises with access to and opportunities for participation in the research infrastructure of the ESFRI Roadmap and other international research infrastructure, considering the needs of smart specialisation. It is also important to develop national research infrastructure and to open it up to other research institutions, foreign partners and enterprises.
Research infrastructure includes:
  • conditions, resources and related services required by researchers in order to develop efficient frontier research on the EU level and to transfer, exchange and collect knowledge.
  • basic equipment, apparatuses, collections, archives and structured information, the availability of ICT infrastructure and other unique or specific research infrastructure (incl. distributed and electronic infrastructure).
Investments are planned on the basis of the national research infrastructure roadmap, which is a long-term planning tool that includes a list of nationally important components of research infrastructure that need to be constructed or modernised and Estonia’s participation in international research infrastructure.
Budget: 30 923 147 € from which 29 376 990 € is financial contribution.

Contact: Ministry of Education and Research, Toivo Räim, toivo.raim@hm.ee, 7350 125. Archimedes Foundation, Kristel Meesak, kristel.meesak@archimedes.ee, 730 0501.

Mobilitas+ and DORA+

Support for internationalisation, mobility and future generations in research and higher education. This includes mobility support for students, teachers and researchers (to foster both cross-border and cross-sectoral cooperation and to support studies). In addition, doctoral studies and post-doctoral fellows will be supported in cooperation with business and public sector institutions. Furthermore, support will be given to bringing leading researchers and their research teams to Estonia, conditions will be created for fast mobility and recruitment procedures will be open, transparent and skill-based. Where possible and necessary, support will be provided for conducting research in Estonia proposed by those who have achieved high places in international high-level competitions (incl. e.g. ERC) but whose research grant applications have not received funding.
Support will also be provided for the participation of Estonia in the programme-based initiatives of the European Research Area, the Innovation Union and Horizon 2020 as well as in other partnerships; the creation of prerequisites for the implementation and adoption of these initiatives and partnerships in Estonia (incl. ERA Chair, teaming-twinning, ERA-NET, JPI, JTI, Art. 185 and 187 partnerships and the Knowledge and Innovation Communities of the EIT); and international marketing of research and higher education.
Internationalisation will be supported with a view to achieving synergy between the EU Funds and Horizon 2020 measures, incl. using the COFUND scheme options (e.g. for mobility schemes). It is important to take all cooperation opportunities offered by international research organisations and networks to Estonian R&D institutions and enterprises. Also, it is planned to support regional research cooperation in the Baltic and Nordic region (incl. for the purpose of achieving the objectives of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the agreement on research and higher education signed between the Ministers of Education and Research of the Baltic States in 2012). The development of international research cooperation with third countries (incl. Asian and Eastern Partnership countries) will follow the EU’s priorities and the development needs of Estonia.
Budget of Dora Plus:  22 567 790 €  from which 22 017 790 € is financial contribution.
Contact of Dora Plus: Ministry of Education and Research, Allan Padar, allan.padar@hm.ee, 7350 070. Archimedes Foundation, Raul Ranne, raul.ranne@archimedes.ee, 697 9232.
Budget of Mobilitas Plus: 35 373 770 €  from which 33 026 691 € is financial contribution.

Contact of Mobilitas Plus: Ministry of Education and Research, Mariann Saaliste, mariann.saaliste@hm.ee, 7350 316. Estonian Research Council, Oskar Otsus, oskar.otsus@etag.ee, 731 7350.

TEAME+ and TEEME+

Popularisation of research among young people and in society as a whole. To make research careers more popular in particular in the areas of smart specialisation relevant for companies and to increase the share of people who receive a degree in natural, technological and exact sciences (NTES), the work and occupation of researcher need to be promoted through the media and events, to engage more companies in the promotion of research and NTES specialties and to develop attractive and modern NTES content in general and hobby education. Inter alia, support will be given to the development of research communication, cooperation with research institutions and media organisations and production of attractive research broadcasts for young people and society (using the opportunities offered by cross media). Furthermore, support will be given for the development of attractive and modern NTES content for general and hobby education, as well as for improvement of the quality and availability of career information in the area of NTES in cooperation with enterprises. Support will be provided for systematic events, series of events and other initiatives that promote research (focusing, in particular, on smart specialisation areas relevant for companies).
The main target groups of interventions are school pupils and students, as well as public sector R&D institutions, universities, other higher education institutions, researchers, teaching staff, enterprises, research centres, media partners, general education schools and hobby schools and groups.
Budget of Teame+: 3 205 881 €  from which 3 187 881 € is financial contribution.
Budget of Teeme+: 1 500 001 €  from which 1 282 707 € is financial contribution.

Contact: Ministry of Education and Research, Pille Pikker, pille.pikker@hm.ee, 7350 215. Estonian Research Council, Margit Meiesaar, margit.meiesaar@etag.ee, 7300 339.

Support for smart specialisation growth areas

With a view to better targeting of resources and ensuring flexibility, a comprehensive programme for applied research in growth areas will be created in support of smart specialisation, which will provide for the necessary measures to support the research. Based on the analysis of the Development Fund, the RD&I Strategy 2014–2020 and the Entrepreneurial Growth Strategy 2014–2020 specify the growth areas where enterprises have higher-than-average potential for growth and opportunities to achieve a competitive advantage through investment in R&D.
Support will be provided for the cooperation of universities and R&D institutions with enterprises which aims at the development of high value-added products and services and for the conduct of applied research in the growth areas. Financing will be provided to research institutions, universities and institutions of professional higher education for conducting research and product development needed by economic operators. The programme’s main target groups include R&D institutions, enterprises, higher education institutions and other partners. In addition, specific measures may be taken to support growth areas which will be designed as special solutions to the needs of the growth areas (e.g. the ICT Academy and similar initiatives).
Budget of programme for applied research in growth areas: 41 586 466 € from which 26 586 466 € is financial contribution and enterprises own contribution  is 15 000 000 €.
Budget of grants for applied research in growth areas: 25 269 320 €.
Contact of programme for applied research in growth areas: Ministry of Education and Research, Ene Kadastik,  ene.kadastik@hm.ee, 7350 236.  Estonian Research Council, Viktor Muuli, viktor.muuli@etag.ee, 7300 325.
Contact of grants for applied research in growth areas: Ministry of Education and Research, Sigrid Vaher, sigrid.vaher@hm.ee, 735 0263. Archimedes Foundation, Raul Ranne, raul.ranne@archimedes.ee, 697 9232.

RITA

Addressing societal socio-economic challenges through R&D
A programme will be developed to incentivise addressing societal challenges through supporting applied research. The aim of the programme is to stimulate usage of research results in solving socio-economic problems and to build up competences and a systematic well-coordinated approach to the commissioning of applied research (incl. areas of social innovation, eco-innovation, public service applications, demand stimulation, etc.) for corresponding policy fields of Estonia.
Where necessary, participation of Estonia in EU and ERA research initiatives in addressing grand challenges will be supported. The interventions will be fully in line with RIS3 strategic framework. The activities that address socio-economic challenges will be yearly discussed by the Estonian Research and Development Council, securing their full compliance with RIS3 strategic framework. The topics for applied research will be developed by the bodies responsible for the corresponding policy fields. Activities include funding applied research, improving sectoral R&D policy arrangements; supporting the network of research coordinators in responsible bodies; training; improving policy analysis and monitoring, and developing relevant databases. Where necessary, support will be given for pilot and test activities to improve design and implementation of new support measures. The target groups are R&D institutions, higher education institutions, ministries, state agencies, enterprises and other partners.
Budget: 28 063 051 € from which  25 163 051 € is financial contribution.

Contact: Ministry of Education and Research, Ene Kadastik,  ene.kadastik@hm.ee, 7350 236.  Estonian Research Council, Liina Eek, liina.eek@etag.ee, 7317 383.

 

Last updated: 12 May 2017