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
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.
- 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.
Centres of excellence
Support for research infrastructure
- 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).
Mobilitas+ and DORA+
TEAME+ and TEEME+
Support for smart specialisation growth areas