Research programmes

Various fields or R&D are supported from the state budget in Estonia, including R&D activities related to the Estonian language, culture and language technology, which are funded under national programmes “Estonian language and cultural memory II (2014-2018)” and “Estonian Language Technology 2018-2027”. Additional funding for research and higher education is provided by external grants. The Ministry of Education and Research, in cooperation with the Estonian Research Council and the Archimedes Foundation is implementing the Norway and EEA Grants programmes.


Norway and EEA Grants

Estonia, the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Iceland and the Principality of Liechtenstein signed an agreement concerning co-operation and the distribution of the Norway and EEA grants in June of 2011. The general purpose of the grants is to contribute to reducing economic and social disparities in Europe and to strengthen bilateral relations between Estonia and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

In 2012, the Ministry of Education and Research, together with the Estonian Research Council, the Archimedes Foundation and foreign partners from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, launched two programmes to support research activities and cooperation in the field of education.

The Norwegian-Estonian Research Cooperation Programme supports joint projects of Estonian and Norwegian research and development institutions in various research areas. The outcomes of funded projects are, for example, high-level research publications, improved research methods and support for career model of researchers by involving doctoral students in the projects. However, co-operation projects may have more far-reaching effects, such as continuing co-operation within other research projects or participating in international research activities. The programme is implemented by the Estonian Research Council.

The Norway and EEA Grants Scholarship Programme supports mobility in higher education and co-operation of upper secondary schools. The supported activities include student placement at green energy enterprises, development of the fields of mathematics, research and technology in general education, mobility for teaching staff etc. The programme is implemented by the Archimedes Foundation.

Besides projects, the development of bilateral relations between Estonia and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein is supported under the programmes, for example, the organisation of seminars, conferences and other events. The total amount of grants awarded under the Norwegian-Estonian research co-operation programme by the donor states is 3 million euros and 1.6 million euros under the Norway and EEA Grants Scholarship programme. Together with the national co-financing, the total budget of the programmes is approximately 3.3 and 1.8 million euros. The programmes run until 2017.

The national programme “Estonian language and cultural memory”

Research in the field of the Estonian language and culture has been supported under government programmes since 1999. The programmes have ensured on-going support for the field and enabled the development and support activities required for research in the Estonian language, literature and folklore to continue. Thus, the programmes have contributed to the general objective enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia: to ensure the preservation of the Estonian people, the Estonian language and the Estonian culture through the ages.

The national programme “Estonian language and cultural memory II (2014-2018)” continues to support research and development activities in the field of the Estonian language and culture.

The programme supports the following activities:

  • The module of Estonian language focuses on dictionaries, the development of databases, digitisation and publication of source materials, popularisation of the language etc.;
  • the module of cultural memory focuses on lexicons, reference books, the development of databases, activities aimed at ensuring cultural continuity etc.;
  • the module of publications in humanities focuses on improving and maintaining the high level of and increasing the international visibility of publications concerning the Estonian language and culture as well as other fields of humanities (e.g. by joining databases).

The Ministry of Education and Research supports these activities by allocating  around 492,000 euros through the programme each year. Grants are awarded annually through open calls.

The national programme “Estonian language technology”

The national programme “Estonian Language Technology 2018-2027”  funds research and development in the field of language technology, from the compilation of language resources to the creation of language technology application prototypes.

The purpose of the program is to ensure that the basic components of Estonian language technology comply with good international standards and that the Estonian language technology can be used by a broader target group. To achieve this purpose, new language technology applications will be created with the help of the program, the quality of existing applications will be increased and implemented in as many areas as possible, in the private, public and third sectors.

The objectives of the program are supported by three actions:

  • the development of basic technologies and resources that have not yet been implemented as part of a system and result in a comprehensive software module or systematized language resource;
  • the introduction of language technology involving the application of technology as part of a system or the creation of a stand-alone application, resulting in the operation of language technology as part of a system or the completion of a language-technology focused application;
  • support for the Center of Estonian Language Resources (CELR), which results in the functioning of the CELR as an active promoter of the introduction of the Estonian language technology centered infrastructure, the information facilitator and language technology.

The Ministry of Education and Research supports the language technology programme by allocating  around 811,000 euros every year. Grants under the programme are awarded annually through open calls.

The language resources and software prototypes developed under the programme constitute intellectual property, which can be used for various purposes (public use, research, business applications) based on different types of licenses. The resources and software developed under the programme are managed and made available by the Centre of Estonian Language Resources.

The Centre of Estonian Language Resources represents the CLARIN centre in Estonia. In 2012, Estonia joined CLARIN (Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure) – an international infrastructure covering language resources and technology. The main objective of CLARIN is to advance research in by making Member States’ language resources and technology (language software, dictionaries, text and speech corpuses, language databases) available to and readily useable by researchers, especially in the field of humanities and social sciences.

European Regional Cooperation Programme „Interreg Baltic Sea Region“

Baltic Science Network (BSN) is an Interreg Baltic Sea Region funded project. Its aim is to provide science and research ministries of the Baltic Sea region states with an overall coordination framework to develop and implement science policy in a macro-regional dimension and to ensure a better representation of macro-regional interests on the EU level.

The BSN project also aims to develop and implement transnational strategies, incentives and programmes to support higher education, research and innovation and to develop R&I excellence in each country individually and jointly in the whole region. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and many international organizations and university networks are involved in the activities of the network.

On November 16, 2017, a transnational seminar of the Baltic Science Network „New tools for spreading excellence and widening participation in research and innovation programmes“ in association with the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU will take place in the Art Museum of Estonia (Kumu), Tallinn. Further information on the event is available here.

Since June 28, 2016 BSN is a Flagship of EUSBSR (PA Education).

The budget of the project is 2,994,500.00 EUR (78.4% worth 2,348,325.00 EUR – ERDF and 21,6% worth 646.175.00 EUR – national funding), of which for Estonia 250 000 EUR (85% worth 212 500 EUR - ERDF and 15% worth 37 500 EUR – national funding).

The duration of the project is March 2016 - February 2019.

Additional information about the project and partners is available on the web-site or from the project coordinator of Estonia:

Liis Karo-Astover
Ministry of Education and Research
+372 735 0304


Last updated: 30 April 2018