Estonian researchers’ participation in the EU programme Horizon 2020 continues to grow as Estonian research projects have been awarded a total of more than 72.6 million euros since 2014.
According to the Deputy Secretary General for Higher Education and Research Indrek Reimand, the success of Estonian researchers within Horizon 2020 demonstrates their high level as well as their strong need for achievement. Reimand noted that he is happy to see that businesses are just as active and successful as universities and research institutions. “During Estonia’s presidency in the EU Council that is soon to begin we will endeavour to expand Horizon 2020 over the next period and simplify participation. Nevertheless, we should fund our own research more.”
According to fresh statistics about the Member States’ participation in Horizon 2020 as published by the European Commission, Estonia is doing well among the 28 states.
Estonian researchers have received 1.2 times more research funding per capita than the EU average, and this puts Estonia 12th on the ranking. In terms of revenue from Horizon in relation to the GDP, Estonia exceeds the EU average by more than twice and ranks third. As for the number of full-time researchers involved in Horizon projects, Estonia ranks ninth and exceeds the EU average by 1.3 times.
The University of Tartu and the Tallinn University of Technology are the most successful among Estonian universities and research institutions participating in Horizon 2020. Approximately one-third of the total EU support has been granted to businesses. In particular, SMEs have received grants for implementing their research and development projects. Good examples are Skeleton Technologies that develops supercapacitors, Lingvist Technologies that develops language learning software, and Cybernetica AS that develops IT systems and cybersecurity solutions. The largest current project is the smart house project of Tartu City Government amounting to 8.2 million euros that aims to implement smart energy-efficient solutions across an entire city district.
The European Commission has completed the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation report that will be reviewed by the Member States during Estonia’s EU presidency. This means that Estonia will steer discussions on the amount and methods of funding research in the EU after 2020.
As the presidency, Estonia will focus on the possibilities of increasing the social impact of research to contribute to increased funding of research in the Union. Another goal is to make the Horizon programme simpler and more transparent so that smaller actors and newcomers could enjoy better access to it.
Horizon 2020 is the framework programme for funding research and innovation in the EU. It is the world’s largest research programme with a total value of 75 billion euros.