Estonian Funding system
The instruments of the Estonian R&D funding system are:
- Institutional financing;
- Baseline funding;
- Research grant funding;
- National R&D programmes;
- Funding of R&D infrastructures.
Institutional financing is decided by the Minister of Education and Research by recommendation of the Estonian Research Council. Both basic and applied research is funded. Evaluated and registered research institutions may apply. The Estonian Research Council organises the peer-reviewing of submitted applications and advises the Minister on opening funding for new research themes and the continuation of funding for previously-approved ones. The funding period for approved research topics is up to 6 years, subject to periodical assessment of progress.
Baseline funding has the purpose of financing R&D institutions on the basis of research quality in order to support the development and initiative research of R&D institutions. Also, it is aimed for co-financing of cooperation projects, international and local, between academia and industry. There are not any specific guidelines for spending making the institutions responsible in this matter. The proportion of baseline funding in overall public financing will increase gradually.
Research grants are awarded to to individuals and research teams on a competitive basis. National funding is organized by the Estonian Research Council. Project applications are evaluated by expert commissions and approved by the Estonian Research Council. Data on institutional financing and research grants is available at the Estonian Research Information System, ETIS.
1) There are national programmes to support activities (that are often in limited domains) related to the Estonian language, culture, history, folklore and language technology. Currently there are two programmes "Estonian language and cultural memory II (2014-2018)" and "Estonian Language Technology 2011-2017"
2) EU-financed national thematic programmes with priority research fields in information and communication technology (ICT), cyper-security, software development, medical technologies and services, efficient use of resources. Three new programmes were launched to support these activities in the following priority research areas: NUTIKAS (applied research in the areas of smart specialisation), RITA (applied research in socioeconomic areas) and Mobilitas Pluss (researchers' mobility).
Through Enterprise Estonia and its sub-units, the Ministry of Economic Affairs finances R&D programmes that involve product development, co-operation with enterprises and entrepreneurs, and technology programmes for priority areas. Enterprise Estonia provides support for new companies as well as supporting the research and development activities of already active companies, NGOs and R&D institutions.