Preventing the risk of corruption

On this page, we will shortly gather information about preventing the risk of corruption.

To improve its employees’ awareness and help them prevent conflicts of interest and risk of corruption, the university has compiled Guidelines on preventing, identifying and solving conflicts of interest and corruption-prone situations.

Based on clause 11 (3) 4) of the Anti-corruption Act, the senate of the University of Tartu has provided in clause 8 of the Regulations for secret votes that if a decision is made in a decision-making body and the secret vote decides a matter regarding a person connected with a member of the decision-making body as defined in the Anti-corruption Act, the member of the decision-making body has a right to remove him- or herself from the vote and the discussion of the matter The decision-making bodies in which this principle is followed are the university senate and councils of faculties, institutes, colleges and university institutions. Different principles have been taken into account when setting up decision-making bodies of the university, the most important of which are the representation of academic staff, professional and scientific expertise and administrative responsibilities. If all persons who are connected to the person who is currently subject to a decision (e.g. election to a position) within the meaning of the Anti-corruption Act are excluded from the decision-making body, the decision-making body may lose its substantive competence to make that decision at all. Therefore, all connected persons are not automatically removed from the decision-making body but are given the right to be removed from the decision making if they feel unable to remain impartial when making a decision.

On 10 July 2020, the University of Tartu and Apromore Pty Ltd concluded a research and development agreement (volume in the first year 132,400.80 euros), executed by Professor of Information Systems of the UT Institute of Computer Science Marlon Dumas. Prof. Dumas has declared his conflict of interests due to participation in the company contracting the development work. During the development project, the architecture and data mining algorithms of the Apromore business process analysis platform will be studied, planned and developed further. Prof. Dumas has the specific knowledge of these topics from the previous research cooperation with the University of Melbourne, of which Apromore Pyt Ltd is a spin-off. The University of Tartu can engage in the specific development of the Apromore platform only in cooperation with the aforementioned company, as the competitors of Apromore use their own solutions in which the Apromore-specific knowledge of prof. Dumas cannot be applied. Prof. Dumas leads the given field of research at the University of Tartu and is the only one to have the required level of knowledge about the architecture and data mining algorithms of Apromore. During the cooperation project, at least one student will have the opportunity to get the experience of developing the Apromore platform and participating in an industrial project.  In addition, it is important to note that the previous joint research related to Apromore by Marlon Dumas and the researchers of the University of Melbourne can be further developed and commercialised only in cooperation with the spin-off company Apromore Pyt Ltd.

The University of Tartu has a cooperation agreement with BC Platforms AG, the purpose of which is to use the company’s data processing platform to process data from the UT Estonian Biobank to cooperate with other research and development partners. The agreement stipulates, among other things, that Professor Tõnu Esko represents the University of Tartu in the research council of BC Platforms and is personally remunerated for it. PC Platforms pays Tõnu Esko a monthly fee of 500 euros for participation in the research council and, starting from his election as chair of the research council in January 2020, annual options for acquiring shares in the company, totalling 0.05% of the share capital. Tõnu Esko uses the data processing platform of BC Platforms for research at the University of Tartu, but he has no direct decision-making power on whether to continue cooperation with the company, because the agreement has been signed and can be changed by the vice rector for development on the proposal of the director of the Institute of Genomics. Tõnu Esko’s role in the university is to make recommendations, based on his expertise, on which partners found through the BC Platforms data processing platform the university should cooperate with. The income of BC Platforms does not depend on the the number of partners found on the platform the university cooperates with. The business model of BC Platforms is to sell data processing platform licenses to business partners and this cannot be influenced by Prof Esko’s activities at the university. The University of Tartu is not bound to the BC Platforms data processing platform when using the Estonian Biobank for research cooperation, i.e. there are no restrictions to cooperate with companies that have not obtained a licence to use BC Platforms. 

In accordance with clause 11.2 of the Regulations for Evaluation of Academic Staff, the Evaluation Committee bases its assessment, inter alia, on the assessment of the employee’s professional performance by the head of structural unit and immediate supervisor. If the latter is related to the evaluated employee, the University of Tartu does not apply the restriction on activities on the basis of clause 11(3)(4) of the Anti-corruption Act, as the replacement of the official is impossible due to lack of persons who comply with the requirements set for the substitute.

In the above circumstances, the following assessments have been made:

- Enn Lust's assessment of Karmen Lust's performance, 21 April 2022.

The University of Tartu and MTÜ Prof. Dr. Theda Rehbocki Susimetsa Philosophicum (registry code 80591506), with UT Professor Margit Sutrop as its management board member, cooperate in teaching, research and development in the field of philosophy and ethics. In succession proceedings, the non-profit association has acquired two properties from Theda Rehbock, a citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany and a visiting professor of the University of Tartu: Ilvese (registered immovable number 2542806) and Susi (registered immovable number 2457906), both in Laadi village, Häädemeeste rural municipality, Pärnu county.  

MTÜ Prof. Dr. Theda Rehbocki Susimetsa Philosophicum allows UT researchers and students to use the premises belonging to the association for organising seminars and creative work and its philosophy and ethics library for research. MTÜ Prof. Dr. Theda Rehbocki Susimetsa Philosophicum acts exclusively and directly for charitable purposes. The aim of the association is to promote research, development and culture. The statutory objective is implemented in particular by: 

  • running the philosophy centre "Prof. Dr. Theda Rehbocki Susimetsa Philosophicum" through the organisation of scientific events and research projects, seminars, workshops, cultural events, etc. to introduce, study and develop the philosophy and research of Prof. Dr. Theda Rehbock; 
  • creating and maintaining conditions for philosophical thought and research on the Ilvese and Susi properties, located in Laadi village, Häädemeeste rural municipality; 
  • allocating research grants and targeted scholarships for research related to the research topics of Prof. Dr. Theda Rehbock. 

To achieve all these goals, the association needs to cooperate with the University of Tartu Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics and the University of Tartu Centre for Ethics, as this is where the competence in philosophy and ethics in Estonia is concentrated. MTÜ Prof. Dr. Theda Rehbocki Susimetsa Philosophicum is also home to Prof. Theda Rehbock's large specialised philosophy and ethics library, which is essential for the research of UT philosophers and ethicists as well as students and doctoral students.  

Prof. Margit Sutrop is Professor of Practical Philosophy and Head of the Centre for Ethics at the University of Tartu. As the head of her field, she is responsible for the development of good research in practical philosophy and ethics, teaching and ethical discourse throughout Estonia, as well as for international cooperation in the field of practical philosophy and ethics. As the management board member of MTÜ Prof. Dr. Theda Rehbocki Susimetsa Philosophicum, Prof. Sutrop is tasked with creating and maintaining the necessary conditions for philosophical thought and research in Susimetsa, organising the study and presentation of the philosophical heritage of Prof. Dr. Theda Rehbock, and developing Estonian-German cooperation projects and cultural relations. Approval for the activities of the association has been given by the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, the rector of the University of Tartu, cooperation partners from the University of Tübingen and the University of Konstanz. 

The University of Tartu concludes rental agreements with MTÜ Prof. Dr. Theda Rehbocki Susimetsa Philosophicum for organising seminars, smaller conferences, writing camps and other research and creative activities. Prof. Margit Sutrop does not sign these agreements on behalf of the university and does not decide on the terms and conditions of the agreements on behalf of the university.