Rector Toomas Asser stressed the importance of funding for basic research at a panel organised by the European Commission

Rector Toomas Asser, invited by the European Commission, took part in the European Week of Regions and Cities, the largest annual event on cohesion policy. On 10 October, Asser was one of the speakers in the high-level thematic session, "Retaining talent for regional growth".

The discussion aimed to identify ways to recruit and retain talent to support regional development and make the best use of European funding. Based on the example of the University of Tartu Delta centre, Asser spoke about how the effective use of Structural Funds has allowed to create an attractive environment for talented students and researchers, supporting the development of teaching and research and the internationalisation of the university. As a result, the university's cooperation with businesses has received a boost, positively impacting the development of the region.

The rector also drew attention to the fact that the decrease in support for basic research and research infrastructure development in the Structural Funds will hamper the creation of a modern working environment in the future, which, in turn, will hinder attracting and retaining top-level researchers. "We need to consistently draw the European Commission's attention to the fact that the conditions for the new period of the Structural Funds are problematic, as support for basic research and infrastructure has fallen. A common goal of European universities is to make Structural Funds funding more flexible for research and development, as too restrictive funding conditions will deter, rather than attract talent," said the rector. According to Asser, the City of Tartu and the University of Tartu received much positive attention, and he invited the participants to visit Tartu as the European Capital of Culture 2024.

Besides the rector of the University of Tartu, the speakers of the thematic session included Dubravka Šuica, European Commission's Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Anna Lisa Boni, Deputy Mayor of the City of Bologna, Virginia Marco Cárcel, Director-General for European Affairs of the Regional Government of Castile-La Mancha, and Christian Schlette, Professor of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute.

This year’s European Week of Regions and Cities, the largest annual event on cohesion policy, takes place in Brussels from 9 to 12 October. Participants discuss common challenges faced by Europe's regions and cities and explore possible solutions.


Watch the recording of the discussion:

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