University of Tartu has a say in European science policy

On 21 November the opening event of the new network of European research-intensive universities GUILD took place in Brussels. The gathering of 18 leading research-intensive universities is focused on science and innovation policy issues and seizing a leading role in the middle of the economic, cultural and social changes in the society.

The opening event of the network discusses the fact that although the European Union has allocated hundreds of millions of euros to reduce the gap between the research efficiency and the level of innovation in different parts of Europe, yet it has not happened. Rector Volli Kalm explains the contribution of the University of Tartu at the meeting, “There is the question why it has been so and how we should go on. Only few countries and their universities have done better, for example Estonia and Slovenia, and therefore the University of Tartu has considerable experience in what to reform and what to develop and what targets to set.” He adds, “Universities have a very significant role of the intellectual leader in the society and together we can really influence European science policy.”

The University of Tartu was the only one from the Baltic countries to be asked to join this new group; only three universities were invited from all of Eastern Europe. In addition to the GUILD, the University of Tartu was recently also invited to join the Eastern and Central European partnership programme of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) which has 21 European leading universities as its members. Again, the only invitation sent to the Baltics was addressed to the University of Tartu.

Rector Volli Kalm said that both the GUILD and LERU consist of top research universities. “These invitations are a recognition of what people working at the university have achieved, and it all is expressed in different international rankings, as well as in the success of the Horizon 2020 funding applications,” said Kalm.

According to the head of International Cooperation Unit Kristi Kerge, this proves the high level of the University of Tartu as a research university and enables us to stand out among the world’s top universities. “While at first it is important for us to just belong to the organisation, in future this partnership gives us opportunities to participate in larger and more significant research projects and bring more research funding to the university,” Kerge explained.

GUILD is a new organisation of European research-intensive universities, the goals of which include increasing the funding directed into research policy, enhancing the role of the humanities and social sciences besides science and technology, as well as developing business relations and innovation. Read more about the organisation in its website.

Additional information: Kristi Kerge, Head of International Cooperation Unit of the University of Tartu, 529 7677, 737 6123,

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