Nele Tammeaid

University of Tartu to lead the joint doctoral school of Estonian universities

The Ministry of Education and Research has confirmed the University of Tartu as the project leader of the doctoral school for the next six years. By establishing one doctoral school in place of the thirteen former ones, the ministry intends to enhance cooperation between universities in doctoral studies and improve their quality and attractiveness.

The doctoral school is a consortium of universities, which enables them to achieve common goals in promoting doctoral studies. One of its goals is to help doctoral students in Estonia make academic contacts through interdisciplinary and international cooperation and to offer self-development opportunities for students and their supervisors. Considering the small volume of doctoral studies in Estonia and the interdisciplinary nature of the planned activities, the ministry decided to encourage universities to cooperate more by establishing a single doctoral school divided into six sections based on fields of study.

Responsibility for the activities of each section is shared between several partners. The University of Tartu is the coordinator in three of them: natural sciences and agricultural sciences; medicine and health sciences, veterinary medicine; social sciences. The area of responsibility of Tallinn University of Technology covers two sections: mathematics, computer science and informatics; engineering and technology. Tallinn University leads the field of humanities and the arts.

According to Monika Tasa, Development Adviser at the University of Tartu’s Office of Academic Affairs, there are some fundamental differences in the content of activities supported through the new doctoral school. “The doctoral school will focus on interdisciplinary activities: in each study fields-based section, events are intended for the doctoral students or supervisors of at least two universities and are open for participation to the doctoral students and supervisors of all Estonian universities. Furthermore, 10% of the budget is intended for inter-university activities. The structure of the project will make it easier for doctoral students to get what they need for their research from the doctoral school. The new format and governance structure will ensure that the project keeps pace with the overall development of doctoral education,” explained Tasa.

The partners will prepare a more detailed action plan for the doctoral school by the end of March.

Besides the University of Tartu, all other Estonian universities are involved in establishing the doctoral school – Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Estonian Business School, Tallinn University of Technology and Tallinn University. The total project budget until 31 August 2029 is €7 million, to be funded by the Estonian state and the European Social Fund.

Project "Cooperation between universities to promote doctoral studies" (2021-2027.4.04.24-0003) is co-funded by the European Union.

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