Renewed: 28.09.2011, 13:10
Government Communication Unit, 21 September 2011 13:09
Tallinn, Stenbock House, 21 September 2011 – At a meeting today of the Research and Development Council, an advisory body to the Estonian government, members discussed options for funding in the field in a situation where economic developments in the country and in the world generally are harder to forecast. The Minister of Education and Research outlined the changes being implemented in higher education to the council members, who were also given an overview of the use of Structural Fund money allocated to research and development.
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip says that the rise in the amount of money being channelled into research and development from the state budget has encouraged local entrepreneurs to contribute more of their own money.
“Spending on research and development formed 1.42% of GDP in 2009, but initial estimates show that that rose to 1.51% in 2010,” he explained. “In total that constituted almost 206 million euros.”
Minister of Education and Research Jaak Aaviksoo outlined the principles of the planned higher education reforms to the members of the council, which are designed to make the way the system works fairer for students, to make studies more effective, to reduce fragmentation in tertiary education and to place greater responsibility on individual universities and colleges for the quality of their teaching.
Aaviksoo says that all students will share equal status as part of the new approach. “One of the cornerstones here is that in getting into university everyone is on the same footing – no one can ‘buy their way in’,” he said. “Those who post good results won’t have to pay fees, while universities and colleges will have the right to ask those studying part-time to cover part of the cost of their studies. Funding from the state budget will be closely linked to the quality of teaching offered and the results students show for it.” Representatives of the Ministry of Education and Research and of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications provided the members of the council with an overview of the use of EU Structural Funds in the fields of research, development and innovation for the 2007-2013 budgetary period.
The Research and Development Council, which is led by the prime minister, supports the government on issues related to its strategy in the field. Amongst other things, the council submits an annual report to the government on the research and development activities being carried out in Estonia as well as objectives for the forthcoming period, advises the government on the drafting of the state budget in terms of allocations to research and development and expresses its views upon the foundation or restructuring of national research and development institutions.
For more information on the activities of the Research and Development Council, see http://www.valitsus.ee/en/government-office/research-and-development/research-and-development-council
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