“Organising a meeting of the Research and Development Council immediately after taking office is of great significance for the new government,” Prime Minister Kaja Kallas emphasised in her opening remarks. “The new government highly values the impact of research and innovation on the development of the country and the economy.”
In September, the Research and Development Council recommended to the Government of the Republic to approve five interdisciplinary priority areas where a rapid development leap and productivity growth can be achieved in cooperation between the state, entrepreneurs, and researchers. Today, the Research and Development Council approved the goals of the five focus areas of the new development plan and common indicators for all areas.
“Estonia must become the innovation leader of Europe. We need to move towards a more knowledge-intensive business environment which would encourage the development of higher value-added products and services and investments in every region of Estonia. The Estonian Development Plan for Research and Development, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship has an important role to play in meeting these goals. I consider it important that the achievement of the goals is supported by a clear governance model and financing plan,” said Andres Sutt, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology.
The focus of the digital solutions area is on the use of secure digital solutions in every sphere of life and the use of data management to create new business opportunities. The goal of the field of health technologies and services is to increase the quality and availability of patient-centred health care services, as well as increase export potential. The goal of the field of increasing the value of local resources is to make better use of previously little-valued resources, taking into account the interests of bio- and circular economy. Smart and sustainable energy solutions focus on climate-neutral energy production, energy efficiency, and security of supply. The development of the focus area of a viable Estonian society, language, and cultural space must take place through people-centred, knowledge-based, and efficient governance.
“The focus area of a viable Estonian society, language, and cultural space, which seems less related to the economy at first glance, is very important to me as the Minister of Education,” said Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna. “If we intend to develop Estonian-language education and through it, make better use of the potential of our society, train teachers for this purpose, and create other new opportunities, we need a research base.” Kersna added that the development of language technologies based on the Estonian language mentioned during the discussion is also very important.
Jaak Aaviksoo, who was appointed rapporteur on this topic, introduced the proposals for reshaping the work of the Research and Development Council so that it would be better prepared for future challenges. As a result of the Research and Development Council’s activities, analysis of international experience, and numerous interviews, it was concluded that increasing the impact of the Research and Development Council is possible primarily through closer cooperation with partners and substantive capacity building.
The Research and Development Council will return to the subject at the next meeting, scheduled for May.