University to award Skytte medal to Katri Raik

2 days 1 hour ago

On Friday, 24 March, the University of Tartu is celebrating the Skytte Day and UT rector Professor Volli Kalm will award the Skytte medal to rector of Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, former director of the University of Tartu Narva College, Katri Raik. Katri Raik is recognised with the medal for her mission-driven work in integrating Estonian education and developing teacher training, strengthening the position of the Estonian national university in Narva and internationalisation of higher education in Estonia.

Katri Raik worked in the University of Tartu from 1991–2015 and her greatest challenge was undoubtedly establishing the Narva College of the University of Tartu and building it up over 17 years. In 1999, she started to build up the structural unit of the university in a Russian-speaking and, at that time, quite a closed environment. “Developing European-level, Estonian-taught higher education in an environment where there was very little of Europe, higher education and even less of the Estonian language, is a really great thing. Katri Raik proved that it is possible to provide higher education on European level outside Tallinn and Tartu. In a country of the size of Estonia, however, it can be done well only supporting on good cooperation with the parent university and partners,” UT rector Volli Kalm underlined the current Academy of Security Sciences rector’s dedication, professionalism and remarkable cooperation skills in developing the regional college.

Rector Volli Kalm also points out the contribution of Katri Raik to guaranteeing the new generation of qualified Estonian teachers, especially teachers for Russian-speaking schools. “Under the leadership of Katri Raik, Narva College became the most important training centre for teachers of Russian schools in Estonia. Today there are more than 1140 young people with teacher’s education, graduates of Narva College. A conference for teachers of Russian-speaking schools is organised annually in Narva and this tradition is particularly worthy of attention. Today, Narva has become a valuable part of the Estonian education landscape,” said Kalm and added that thanks to Raik’s work, Narva has definitely come closer to Estonians, and Estonians closer to Narva and to the people of Narva.

Johan Skytte was a Swedish politician and statesman, under whose initiative Academia Gustaviana was founded in Tartu in 1632. Skytte medal is an award granted by the University of Tartu to a statesperson or public figure who, in the opinion of the senate of the University of Tartu, has contributed the most to the development of the University of Tartu and higher education in Estonia in the recent years.

Earlier awardees of the Skytte medal include Ene Ergma, Tõnis Lukas, Rein Taagepera, Dag Hartelius, Andres Lipstok, Jüri Raidla, Andrus Ansip, Lennart Meri, Katarina Brodina, Jacques Faure, Kai Lie, Svend Roed Nielsen, Mihkel Pärnoja, Marju Lauristin and Mart Laar.

The Skytte Day is celebrated on 24 March at 16 in the Narva College of the University of Tartu. Presentations are delivered by head of UT Institute of History and Archaeology, professor of medieval history Anti Selart (“Narva 1558 – who was the traitor?”); head of Chair of Public Economics and Policy of UT School of Economics, professor in research and innovation policy Kadri Ukrainski (“The idea of the knowledge triangle and its implementation in the Estonian higher education policy today”) and Katri Raik, who speaks about Johan Skytte, the University of Tartu, Academy of Security Sciences and the city of Narva.

Additional information:
Kady Sõstar
UT Public Relations Specialist
737 5685
511 9188
kady.sostar [ät]

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Photo contest urges to notice and capture urban nature

2 days 23 hours ago

University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Estonian Museum of Natural History invite people of all ages to participate in the photography contest “Wild City”. The aim of this contest is to guide people to notice and value wildlife in the urban space and inspire them to capture it.

The contest is waiting for photos made in the urban environment, telling stories of the nature and the city striving to live together. Baby birds in a box on a high-rise balcony, the first green shoot showing between stone stairs in spring, or owlets pulling faces at passers-by in the park – these are just a few examples of the wild in the city.  

“We encourage all nature-lovers who watch the surrounding world through camera lens to send their photos to the contest,” the chief organiser of the contest Veljo Runnel explains the aim of this event. “Above all, the jury appreciates the good idea in a photo. We try to guide people, also those who are usually not so much into photography, to notice and capture the urban nature. Therefore it does not matter whether you use a phone or top-level equipment to take the photo,” he adds.

Photos can be submitted to the photo contest “Wild City” until 20 May 2017 at

Submissions are assessed in two age groups: children (up to 15 year-olds) and adults (no age limit for participants). Each author may submit max 3 photos. Terms and conditions are specified on the photo contest website at Winners are announced on the opening date of Tartu Nature Festival, 7 June.

Photos are assessed by a jury comprising of the naturalist and photographer Rein Kuresoo, curator of nature exhibitions Lennart Lennuk, photographer Ingmar Muusikus, artist-designer Margot Sakson, photographer Sven Začek and artist-designer Eve Valper.

Prizes are presented by Photopoint, National Geographic Estonia, Looduse Omnibuss, University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Gardens, Estonian Museum of Natural History, Salibar OÜ, MyPrint, Seto Folk, Tartu City Government, Environmental Board, Energy Discovery Centre and AHHAA Science Centre.

The photography contest is supported by Tartu City Government.

The contest is a part of the programme of the Nature Festival to be held from 7 to 10 June in Tartu.

Information: Veljo Runnel, chief organiser of the photo contest, 520 6108, veljo.runnel [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Interest in UT’s English-taught programmes greater than ever before

2 days 23 hours ago

This year, 2438 applications were submitted to the 20 international master’s curricula of the University of Tartu. The amount of applications filed by Estonian candidates increased by a fifth.

This year, 720 applications more than last year were filed to UT’s English-taught master’s curricula. For several years already, Computer Science and Software Engineering have been the most popular among both Estonian and international student candidates with 413 and 369 applications, respectively, and International Relations and Regional Studies with 285 applications. Of new programmes, Actuarial and Financial Mathematics and Innovation and Technology Management were most applied for. 

Rector Volli Kalm said, “Year by year, competition for study programmes in English becomes tighter and therefore, only really strong candidates will become students of the University of Tartu. I am pleased that also Estonian students help to maintain the high academic level of our international curricula. Their interest in continuing their studies according to English-taught master’s study programmes has increased steadily each year. The contribution made by the alumni of the University of Tartu is valuable for Estonia and its economy, and this is also true for foreigners who stay in Estonia and work here after graduation.”

According to UT International Admissions Coordinator Kaija Murasov, the number of applications has grown on account of the new study programmes as well as an increased interest in programmes which have also been offered to students earlier. She adds that the current situation reflects the electronically submitted applications. “In the first half of May, when admission decisions are made, we will know how many candidates have submitted adequate certificates of education and meet all the admission requirements.”

Applications were sent from 116 countries. In autumn it will be clear how many international students and from which countries will begin their studies at the University of Tartu.

Application for bachelor’s programmes in English, incl. Medicine, is open until 15 April 2017.

Additional information: Kaija Murasov, UT International Admissions Coordinator, 737 5152, e-mail kaija.murasov [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

James Groccia shares the best practice in learning and supervising

4 days 4 hours ago

Professor of higher education of Auburn University James Groccia is in Tartu in March, giving lectures, consulting doctoral students and counselling supervisors of doctoral students of the University of Tartu at an open seminar.

While in Estonia, James Groccia teaches a course for international doctoral students “Learning and Teaching in Higher Education”. Doctoral students can also receive individual feedback from Groccia on their work and ask him questions related to their doctoral thesis and studies.

Pihel Hunt, doctoral student of the University of Tartu Institute of Education, says that James Groccia guides students to think about their philosophy of teaching and offers good tips for making studies more effective and more meaningful for the learner. “While a large proportion of our studies as doctoral students is taken up by research work and discussions on different dissertation-related topics, James Groccia’s lectures and seminars enable us to also think of other aspects of work at the university, like learning and supervising,” said Hunt.

On 23 March, Groccia conducts a seminar for supervisors of doctoral students “Best Practice in Supervising Doctoral Students”. The seminar takes place from 10:30–14:00 in UT Institute of Education (Salme 1a-104), and supervisors of the University of Tartu doctoral students are invited to attend. The schedule of the seminar can be found here. Please register for the seminar by 21 March. The seminar is organised by the Graduate School of Educational Sciences, financed by the University of Tartu’s ASTRA project PER ASPERA, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Professor of higher education of Auburn University James Groccia has been visiting professor at the University of Tartu Institute of Education since March 2016.

Groccia’s contacts with Estonia started in 2007, when he attended the meeting of the International Consortium for Educational Development (ICED) in Tartu and led a workshop for teaching staff here. He has taught university teachers at a Summer Academy, delivered presentations and conducted workshops at conferences aimed at developing teaching skills.

Additional information: Mari Karm, Associate Professor of Higher Education Teaching, 737 6470, mari.karm [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

UT researchers help the Tajiks create modern study programmes

5 days 5 hours ago

From 20 to 27 March, the University of Tartu in collaboration with Dresden and Olomouc universities host the Tajik delegation who are coming to Estonia to explore the organisation of studies and curricula in our university.

Researchers of the University of Tartu, TU Dresden and Palacký University, Olomouc have decided to support the project for modernisation of studies in different universities of Tajikistan. The competence of the Dresden and Olomouc universities is to develop the area of the humanities (researchers of TU Dresden teach culture theory and European diversity, people from Olomouc offer language studies). The role of UT is to provide insight into social sciences. Modernisation of curricula is necessary for the graduates’ skills and knowledge to meet the needs of the present-day labour market, and the Tajikistan society as a whole.

According to Vice Director of UT Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies Olga Bogdanova, the role of our teaching staff in this project is to help the Tajiks in the development of European Union subjects. “In the course of the planned project we share our skills and knowledge so that the new curriculum would contain both innovative teaching and study methods. For example, we teach the functioning, history, processes, integration policy and geopolitics of the European Union,” Bogdanova described how the Estonians will help to create the first English-taught curriculum in Tajikistan to meet Bologna requirements.  “In addition to curriculum development, the project is a good opportunity for developing interpersonal contacts, enhance intercultural awareness and understanding,” Bogdanova added.

In Tajikistan, the old education system of the Soviet period is still used, and it does not meet the needs of the modern society. “The whole system needs renovation, particularly in the area of didactics – why and how to learn and which skills need to be developed, so that the acquired knowledge could be used later. Topics also include the skills needed in the labour market in the area of international relations and policymaking, as Tajikistan is about to actively develop their economy and relationships with neighbouring countries,” said Bogdanova. For the Tajiks, it is an extremely large-scale project, involving the country’s academy of sciences, several universities and the EU representation in Tajikistan.

The study visit to Tartu is the first experience of its kind for Tajik lecturers, because there are still very few instruments supporting mobility in their country. During the visit they meet the UT teaching staff and attend several lectures to get an idea of the possibilities and methods of teaching. In autumn the delegation of Estonia goes to an official visit to Dushanbe.

Additional information: Olga Bogdanova, Vice Director of UT Johan Skytte Institute of Polictical Science, 737 6375, olga.bogdanova [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Professor Peeter Tulviste passed away on Saturday, 11 March.

1 week 4 days ago

It is with deep sadness that I have to inform you that Professor Peeter Tulviste, Rector Emeritus of the University of Tartu, passed away on Saturday, 11 March. We mourn the loss of a great scholar and a great man who served as the Rector of the University of Tartu from 1993 to 1998.

Peeter Tulviste was born on 28 October 1945. He graduated from the Tallinn Secondary School No. 10 in 1964 and earned his first degree in Psychology in 1969 from the Moscow State University. He continued his studies at the same university under world-renowned Professor Alexander Luria and went on to obtain his Candidate of Science degree (PhD) in Psychology in 1975 and Sc. D. in Psychology in 1987.

His entire academic career was devoted to the scientific research in psychology and training of psychologists. His contacts with the University of Tartu started already while studying and doing his research in Moscow. He began his academic career at Tartu in 1969 as a lecturer at the Chair of Psychology and Logic of the University of Tartu Faculty of History and Languages. He became associate professor in 1978 and full professor in 1988.

Tulviste’s main scientific interest was cultural psychology. As one of the world’s leading scientists in this field of research he helped to bring about a “cultural turn” in psychology. He supervised several doctoral dissertations and his research results have found their way into a wide range of international scientific publications.

Peeter Tulviste was elected as an academician of the Estonian Academy of Science in 1994 and served as its Vice-President from 1994 to 2004. Besides his academic work, he was always prepared to take on administrative roles at the university. From 1992 to 1993 he served as Vice-Rector for Research and from 1993 to 1998 as Rector of the University of Tartu. Since 2015 he was Professor Emeritus and Advisor to the Rector.

Peeter Tulviste’s contribution to the development of Estonia’s alma mater cannot be overestimated. As Rector he was an inspiring and demanding leader, a wise and principled reformer of the university. His time of office as Rector saw important structural reorganisations and dramatic expansion of the University’s international contacts and activities.

As a member of Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (Estonian: Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit) he served as the Chairman of the Tartu City Council (from 1999–2001) and was twice elected to the Estonian Parliament (from 2003–2011).

Peeter Tulviste was a member of numerous committees, foundations and associations. He was vice-president of the Estonian Research and Development Council from 1994–1998, and president and board member of the European Movement Estonia from 2000–2002. He was also a recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements, including Sweden’s Royal Order of the Polar Star, 1st class (1995), Order of the National Coat of Arms, 3rd class (2006). Tulviste was Honorary Doctor of Voronezh State University and Medical Academy of Poland.

In his social responsibilities he was driven by a strong sense of mission and statesmanlike attitude. He will be fondly remembered for his innate friendliness and kindness in his public roles and interpersonal relationships.

The funeral service will be held on Saturday, 18 March at noon in the University Assembly Hall. A book of condolences will be available for signing until Friday, 17 March from 9 am to 4:30 pm at the Rector’s Office, and on Saturday in the foyer of the University Main Building before the funeral service.

Professor Volli Kalm

Rector of the University of Tartu

Category: University
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Ambitious plan: let’s increase Estonian Wikipedia to one million articles!

1 week 4 days ago

On today’s Mother Language Day, the comprehensive Wikipedia development project Million+ is launched, in which everyone who wants to contribute to the future of the Estonian language and culture can join.

Million+ is a collective initiative aiming to increase the textual content of the Estonian Wikipedia to one million articles and thereby create a substantial encyclopaedia for all Estonians. Wikipedia or free encyclopaedia is the most widely used source of general information, with encyclopaedic content created by volunteers. Although the need for a good and comprehensive encyclopaedia in Estonian is enormous, the current environment is still incomplete and in need for further development. Today the Estonian Wikipedia contains 155,000 articles and a great deal of this content has been created by just a few dozen people. In order to increase the number of wiki articles to more than a million, the University of Tartu and MTÜ Wikimedia Eesti invite all active people to create more articles to the web encyclopaedia and supplement the existing ones.

Sirli Zupping, lecturer in Estonian language of the University of Tartu, says it is important that all members of the society contribute to the development of the e-society, “In some respects, Million+ is like the web-based version of the “Let’s do it!” campaign, meant to tidy up information in the Estonian language. All Estonian universities should set the target that each student compile at least one wiki article during their studies. This would be a direct contribution to the society and clearly support the survival and further development of the Estonian science language.”

According to one of the initiators of this project, UT vice rector for academic affairs Mart Noorma, Million+ is an excellent undertaking aiming to involve the whole Estonian society and supplement the free web encyclopaedia. “Wikipedia is of particular importance in shaping the judgments of young people - if they cannot find an Estonian equivalent using the Google search and only the English Wikipedia offers solutions, it affects their opinion of the importance of their mother tongue,” said Noorma about the importance of the encyclopaedia in Estonian. “The terminology and considerable knowledge base of several disciplines has been gathered into universities and can be shared with Wikipedia with the help of students, lecturers and researchers. Also enterprises, organisations, institutions and schools have collected valuable professional and local historical information, which is worth adding to the web encyclopaedia,” says Noorma, inviting everyone to contribute to the project.

Million+ is a contribution to the future of the Estonian language and a gift to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. As one of the first initiatives within the project, the digital education competition, which goes on until 1 June, has been launched to encourage the improvement of economy-related articles. Currently, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Swedbank and the Ministry of Education and Research participate in the project activities, but everyone who feels responsible for the preservation of the Estonian language is welcome to contribute.

The website of the programme can be found at

Additional information: Sirli Zupping, UT Lecturer in Estonian Language, 737 6127, sirli.zupping [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

People feel similar affection for mobile phones as for other people

2 weeks 2 days ago

The master’s thesis “The Mobile Phone in the Hands of the Nepalese People: A Humanistic Perspective of Technology", defended in the Department of Ethnology of the University of Tartu in January, demonstrates clearly that the phone has become our inseparable companion, cure for loneliness and best friend.

According to the author of the thesis Merilin Piipuu, her aim was to study how people use and make sense of technology. “I was interested in how we relate to something or someone, but from the aspect of the person’s everyday experience rather than the experience of a user. Several philosophers and anthropologists like Martin Heidegger and Michael D. Jackson have argued that people relate to technology like to another living creature – one day we are in control, another time we are controlled,” said Piipuu.

Merilin Piipuu studied how people relate to mobile phones in 2014 in Nepal, which has undergone fast and dramatic technological progress in the last decade. Although the research focused on the experience of the specific people in their specific context, this approach will definitely give inspiration to other similar studies. During ethnographical fieldwork conducted in Nepal, the author assessed people’s experience in using the mobile phone. The study revealed that on the one hand, the Nepalese people regard the mobile phone as an everyday item that allows them to be more mobile and flexible and also to solve critical situations. On the other hand, the mobile phone is described as causing immobility and social detachment. “The mobile phone enables people to communicate and organise their life without virtually leaving home, but at the same time they are not really together with others at home, because while talking on the phone or using the phone, people shut themselves off from the surrounding social space,” explained Piipuu.

All participants in the study admitted that the mobile phone was controlling their life and they felt powerless against technological developments. For example, none of the researched individuals was capable of leaving home without the mobile phone and when they did, they felt a “part of them” was missing. This means that a mobile phone is not just a “part of the individual” but to some extent also has power over the person’s actions and behaviour. “When a person is alone, the phone is their best friend. The phone also plays a significant role in interpersonal communication. This gives the mobile phone an important emotional charge, which in turn means that people feel a similar affection for the phone as for other people. However, if the phone fails to subject to our control, it causes irritation, anger and the feeling of inadequacy,” said the author of the thesis about people’s emotional involvement with the everyday item.

Additional information: Merilin Piipuu, UT graduate (ethnology and folkloristics), piipuu [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Students expect a forward-looking rector with management experience

2 weeks 2 days ago

The University of Tartu Student Council has asked the student body to express their ideas on what they expect of the rector. Above all, students want the university to be led by a person who is forward-looking and has a clear vision for both the society and the university.

Students believe that the University of Tartu can be a vehicle for societal development only in case action plans are made in the university which systematically develop the society. This concerns both the general development of the university and research, academic and business activities. The university is seen as an institution which is competent to critically assess the society and by its activities to develop such fields that are particularly important for the future. At the same time students expect the university to become more visible in the society and the rector as a spokesperson to contribute to public debate on important issues. “For example, if there is a public case in which the safety of a student is in question, the rector should be the one who sets the pattern by taking a clear moral position on what is and what is not tolerated in the University of Tartu,” said president of UT Student Council Reelika Alunurm.

Students also emphasise the importance of professional leadership. “It is undoubtedly important for the rector to have sufficient management experience, similarly to other public sector leaders. It is also important that if people assume difficult managerial responsibilities, it will also be taken into account in their teaching and research activities,” Alunurm communicated the students’ words and added, “Of course, it would be nice if the rector formed the Rector’s Office of the representatives of different faculties and competencies; this would allow attending to the specificities and needs of all faculties.”

Additional information: Reelina Alunurm, president of UT Student Council, reelika.alunurm [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: UniversityPress release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

University of Tartu is among world's top universities in 13 subjects

2 weeks 3 days ago

Today the international consultation company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) published its QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017, which ranks the world’s universities by 46 subjects. The University of Tartu is represented in the ranking with 13 subjects this year.

Similarly to last year, the highest-ranking is linguistics (101–150), and the same position is held by philosophy, which has re-entered the ranking list after 2015. These disciplines are followed by communication and media studies, represented in the ranking for the sixth year in succession, and archaeology (both on the position 151–200). Among five larger faculties, the highest position – 301st – is held by arts and humanities.

According to head of UT Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics Peeter Torop, such a high evaluation to the department of philosophy results from changes made in the entire institute in recent years. “In the course of the curricula reform we successfully launched the international master’s programme in philosophy, and improved our organisational culture. Job descriptions were prepared for programme managers and heads of departments, and in the department of philosophy, this means effective and meaningful cooperation between coordinators, programme manager and the head,” said Torop. “Philosophers belong among the most successful applicants for research projects in the Humanities and their publications are on a visibly high level. It is this visibility that brings young doctors of philosophy every year to Tartu to apply for post-doctoral studies,” the head of the institute pointed out factors that contribute to developing an excellent academic reputation. 

Besides producing the QS World University Rankings, QS has also ranked universities by subjects since 2011 – with the aim of providing the public with comparable information about the strengths of the universities at the level of single subjects. Therefore, it is not a uniform ranking, but 46 separate ones, in which the number of ranked universities varies by subjects from 50 (e.g. stomatology and veterinary medicine) to 500 (e.g. chemistry and computer science).

To compile the rankings, QS takes into account the university’s reputation among researchers and employers of the respective field and bibliometrical indicators (Elsevier’s bibliographical database Scopus is used as a source). The weight of the indicators also varies across subjects. For some subjects (e.g. arts and design) only reputation review results are taken into account, while bibliometrics has more weight in fields of science with larger publication volumes. For the 2017 rankings the data of 4438 universities was analysed. There are 1117 universities who are represented in at least one subject ranking list.

More detailed information about the methodology used for compiling the rankings is available on QS website at:

In the overall QS World University Rankings in 2016, the University of Tartu was ranked the 347th, which is the highest result achieved by an Estonian university since the rankings were started in 2004.

Additional information:

Lauri Randveer, UT senior specialist for international cooperation, 737 5510, lauri.randveer [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: UniversityPress release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Online course on the spread and impact of e-voting starts soon

2 weeks 4 days ago

This spring the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies conducts an online course “SVJS.TK.003. Diffusion and Impact of Internet Voting” in English. The course duration is eight weeks from 13 March 2017 to 07 May 2017.

The course is targeted primarily at non-ICT students and professionals who are active on the labour market, studying or working in Estonia and interested in broadening their knowledge of the e-government in general and internet voting in particular.

During the course the following topics will be dealt with:

·         Principles of operation and development of the Estonian e-government so far;

·         Development of internet voting and patterns of use today;

·         Impact of internet voting on voter turnout and election results;

·         Interesting behavioural aspects of participants in the elections.

A wealth of unique materials on internet voting are used in this course: for example, survey data covering the 10-year history of internet voting; anonymised log data on voting sessions and official election results. Considering the trends in e-government and e-governance, completion of the course is useful primarily for understanding and getting to know the architecture of e-government.

The course takes place on the basis of weekly video lectures and study materials. Participants who successfully pass the weekly tests get a certificate of the University of Tartu.

Watch the short video introducing the MOOC.

Registration is open at until 15 April 2017.

The e-course is funded with the support of the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications from the European Social Fund programme “Increasing Digital Literacy”.

Additional information: Anna Beitane, anna.beitane [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Studies
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Best spatial planning solutions sought for university units

2 weeks 5 days ago

On 7 and 8 March, researchers from the universities of Estonia and other Baltic Sea countries get together in the assembly hall of the University of Tartu to discuss different spatial planning possibilities for universities at the Liveable City Forum.

How the units of the University of Tartu are distributed and located in Tartu is a topic that concerns and affects the development of the whole city. Currently there are two spatial planning and development processes going on in Tartu – designing of the Delta academic building by the river Emajõgi, and finding an urban-spatial solution for the Maarjamõisa campus. The forum discusses the principles of the spatial development of university buildings, relations with the urban space, environmental relationships, smart migration and creative industries.

"Today, the cities and universities compete with each other globally to attract capable students, lecturers and researchers. It is important to offer them not only excellent academic quality and good study conditions, but also a varied and smoothly functioning living environment. This is why the issues of the university campus development and urban-spatial relations are topical also on the international level, and it is good that researchers and officials of universities and cities all over Europe speak at the forum and participate in the discussion," says UT lecturer of environmental protection Age Poom.

The working language of the forum is English.

Further information is available at the forum website.

The seminar is organised in cooperation with Tartu City Government and other university cities of the Baltic Sea region.

Additional information: Age Poom, lecturer of environmental protection, 505 9810, age.poom [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

First free-to-use public LoRaWAN gateway launched in the University of Tartu

3 weeks ago

The University of Tartu and Nordic Automation Systems (NAS), developer and manufacturer of LoRaWAN products, launched the first public free-to-use LoRaWAN gateway, thereby offering the companies in this area an excellent opportunity to test their products and later bring them to the market. 

LoRaWAN networks have gained considerable interest worldwide, as they allow using sensors with 10-year battery life, which may be located up to 15 km away from the gateway, even under the ground and in other hard-to-access places. This means that the advantage of the LoRaWAN technology over mobile technologies consists in its ability to support more devices than the latter in a larger coverage area. The gateway collects real-time data and transmits them to the LoRaWAN network, where the user can analyse the collected data. This technology can be used in hundreds of industries, including manufacturing, science, healthcare, agriculture and public utility service sectors – for example,  for water, electricity, gas and heating metering.

According to Professor Alvo Aabloo of the Institute of Technology of the University of Tartu, the LoRaWAN gateway launched in cooperation with NAS is a good opportunity for the effective development of practical learning. “The University of Tartu's computer engineering programme is designed to train engineers and leading specialists for the Estonian information and communication sector. Thanks to the gateway, students can use new practical possibilities for studies and for writing their theses,” Aabloo pointed out the advantages the gateway offers to students. The CEO of NAS Viljo Veesaar also believes that the essential purpose of building the public LoRaWAN gateway is to give students and researchers more opportunities to experiment with the LoRaWAN infrastructure. “The University of Tartu is the leading centre of research and training in Estonia, and therefore an ideal community to develop cutting-edge Internet of Things solutions in Estonia,” he added.

Aabloo added that besides the development of teaching, the gateway also holds a practical output. “The Intelligent Materials and Systems Laboratory of the Institute of Technology cooperates with many Estonian and European companies in the field of Internet of Things and portable electronics. LoRaWAN is one of the leading technologies in the world, which allows the development of low-energy Internet of Things solutions. Therefore, the area developers now have an opportunity to test their prototypes and later bring them to the market. So our gateway will serve as a prototyping laboratory for the enterprises of South Estonia,” said Aabloo. 

Additional information: Alvo Aabloo, professor of the Institute of Technology, alvo.aabloo [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Tartu Ülikooli pressinõunik Tel: +(372) 737 5683
Mob: +(372) 5354 0689 E-post: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Workplace peace essential for the university

1 month ago

As new facts have become evident in the case of discrimination covered in Eesti Päevaleht and Eesti Ekspress, the university has decided to initiate additional internal investigation and for that period temporarily reorganise the work of the professor in question as head of laboratory and supervisor of doctoral students.

In the light of the meetings held in recent days, including between the rector and the current doctoral students of the professor, and the acticle and editorial of 21 February’s Eesti Päevaleht, the university starts additional investigation and for that period also reorganises the professor’s work as head of laboratory and supervisor of doctoral students.

Rector of the University of Tartu Volli Kalm said, “At present it is essential for us to restore workplace peace and sense of security for university members and in the course of investigating the case we would also like to open a debate with students and employees, whether they have sufficient possibilities today to protect their rights and interests and from which point the university should start regulating private relationships.”

“The university does not accept any harassment, discrimination or unequal treatment and takes such cases very seriously,” Kalm added.

As the first step, there have already been meetings with the current doctoral students of the professor and with the student council, and different meetings with other employees are planned for open discussion of the topic.

In any cases of harassment, discrimination or unequal treatment, the university’s course of action is clear and unambiguous. The university has now got the Guidelines for Equal Treatment, which are used as a basis for dealing with any problems of equal treatment.

Additional information: Volli Kalm, Rector, 737 5600, rektor [ät]

Category: UniversityPress release
Kadri Kunnus (kadrikir)

Lotman seminar to convene researchers from 10 countries to Tartu

1 month ago

From 26 to 28 February the 95th anniversary of the world-famous scientist professor Yuri Lotman is celebrated with an international seminar in the University of Tartu.

Interdisciplinary Lotman seminar is an internationally renowned annual “hot issues” research event. In 2017 its programme includes 30 presentations by researchers from Switzerland, France, Finland, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Estonia. Next to reputable scientists, also doctoral students and recent PhDs, colleagues from the departments of history, semiotics and folklore and from Tallinn University take the floor.

According to organiser of the seminar, University of Tartu professor of Russian literature Ljubov Kisseljova, this year’s seminar programme is very varied, discussing topics from supernatural powers in Estonian folklore and the papal legate’s visit to Moscow in the 15th century to modern literature. “The programme promises great intellectual excitement,” said Kisseljova.

During the seminar the presentations of the department of Slavic studies’ new publication, the special issue of the reputable “Wiener Slawistischer Almanach” published in Vienna “The ideological context of the 18th-20th century Russian culture and translation poetics” (ed. Lea Pild), and a book, one of the compilers of which was the associate professor of the department Roman Leibov, take place.

As usual, also the Lotman stipends are awarded to two UT students – a semiotician and a Slavist – who have won the students’ research competition.

Additional information: Ljubov Kisseljova, chief organiser of the seminar, 5841 4325, ljubov.kisseljova [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: ResearchPress release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Book on semiotics of mimicry by UT semiotician was published by influential scientific publishing house

1 month ago

Scientific publishing company Springer published the book by Estonian semiotician Timo Maran titled “Mimicry and Meaning: Structure and Semiotics of Biological Mimicry”, in which the author analyses existing mimicry models and suggests semiotic methods for the comparative research of mimicry cases.

Mimicry is the deceptive resemblance of an animal or plant species to another species or the surrounding environment in the nature. Mimicry is one of the core topics in biology, which has also been used as an argument to support Darwin’s theory of evolution. The popularity of the topic of mimicry has risen in recent decades because now there is more information on how the resemblances develop at the early stage of an organism.

“One example of mimicry is the similarity of the cuckoo’s egg to the eggs of the bird species in whose nest the cuckoo lays its eggs. The host parent cannot distinguish the cuckoo’s egg from its own clutch and therefore raises a cuckoo chick,” Maran gives an example and says that mimicry is indeed a very common phenomenon in wildlife. “Resemblances can be expressed in body patterns, sounds or chemical compounds and found in very different ecological communities,” the semiotician adds.

In the published book, mimicry is analysed from the aspect of semiotics as the deceptive resemblance of different signs and how such resemblance manifests in communication. “For example, I was interested in what the different possibilities of the resemblance of signs are for the mimicry to function, and how mimicry is affected by the perception and interpretation ability of the animal who is being deceived. I also wanted to know the possible role and importance of mimicry more broadly in the ecosystem,” Timo Maran describes the questions that motivated him to write the book.

This book is likely to be the first one in the world focusing on the semiotics of mimicry. “The most innovative part of my book is the description of the relationship between mimicry and the general semiotics of ecosystems. I demonstrate how mimicry uses natural conventions or ecological codes that join a large number of different species. A good example would be the characteristic features of snakes — body shape, sinuous movement, hiss — which a number of species, including the human beings, avoid or are scared of. However, certain species like tits, bumblebees and others have learned to use this sign complex and hiss in the event of danger,” Maran tells about the shared understanding between different species. 

Additional information: Timo Maran, 737 6139, timo.maran [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: ResearchPress release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

New composition of the University of Tartu council approved

1 month 1 week ago

At their session on 16 February, the Government of the Republic of Estonia approved  the new composition of the council of the University of Tartu. The rector will convene the first council meeting on 13 March 2017.

Members of the council from outside the university:

  • rector of Uppsala University, Professor Eva Åkesson,
  • managing director of Estonian Business Angels Network EstBAN Heidi Kakko,
  • chairman of the board of Sangar AS Vahur Kraft,
  • managing partner of Raidla Ellex Law Firm Ants Nõmper,
  • general manager of Chemi-Pharm AS Ruth Oltjer.

From the University of Tartu, the following members belong to the council:

  • professor of neurosurgery, academician Toomas Asser,
  • professor of economic policy Jüri Sepp,
  • professor of Estonian as a foreign language Birute Klaas-Lang,
  • professor of archaeogenetics, academician Richard Villems,
  • professor of psychology of religion Tõnu Lehtsaar.

Toomas Asser, Jüri Sepp and Vahur Kraft also belonged to the previous membership of the council.

Read more about the members on the intranet.

Rector Volli Kalm said that the news about the government’s decision was relieving. “Although the university has operated smoothly on a day-to-day basis despite having a council, there are several processes that cannot continue for long without the decisions of the governing body,” the rector explained, referring to the long delay in the approval process. The rector was also pleased about the makeup of the council: “The university has got a respectable body consisting of significant and capable members to support its long-term development.”

The rector makes a proposal to the members of the new council to gather to their first session on Monday, 13 March 2017. At the first meeting the council will elect a chair, agree about its rules of procedure and discuss other general university governance issues. The council meeting will be followed by a joint session of the council and the senate, in which rector candidates will be heard and an opinion formed about the candidates.

The council is the highest decision-making body of the University of Tartu, which holds responsibility for the university's economic activities and long-term development. Among other activities, the council approves the university's statutes and adopts its strategic plan and budget.

According to the UT Statutes, the council comprises 11 members, five of whom are nominated by the senate, one by the Estonian Academy of Sciences (whose nominee must not be an employee of the University of Tartu) and five by the Minister of Education and Research, involving the public in the nomination process and ensuring that the majority of council members are not employees of the university.

Additional information:
Saima Tiirmaa-Oras, council secretary, 737 5602, saima.tiirmaa-oras [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: UniversityPress release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Garage48 Hardware & Arts 2017 brings ideas to daylight

1 month 1 week ago

The “Garage48 Hardware & Arts” hackathon, happening already for the 4th time on 17-19th of February in Tartu, brings together skilled individuals all across the Baltics to build ideas into working prototypes.

For 48 hours the Tartu University Institute of Physics building will be taken over by 180 participants: mechanics and electronics engineers, product and graphic designers, software developers and programmers, representatives of hard sciences and marketeers - both working professionals and students. Garage48 Hardware & Arts 2017 is brought to life by the joint project of Tartu University, Estonian Academy of Arts and Garage48 Foundation.

“On one hand the development of technology has created a big demand for well-designed and intuitive user interfaces and user experiences. On the other, there is a growing wish among designers and architects to integrate electronics and mechatronics into their creation. Garage48 Hardware & Arts has gained a remarkable role as the developer of a co-operating culture among design and technology fields”, highlights Kristjan Mändmaa, the Dean of The Estonian Academy of Arts Design Faculty.  


Supporting the synergy is also highly important in the opinion of one of the event organizers, Tartu University professorAlvo Aabloo: “This event creates prerequisites for cooperation between the people in natural sciences, design and creative industries, various engineering, also the military field and business people. From the education field we have included Tartu University, Estonian Academy of Arts and Estonian National Defence College.”


The participants of the Garage48 Hardware & Arts 2017 will get to use different electronics and design materials and tools. Tartu University Digilab and SPARK Makerlab will open their working rooms for the building process. Mass Portal offers 3D printers, Eccom lazer cutters and the Rohde & Schwarz electronic devices together with their skills and knowledge in using them.

Garage48 co-founder Priit Salumaa says that the event offers a challenge also to software developers. “The most influential technology companies of today have based their products upon hardware. Tesla, Apple and Estonia’s own Starship Technologies have combined hardware, software and design in very skilful ways,” comments Salumaa on the activities of the hottest technology companies of this day.


Garage48 Hardware & Arts 2017 final event that will showcase all the physical prototypes that have been built during the 48 hours of the hackathon can be watched live through Postimees and homepage on Sunday, February 19th, starting at 18.00.


Event sponors: Estonian National Defence College, University of Tartu, Estonian Academy of Arts, the Estronics cluster co-funded by the European Union's Regional Development Fund measures and member of the EAS cluster program, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Elisa, Gambling Tax Council, City of Tartu, Milrem, Embassy of Latvia in Estpnia, Startup Estonia.
Event supporters: MassPortal, Eccom, SPARK, SPARK Makerlab, Rohde & Schwarz, Made By, Latitude59 and Hedgehog.

Garage48 hackathons that were started in april 2010 have created nearly 1000 working prototypes and couple of dozens of successful start-ups across 4 continents.


Additional information: Anu Piirisild, Garage48 Hardware & Arts 2017 main organizer, 504 56 06, anu.piirisild [ät]


Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]  


Category: Entrepreneurship
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

University of Tartu researchers made a breakthrough in the development of human papillomavirus drugs

1 month 2 weeks ago

Researchers of the University of Tartu and Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ have published an article in PLOS Pathogens journal, which introduces the new cellular monitoring system for evaluating the growth of human papillomavirus (HPV) and the effect of drugs. The new drug screening system could considerably speed up the development of a new HPV drug. 

“Almost all people get a papillomavirus infection at some point in their life but the majority of infections pass relatively harmlessly, in many people the symptoms never appear,” says Mart Toots, who recently defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Tartu. His dissertation studied the life-threatening or oncogenetic types of the virus.

There are more than 200 subtypes of human papillomaviruses and they may cause illnesses ranging from benign proliferations (for example warts) to throat and cervical cancer. Every year six million people are diagnosed with new HPV infections in the U.S. alone. HPV-caused illnesses are treated using a wide variety of methods with varying success, but no specific cure for HPV infection exists so far.

To aid development of an efficient cure, Mart Toots and his colleagues of Icosagen Cell Factory Ltd. and the University of Tartu have created a new method that enables the identification of potentially effective drugs and drug targets.  Unlike previously developed systems, their method takes into account the full HPV genome, as well as all three stages of the viral life cycle that occur during HPV infection.

To develop the new system, researchers genetically engineered HPV genomes by adding bioluminescent proteins that allow easy monitoring of viral growth at any stage of life cycle.  This enables to quickly test whether a potential drug has an effect on the virus or not, and thereby speed up the development of potential drug candidates.

“We are confident that the developed HPV drug screening assay system will allow to identify several novel drug targets and small-molecule drugs,” the authors explain. “These could be used effectively for the elimination of cutaneous and mucosal low-risk and high-risk infections, thereby addressing serious unmet medical need in society, like benign and malignant HPV-positive epithelial tumours,” the researchers described their goals.

So far, the method has been used to screen more than 1600 chemical compounds, several of which were identified as blocking the growth of some high-risk subtypes of HPV.

See video here:

Video of _-wSVHzHcSA

This research was made possible by the collaboration between the Institute of Technology of the University of Tartu, Icosagen AS and Enterprise Estonia.

This research was financed by:

  1. Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ from their own resources.
  2. Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ project EU42266 “Novel platform for development of antiviral drugs against HPV infection” was supported from 2012–2015 by the Enterprise Estonia instrument “Grant for research and development applied research projects” with finances from the European Regional Development Fund.
  3. The University of Tartu Institute of Technology participated in this project as a co-investigator, and used partly resources from the Estonian Research Council (ETAG) grant IUT-20-27, Estonian Science Foundation (ETF) grants 9385 and 9467 and resources of the Centre of Excellence in Chemical Biology (3.2.0101.08-0017).


As a result of this research project, five doctoral dissertations were defended in 2016 and three more have been prepared for defence.

Additional information: Mart Ustav, Professor of Biomedical Technology of the University of Tartu, 509 8600, mart.ustav [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Tõnu Esko and Heli Lukner receive the Young Scientist Award of the Cultural Foundation of the President of the Republic

1 month 2 weeks ago

On Monday, 6 February president Kersti Kaljulaid handed over the Young Scientist Award of the Cultural Foundation of the President of the Republic to Tõnu Esko, and the Special Young Scientist Award for the popularisation of scientific thinking to Heli Lukner.

Laureate of the Young Scientist Award Tõnu Esko is a senior research fellow and the acting director of the Estonian Genome Centre of the University of Tartu. After defending his doctoral thesis in 2012 at the University of Tartu, Tõnu Esko completed postdoctoral studies at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University in Boston, which is one of the best research centres for human genomics in the world. Largely thanks to Tõnu Esko, the UT Estonian Genome Centre has an excellent international cooperation network, including close cooperation with the Broad Institute.

Tõnu Esko has already deserved a place among the global top molecular biology and genetic scientists and was elected among the Thomas Reuters 2016 most influential scientists in the world. Among other things, Tõnu Esko has studied the genetic characteristics of Estonians, identified nations that are genetically the closest to Estonians and described genomes linked to human body length and mental abilities.

“For me personally it is very important that my work at the genome centre has been noticed at the national level. From time to time, people do get recognised for different work in the science community, but in that case it is mainly researchers who notice the activities of other researchers. To get an award from the president, the work you do has to have a wider resonance and therefore I find the award even more significant and influential,” said Tõnu Esko about the importance of the award he was granted.

This year, the Cultural Foundation of the President of the Republic also presented a Special Young Scientist Award for the popularisation of scientific ways of thinking, which went to Heli Lukner, a researcher of physical optics.

Heli Lukner is a senior research fellow and lecturer of physical optics at the Institute of Physics of the University of Tartu. After defending her doctoral thesis in physics at University of Tartu with summa cum laude in 2010, she passed postdoctoral studies at Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen, Germany. The research work of Heli Lukner belongs to the sphere of modern optics and involves wave optics, the distribution of light in optical fibres, non-linear optics and the shaping and measurement of ultrashort pulses in time and space.

Besides her everyday research work, Heli Lukner has been actively involved in the popularisation of science-oriented ways of thinking. She was one of the initiators of the Teadusbuss (the Research Bus) project and in 2005 and 2006, a presenter and project leader of the physics minutes of the morning programme of the Estonian Public Broadcasting. Since 2015 she has been the leader of the photonics club for enterprising students, and one of the panel of judges and a member of the science team of the Rakett 69 (Rocket 69) educational programme for the 6th season.

The awards are valued at 5000 euros. The Young Scientist Award is sponsored by Väino Kaldoja.

Additional information:

Tõnu Esko
Senior Research Fellow of the Estonian Genome Centre of University of Tartu
737 4028
tonu.esko [ät]

Heli Lukner
Senior Research Fellow in Physical Optics
heli.lukner [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]


Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)