Survey among UT international students: 97% would recommend UT for studies

1 day 15 hours ago

The Marketing Office of the University of Tartu conducted a survey among international degree students in summer 2017. The purpose of the survey was to help understand how current international students made their decision to come to study in Estonia.

Total number of respondents was 176, 84% of whom were master’s and 16% bachelor’s students.

Most of the respondents came from Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Finland, USA, Nigeria, Germany, Latvia or Azerbaijan. 

Applying to the University of Tartu

98% of students said that they had no problems with the application system (DreamApply).

The most important reasons for choosing the University of Tartu:

·         Suitable study programme
·         High-quality education of UT
·         Scholarships
·         High ranking of UT
·         Affordable living costs and/or tuition fee
·         UT staff is very helpful
·         Dorm place was ensured

Students thought that the following reasons were the least important when choosing UT:

·         They weren’t admitted to their first choice university.
·         Estonia is close to home.

“Professor Marlon Dumas without a doubt. I would say tuition-waiver scholarship was also a big factor in all honesty. I cannot put one above the other. If one of the two were missing I most probably wouldn’t have come to the University of Tartu.”

Biggest obstacles students had to overcome before choosing UT

Issues that were brought out also included visa problems and distance from family. 8 students said that they had no issues.

Coming to UT

101 students out of 176 said that UT was very welcoming and everything was good.

“The information that was provided by UT is so helpful and very welcoming people in Estonia. Beyond my expectation. :)”

Students suggested to improve the integration between international and Estonian students, tutor programme and give more info about dorms, health care system, extra-curricular activities and different courses.

Financing studies

72% students have received the tuition waiver scholarship, 6% another scholarship to cover the tuition fee and 22% are paying the tuition fee.

How do you finance your studies and/or living costs?

Average monthly living costs (incl. rent) are approximately 301-400 EUR (37%), 24% of students spend less than 300 EUR and only 9% over 600 EUR. Most of the students live in a dorm (72%).

54% of the students who live in an apartment said that it was easy for them to find it. Problems encountered while looking for an apartment were language barrier, high prices and landlords preferring Estonians.



Are you currently working?

Those students who are looking for a job said that the main obstacle has been Estonian language, followed by the lack of part-time jobs and nothing interesting being available.

41% of students would like to stay in Estonia after graduation to work, 8% would like to continue studying in here, 33% hadn’t decided and 18% would not stay. Students who would like to leave wish to return to their home country (39%), move abroad (26%) and 13% said that they do not believe that they will find a job in Estonia and therefore have decided to leave. Other reasons for leaving included low salaries in Estonia, studying abroad and conditions set by the scholarship the student had received (requires moving back to home country).

Living in Estonia

93% of students feel safe or very safe in Estonia, 6% were neutral and only 1% feels unsafe. Nobody felt very unsafe; however, some students mentioned that they have felt discrimination.

The biggest problems that the students currently have are the closed main library and the lack of job opportunities available to students. They would also like the university to offer cheaper options to do sports.

Satisfaction with studies at UT

86% of students said their study programme has met their expectations. Those who weren’t happy said that:

·         Some courses were not well-organised and/or pointless for them.

·         Lecturers did not speak good enough English.

·         There was a limited choice of core courses.

·         Workload between semesters was not equal.

·         More practical work is needed.

98% of students said that they are happy with the University of Tartu in general. 2% of students brought out that the library has been closed for a long time, the university is too laid-back and the programme quality has not met their expectations.

Lastly, we asked students whether they would recommend UT for studies. 97% said yes.


Contact: Eveli Soo, Head of International Marketing, +372 532 4831, eveli.soo [ät]

Category: AdmissionInternational
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

University of Tartu sports hall wins EOC recognition

1 week 1 day ago

Estonian Olympic Committee recognises eighteen regional multifunctional sports centres, which stand out for their high-quality infrastructure and offer services and conditions that enable to promote youth and amateur sports in the region.

Member of the executive committee of the Estonian Olympic Committee, chair of the sports infrastructure board Riho Terras said that regional sports centres make a great contribution to shaping Estonians’ exercise habits. “There are many sports centres in Estonia that are daily committed to the goal of offering convenient and safe conditions for people to exercise and do sports. This way people are more engaged in physical activity and new top athletes can emerge in Estonia. By the EOC recognition plaque we want to inform everyone that we have noticed the work the regional sports centres do and that we value their contribution to achieve a stronger, healthier and more athletic Estonia,” said Terras.

EOC selected the centres based on the proposals of the county sports federations. In total, eighteen sports facilities were selected, 1–2 from each county. From Tartu County, the University of Tartu Sports Hall was awarded. All the eighteen multifunctional regional centres receive a plaque that reads “Sports centre recognised by Estonian Olympic Committee”. The centres are allowed to place the EOC recognition plaque on their façade and use it for ten years. EOC sports infrastructure committee will review the list of recognised sports centres in autumn 2019.

Additional information: Raigo Häelme, UT Academic Sports Centre, Head of Marketing and Communication, +372 5344 5686, raigo.haelme [ät]


Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Postimees names UT lead researcher Asko Lõhmus Person of the Year 2017

1 week 1 day ago

The daily newspaper Postimees has recognised lead research fellow in conservation biology of the University of Tartu Asko Lõhmus with the title “Person of the Year 2017”.

“Lõhmus has led the forest ecology and logging discussion in a balanced and well-argued manner, and thereby significantly contributed to the nature conservation debate in Estonia,” Postimees editor-in-chief Lauri Hussar explained the choice of the staff.

Protection of the ecological integrity of the natural environment has been Asko Lõhmus’ main academic and also community activity for years. In an interview to Postimees, Lõhmus said that when we speak of the nature, we are also speaking of the society. “Human impact on the natural environment is so great. If once man lived separately from nature, today every forest depends on someone’s decision. Someone has decided to either keep it, manage it or cut it down,” said Lõhmus.

Postimees asked Asko Lõhmus how much courage it takes to intervene in a debate in which there is so much confusion. “I think a city person is as afraid to go into the forest as a forest person is to come to the ‘human forest’. But for a good cause, you’ll find the courage,” said Lõhmus.

Postimees has given the award of the Person of the Year since 1997. The last time a UT staff member was named the Person of the Year was in 2013 when the title was given to Mart Noorma, project manager of the Estonian students’ satellite EstCube-1. Noorma led the process that resulted in launching Estonia’s first satellite into space.

Asko Lõhmus also received another recognition this week: the Estonian Council of Environmental NGOs gave the Green Award of the Year 2017 to Asko Lõhmus and Raul Rosenvald, senior research fellow of silviculture of the Estonian University of Life Sciences, for their contribution to bringing scientific argumentation into the public debate on forest and forestry issues.

Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

UT researchers receive prestigious grant to research the causes of a common skin disorder

1 week 5 days ago

The Danish LEO Foundation supports researchers of the University of Tartu with 220,000 euros to conduct laboratory studies to discover the causes of atopic dermatitis, a frequent skin disorder.

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease, which in many cases is of allergic character, but the causes of which are not exactly known. Researchers participating in the project want to study how the early molecular events in atopic dermatitis are influenced by the specific small RNA molecules, known as microRNAs.

To determine the potential of microRNAs for pharmaceutical development, the researchers plan to use ‘courier’ peptides that enable to transport molecules of different sizes into the cells.

“The skin is a very efficient biological barrier and so far, researchers’ attempts to deliver therapeutic proteins and nucleic acids through the skin have given poor results,” said the project leader, UT senior researcher Ana Rebane. “In the case of atopic dermatitis the skin barrier is significantly damaged and therefore we assume that with the help of certain courier peptides it is possible to deliver the therapeutic microRNAs into the skin lesion,” she adds.

Other participants in the cooperation-based project are Professor Külli Kingo, Head of the Dermatology Clinic of Tartu University Hospital, Professor Margus Pooga and Professor Ülo Langel of the UT Institute of Technology, and external partners Professor Stephan Weidinger from Kiel University and Professor Jesper Wengel from the University of Southern Denmark.

LEO Foundation is the owner and developer the Danish pharmaceutical company LEO Pharma, founded more than 100 years ago. To ensure the research-based nature of the company and the development of dermatology, the foundation has supported skin diseases research all over the world for several decades already. This is the first time Estonian researchers have received a LEO Foundation grant.

Additional information: Ana Rebane, UT Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, Senior Research Fellow in RNA Biology, 737 4419, ana.rebane [ät]

Category: Research
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Tõnu Lehtsaar is acting rector of the University of Tartu

2 weeks 1 day ago

At the extraordinary senate session on 27 December, the senate of the University of Tartu unanimously appointed professor Tõnu Lehtsaar as the acting rector.

In his speech to the senate, Lehtsaar said that his primary goal as the university’s acting rector is to maintain stability and find a new rector. “We will keep the university going. I asked members of the Rector’s Office at the meeting this morning if they were willing to continue in their office. I didn’t expect them to answer right away, but they confirmed that we will go forward together,” he said.     

Tõnu Lehtsaar assumed office as acting rector on 27 December for a term of maximum one year but no longer than until 23 December 2018.

The university council will decide the time and procedure of rector elections.


Category: Continuing CoursesUniversity
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

IN MEMORIAM. Professor Volli Kalm, Rector of the University of Tartu (10 February 1953 – 23 December 2017)

3 weeks 1 day ago

Professor Volli Kalm, Rector of the University of Tartu (10 February 1953 – 23 December 2017)

On Saturday, 23 December, bright Christmas lights adorning the white columns of the University of Tartu main building went out. A candle with a black ribbon tied around it was lit under the clock in the foyer of the main building. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the University has lost its dignified leader, Estonian science and higher education its bold and wise spokesman, and Estonian nation its nationally-inclined intellectual of international stature – Rector Professor Volli Kalm.

Volli Kalm was born on 10 February 1953 in Vändra. After finishing secondary school in Vändra, he enrolled in the University of Tartu from which he graduated with a diploma in geology in 1976. He then did his graduate studies at the Institute of Geology of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. In 1984, he obtained his doctorate in geology and joined the staff of the University of Tartu as a lecturer at the Institute of Geology of the Faculty of Biology and Geography. In 1988, he spent a period at the University of Alberta as a postdoctoral scholar. He was elected professor of applied geology at the University of Tartu in 1992. Volli Kalm’s main fields of research were palaeoclimate, palaeogeography and chronology of glaciations, sedimentology and geoarchaeology.

Between 1998 and 2003, he served as Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs of the University of Tartu. In 2012, he was elected Rector of the University of Tartu. In summer 2017, when beginning his second term of office as the Rector, he could note with satisfaction that the University of Tartu has strengthened its position as Estonia’s national university and international research university, has achieved better integration of teaching and research activities with entrepreneurship training, and increased interdisciplinary cooperation. Under Volli Kalm’s leadership, the University of Tartu improved its position in international rankings by 200 places. He was far from ascribing this honour to himself alone; rather, he emphasised that the University’s success is the result of the dedicated work by all its employees and wise decisions made in the past.

Volli Kalm attached great importance to developing the University’s international links and raising its international profile. Under his leadership, the University of Tartu became a member of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities at its public launch in November 2016. In June this year, he was elected Treasurer and Member of the Board. He was confident that partnering up with the world’s top universities will enable the University of Tartu to participate in the shaping of Europe’s research policy. In their tributes, rectors and presidents of The Guild’s member universities hail him as a visionary leader for the network of Europe’s best research universities. In November this year Volli Kalm received an honorary doctorate from Tbilisi State University, Georgia.

He regarded the University of Tartu’s mission to serve its nation with the equal sense of responsibility. “Climbing higher in international university rankings cannot be the sole development goal of this University, since as a national university we have been entrusted with tasks much broader than those taken into account in the rankings, for example the development of Estonian-language higher education and scientific terminology, advancing Estonian national sciences and culture, and rearing new generations of Estonian intellectuals,” Kalm remarked in a recent interview to the cultural weekly Sirp.

During rector’s elections in spring, Volli Kalm was asked what he regards as his greatest achievement. This was his response: “The greatest achievement of my life are my sons and my contribution to the University leadership at its many different levels. My greatest research achievement is determining the temporal and spatial extent of glaciations in north-eastern Europe along with the related climate cycles, as well as supervising seven defended doctoral theses.”

As a leader, Volli Kalm was demanding and straightforward. Always a visionary with long-time goals, he undertook some sweeping reforms and planned far-reaching changes. Volli Kalm contributed to the reorganization of Estonia’s research funding system. He helped to establish the Estonian Research Council and served as its first chair. In his position as the Rector, he steered to completion the long-planned governance and structural reform of the University. His opinions carried a lot of weight with the Universitas Estonia (Estonian Rectors’ Conference). His contribution was highly valued in various advisory and decision-making bodies of Estonia.

Under his direction, the University has redesigned its curricula and become the largest development partner to businesses and public sector in the Baltics. He also fought for the consolidation of Estonian research institutions – a process set to receive a new impetus with the merger of Tartu Observatory and Estonian Biocenter with the University of Tartu, scheduled for the nearest future.

Being himself the son of a teacher, he attached great importance to teacher education. Every spring, when handing out diplomas to graduates, he never failed to emphasise the importance of the role of future schoolteachers. Each year, Volli Kalm’s personal donation helps to support the studies of one student training to become a teacher.

He regarded introducing a new academic career model to be one of the most important tasks of his second term of office. This process was ushered in with the adoption of new job descriptions of academic employees in December. Another topic of concern, which was important to him, was ensuring a decent income for doctoral students and dignified old-age pensions for the meritorious employees of the University. One project that remained unfinished was the construction of the Delta building – the University of Tartu’s centre for IT and entrepreneurship education.

Rector Volli Kalm’s devotion, consistency, and work ethic were exemplary. “We will remember him as an honest and demanding man whose position was always clear, who had a straightforward manner of expression, and a thorough knowledge of and caring attention to all of the University’s faculties. He was someone you could rely on,“ recalls one of his colleagues. “Volli’s entire working life can be summarized in one sentence: Straight way is the shortest way between two points and this way was laid down with precision and vigour. However, in his moments of leisure that Volli shared with his students and colleagues – be it while climbing in the mountains or hiking in the bogs near his summer cottage –, he forgot all his straightforwardness,“ recalls another close colleague of the late Rector.

Volli is said to have got his name from her mother Leida’s favourite brother Voldemar, who was called „Volli“ at home. Uncle was deported to Siberia where he froze to death because he gave his overcoat to someone who seemed to be freezing even more than he did. Volli Kalm spoke of his uncle’s compassion with respect and admiration. There is something symbolic in the fact that Volli Kalm passed away on his uncle Voldemar’s 115th anniversary.

Volli Kalm’s life was cut unfairly short. However, he managed to achieve a lot in his lifetime, among other things to be a loving father and husband to his family. We feel a deep sense of gratitude for the great services Professor Kalm as a scientist and Rector rendered to the University and to Estonian higher education, science and society.

Volli Kalm’s funeral will take place on Saturday, 30 December at 11am in the University Assembly Hall. The doors of the Assembly Hall will be opened from 10.30am. The funeral service will be followed by the interment in the Raadi cemetery and commemorative meeting in the White Hall of the University History Museum. Commemorative messages can be written in a book of remembrance in the foyer of the University Main Building, this can also be done on the University web page at:

We bow our heads in grief and respect to mourn the passing or our Rector, and extend our condolences to his family and friends.

The University of Tartu

Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Announcement by the Rector's Office

3 weeks 6 days ago

The University of Tartu is in deep mourning. Our Rector Professor Volli Kalm passed away yesterday. This is a loss difficult to put into words.

The University’s staff, students, alumni, collaborators, friends and supporters are all feeling bereft. The goals set by the Rector are in place and the University is firm in its resolve to move forward in the chosen direction. We are grateful for what he has done for the University and for the Estonian higher education, science and society.

Today, on the morning of 24 December, the Rector’s Office of the University of Tartu gathered to commemorate the late Rector and to decide on further steps regarding the University’s leadership.

According to the University’s Statutes, the University's Senate will appoint the Acting Rector. The Senate will hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, 27 December at 10:15 am.

The Rector’s Office unanimously decided to propose the Senate to appoint Professor Tõnu Lehtsaar as the Acting Rector. Professor Lehtsaar, who currently serves as a counsellor-chaplain of the University of Tartu, has proved himself as a strong and level-headed academic leader, having also served as the Acting Rector in 2007. The Statutes prescribe that the Acting Rector can be appointed for up to one year. The decision on the announcement of the Rector's election will be made by the Council of the University of Tartu.

The funeral service will be held on Saturday, 30 December at 11 am in the University Assembly Hall.

You can leave your message of condolences in the book of condolences at the foyer of the University Main Building or electronically at the UT webpage.

Christmas is the time of the year to spend time with the ones you love and think about what is really important in life. We wish all the members of the University the peace of mind and fortitude!

The University of Tartu Rector’s  Office

Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Rector Volli Kalm passed away

4 weeks ago

With great sorrow, the University of Tartu announces the unexpected death of Rector Volli Kalm on Saturday, December 23.

Volli Kalm was born on February 10, 1953 in Vändra. He graduated from the University of Tartu in 1976 with a degree in geology. In 1984, Kalm earned his PhD in geology from the Estonian Academy of Sciences after successfully defending his doctoral thesis "Formation, composition and usage of glaciofluvial deposits in Estonia."

From 1988-1989, he attended postdoctoral studies in the geology department of the University of Alberta.

From 1981 onwards, Kalm worked in the Department of Biology and Geography at the Institute of Geology at Tartu State University (later University of Tartu), and from 1998-2003, he served as the university's vice-rector for academic affairs.

In 2012, Kalm was elected rector of the University of Tartu; his second term as rector began on June 1, 2017.

Kalm was awarded the Order of the White Star, IV Class in 2005.

The deepest condolences of the entire university family go to the Rector's family. We bow our heads in grief. 

Volli Kalm (February 10, 1953 – December 23, 2017)


Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Kaleidoskoop winners announced at sTARTUp Day pitching marathon

1 month ago

On December 8, the sTARTUp Day international business festival was held in AHHAA science centre. On its four stages, one of which was UT IdeaLab pitching stage, business ideas were presented and teams competed. The event brought together a total of 2600 visitors.

On IdeaLab stage, 62 teams from Estonia and other countries presented their business ideas. Each had 2-3 minutes to explain their business idea to the audience, point out its novelty, users of the product and the amount of money needed by the team to develop the idea further. Seven competitions took place – Kaleidoskoop finals, the final round of STARTER programme, Prototron TOP 10, EstLat-Accelerate, Cocoon, Est-Fin Pitch Match Startup Wise Guys TOP 10 and sTARTUp Pitching.

Kaleidoskoop winner was Decomer Technology, who received tickets to the European Innovation Academy in Portugal as an award. Decomer Technology develops bioprotein-based bioplastics, which they currently use for packaging honey. Bioplastic dissolves in hot tea water and is not harmful to health, therefore it is an eco-friendly and convenient alternative to sugar. The University of Tartu prize went to the team Edible, who go to Oulu Polar Bear Pitching, where they have to pitch in an ice hole. Edible is a student company that produces edible and biodegradable eating utensils. Tartu City Government’s monetary prize was granted to the team Seniorship, who plans to offer traineeship and retraining opportunities for the elderly.

Four teams previously selected in Tallinn and two selected on the same day in Tartu (incl. Decomer Technology and Espuro, who also competed in Kaleidoskoop finals) made it to the final round of STARTER, which also culminated in presentation of awards. The international jury decided that the best STARTER team was Decomer Technology, who got an opportunity to pitch on sTARTUp Day main stage with five best teams, and tickets to the Arctic15 business festival.

“Before sTARTUp Day we were very excited and although we were quite confident, it was impossible to predict the jury’s decision in such a tough competition, so we held our breath until the announcement. Emotions were running high after winning the first prize, the possibility to participate in the EIA programme in Portugal is awesome and gives a great boost to our startup. The further victory and tickets to Arctic 15, as well as the opportunity to pitch on the main stage added to our enthusiasm and it was nice that our idea was successful with so many people,” said Mart Salumäe, co-founder of Decomer Technology.

According to IdeaLab manager Maret Ahonen, this was the largest ever pitching marathon in Tartu. “You do not have many possibilities in Estonia to present your business ideas to such a large international audience. Therefore, in a way, all who pitched were winners. Besides, there were so many interesting events during the day. sTARTUp Day was an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and make new contacts,” said Ahonen.

STARTER programme is supported by the European Social Fund.

The EstLat-Accelerate project is supported by the Estonian-Latvian cross-border programme 20142020. The programme is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Contact: Maret Ahonen, Manager of UT IdeaLab, 522 5910, maret.ahonen [ät]

Category: Entrepreneurship
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Merger agreement of Tartu Observatory and the University of Tartu signed

1 month 1 week ago

Minister of education and research Mailis Reps and rector of the University of Tartu Volli Kalm signed the merger agreement of Tartu Observatory and the University of Tartu today, on 13 December. Tõravere-based Tartu Observatory will operate as an institute in the Faculty of Science and Technology as of 1 January 2018.

Minister Mailis Reps said that the rearrangement of the network of research institutions helps to ensure the stability and quality of research and development activities. “Being a part of the university gives more stability and the merger means additional development opportunities in cooperation with other faculties and partners of the university,” said Reps.

Vice rector for research of the University of Tartu Kristjan Vassil said that the university and the observatory have always had common research projects and the merger of the two institutions will definitely contribute to substantive integration. “In the course of pre-merger preparations we have been assured that both parties will benefit from this cooperation,” said Vassil. 

“What the general public knows best is the student satellite project ESTCube, in which our students and researchers together with the observatory’s researchers successfully conducted Estonia’s first ever space mission for testing space technologies. Currently, ESTCube-2 is being prepared,” said Vassil and added that Tõravere is called the centre for Estonian space studies for a reason.

Director of Tartu Observatory Anu Reinart also pointed out other areas of activity besides astronomy and space technology. “A good example of close cooperation with the university is the so-called environmental observatory for remote sensing of vegetation, atmosphere, water bodies etc.,” Reinart explained, adding that the merger of the two institutions will offer numerous opportunities for better integration of research and studies. 

Reinart also mentioned business cooperation. “I believe that together with the University of Tartu, we can offer better opportunities for collaboration with Estonian enterprises in developing high-tech equipment. Tartu Observatory is steadily moving towards becoming the research and higher education centre in the area of remote sensing and space technology in the Nordic and Baltic region,” she said.

The merger is supported by the ASTRA programme.

Category: Continuing CoursesUniversityPress release
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

sTARTUp Day 2017 business festival starts in Tartu

1 month 1 week ago

On Thursday, the 7th of December, the biggest business festival in the Baltics takes off with over 2500 attendees from 27 countries.

The sTARTUp Day 2017 business festival is happening only for the 2nd time, but just as last year, the event has been sold out. The theme of this year’s event “From Zero To Hero” focuses on how to work oneself to the top with limited resources. During the opening day there will be numerous side-events around the city of Tartu: trainings and seminars on production, education, biotechnology, business and export topics.


On Friday, the 8th of December, the main festival day at Science Centre AHHAA takes place from morning until evening. Over 100 keynote speaker will step on the 4 stages of sTARTUp Day during the festival day. In addition, numerous seminars, training and pitching competitions will take place at the venue. As a big finale, the Best Early Stage Startup-up of Estonia will be announced on the main stage, who will receive investment and recognition as the most promising startup to watch.


The City of Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas is feeling proud that sTARTUp Day has emerged to be one of the business cards of Tartu as a top entrepreneurship centre, though having emerged just a year ago. “All development organisations work on the mutual goal of creating an attractive environment for businesses and start-ups in Tartu, enabling the innovative ideas to establish into successful business models. Our efforts are assured as 13 of the TOP 30 ideas of the TV program Ajujaht came from Tartu or Tartu county,” Klaas adds.


“The massive event that has sTARTUp Day become, started from just a modest idea by the University of Tartu of merging all the small events into one. Seeing the international success now, 2 years later, we can say that we succeeded,” Erik Puura, the Vice Rector for Development of the University of Tartu, is now certain.


sTARTUp Day 2017 is organized by the University of Tartu, City of Tartu and the local startup community. The festiva’ls Gold sponsor in Swedbank Estonia, Silver sponsors are Elisa and Pipedrive, Bronze sponsor Contriber. Project is supported by European Regional Development Fund.


More information, as well as the link to a live feed, can be found on the festival website.


Contact: Marelle Ellen, sTARTUp Day 2017 Head of Marketing & PR, +372 52 690 71, marelle.ellen [ät]

Category: EntrepreneurshipPress release
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Kaleidoskoop’s top 10 prepare for sTARTUp Day

1 month 2 weeks ago

On Thursday Nov 30, UT IdeaLab student project and business idea competition Kaleidoskoop took place. 43 teams partook in the competition and the top 10 were selected to the next round - Kaleidoskoop Finals at sTARTUp Day on the UT IdeaLab pitching stage.

This semester’s competition included ideas from a wide area of topics, a large number of which included apps or websites.

This semester’s TOP 10 are:

ANNY - A device, that helps disc golf players to locate lost discs quickly and therefore saves time, money and nerves.
Decomer Technology OÜ - Biodegradable bioprotein polymer films. The first product is water-soluble honey packages.
Edible - Cutlery that is edible and biodegradable.
Espuro - An air purifier, smart connected product, that not only purifies the air with reliable and latest technologies, but also adds humidity to the air.
IamDead - Website that organises your social medial profiles when you die.
Juice³ - We make natural cubed Juice concentrate.
Russó - Change everyday fashion for men by creating special bow ties and briefcases.
Seniorship - Seniorship is a web platform that offers internships for people aged 50+ and brings them together with companies.
SILK - A an app which collects information about sales from different clothing shops.
StartLegal - A chatbot that helps people to get access to legal help and receive legal advice.

“We are very excited to participate in the biggest business festival in Estonia, and are definitely looking forward to it!” said Hugo Palm, the creator of Juice³ after making it to the top 10. Another finalist, the founder of Decomer Technology OÜ Mart Salume, added that their team feels confident, but they understand that competition is tough and it’s not going to be an easy ride.

Out of the 43 teams that participated in Kaleidoskoop’s first round, 16 were teams of the STARTER program, based in Tartu, Pärnu and Narva. The best 10 teams will get to Kaleidoskoop finals at sTARTUp Day where they can pitch their ideas on the UT IdeaLab's pitching stage. There will we 3 major awards - ticket to European Innovation Academy, world’s largest extreme entrepreneurship program in Portugal, a chance to pitch in Polar Bear Pitching, an event held in Oulu which puts competitors in extreme contitions, in ice cold water, and a financial award from the city of Tartu.

“We are very happy that the first round of Kaleidoskoop has become an attractive event fro teams with different backgrounds. We had competitors from high schools, UT-s different courses as well as from out STARTER program, and the ideas included both web solutions as well as physical products. The common nominator for the teams was the desire to show themselves, get feedback on the work they’ve done and the chance to present their idea at the international sTARTUp Day,” said Maret Ahnonen, Manager of UT IdeaLab.

Kaleidoskoop is the last event in the autumn semester’s program and Idealab is now ready to prepare for spring 2018. Right before Estonia’s 100th birthday, on February 22th, an inspiration event called „Idea Storm: 100 ideas, that will change the world“ is once again held. Dozens of experienced mentors are expected to join close to 300 participants to discuss finding solutions to problematic situations in many areas. The groups created, along with their ideas, are given the chance to grow through the STARTER Basic program in spring.  

For students, Idealab is hosting the Student Startup Camp in collaboration with Garage48. The camp will be held during the winter break in early February and has previously brought over 100 students together, all with the goal to develop an idea to a prototype in just five days.

The STARTER programme and Kaleidoskoop are supported by the European Social Fund.

Contact: Maret Ahonen, Manager of UT IdeaLab, +372 522 5910, maret.ahonen [ät]

Category: Entrepreneurship
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

University of Tartu is celebrating 98th birthday of Estonian-language university

1 month 2 weeks ago

Friday, December 1 2017 marks the 98th birthday of the Estonia’s national university in Tartu. To celebrate the event, several events take place during the week-long celebrations – honorary doctorates and doctorates are conferred, the University’s honorary member named and the laurate of The University of Tartu Award for Contribution to Estonian National Identity named.

The celebrations started at the Pärnu college on Tuesday Nov 28. In Tartu, the events start a day later, on Wednesday Nov 29. The varied program includes a suitable event for all UT students, alumni as well as the general public.

The Rector of the University Volli Kalm emphasizes the importance of the national university in his address: “The country and society of Estonia lives in the wait of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, just as the University of Tartu prepares for the 100th birthday of the Estonian university, higher education and clerisy. For a small nation, a national university and own-language higher education is a great privilege. The entire university feels the opportunities and responsibilities this privilege includes. We call upon all Estonians and our charitable partners to support the national university’s mission.” In the preparation for the 100th anniversary celebrations, all can contribute to the cause through fundraising campaigns, among others means.

In the formal ceremony of the birthday of the national university, 5 honorary doctorates and 141 PhD degrees defended within the previous year are conferred. The title of the honorary doctor of the University of Tartu is conferred upon Mihály Hoppál, the Doctor of Science of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Honorary Doctor in Folkloristics and Semiotics), Salme Näsi, Professor of the University of Tampere (Honorary Doctor in Economics), Kauko Antti Markku Kaste, Professor Emeritus of the University of Helsinki (Honorary Doctor in Neurology), Eske Willerslev, Professor of the University of Copenhagen (Honorary Doctor in National Sciences) and Vladimir Veksler, Professor of the Paris-Sud University (Honorary Doctor in Pharmacology). The recipient of the UT Contribution to Estonian National Identity award will be announced. This award is granted to recognize individuals who in their creative pursuits have shown outstanding achievements in promoting the national cultural identity of Estonia. The academic lecture “National University in the Digital Society” will be given by Marju Lauristin, the Professor of Social Communication. The ceremony can be viewed on the UTTV website.

This year’s 98th anniversary marks the birth of the Estonian-language University of Tartu in 1919, and is celebrated in three cities – Tartu, Pärnu and Viljandi. The programme includes public lectures, opening of a photo exhibition, the traditional torchlight procession dating back to the first Republic, as well as a ball.

The entire program can be viewed on the University website.

Contact: Kady Sõstar, Senior Specialist of the International Cooperation Unit, 737 5685, kady.sostar [ät]

Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

International community discusses the Viking Age in Tartu

1 month 3 weeks ago

On December 1-3, Tartu hosts the conference Crossing Disciplinary Borders in Viking Age Studies, the 7th Austmarr Symposium, which brings together experts from different parts of the world.

The Austmarr Symposium is a series of international research conferences, which have been arranged annually since 2011, addressing topics of Viking Age and Medieval contacts across the Baltic Sea. Three keynote speakers have been invited: Prof. Jens Peter Schjødt (Aarhus University), who speaks about Odin and pagan Nordic religion, Prof. Anne-Sofie Gräslund (Uppsala University), who speaks about her experience as an archaeologist of interdisciplinary cooperation on Viking Age topics, and Ass. Prof. Henrik Janson (Gothenburg University), who speaks about the dangers of the use of different types of material in the studies of Nordic pagan religion.

This year’s conference brings researchers to Tartu to discuss the problems, challenges and solution in all kinds of interdisciplinary approaches to Viking Age studies, the use of material from different disciplines to shed light on the material from others. Tthere will be a special focus on the problems and possibilities in the combination of archaeological finds and Icelandic written sources as well on the use of archaeological finds and Icelandic texts in the reconstruction of pagan Nordic religion. The Austmarr symposium is organized in rotation, and it now returns to Tartu, where this series of conferences started in 2011.

"This is a perfect opportunity to discuss currently debated issues such as the existence of female Viking warriors and the interpretation of the Salme finds, issues which are much discussed in Estonia too. There will be special sessions at the conference for both these topics, and everybody interested is welcome to listen", the conference organizer Daniel Sävborg says.

The three-day conference is held at the main building of the University of Tartu with 85 registered participants. 40 researchers from Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, UK, USA, Russia, Lithuania, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Italy will present their research within the field. The main organizer is the Professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Tartu, Daniel Sävborg.

Contact: Daniel Sävborg, conference organizer, 737 6250, daniel.savborg [ät] (in English)
Viivika Voodla, academic affairs specialist, 737 5212, viivika.voodla [ät] (in Estonian)

Category: ResearchPress release
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Research focuses on Russia’s role and activity in the European Court of Human Rights

1 month 3 weeks ago

A new volume "Russia and the European Court of Human Rights: the Strasbourg Effect" has just been published at Cambridge University Press, which sheds a light on how Russia has managed in the European Court of Human Rights during the last nearly 20 years.

The volume has been co-edited by Lauri Mälksoo, Professor of International Law at the University of Tartu, and Wolfgang Bendek, Professor Emeritus of International law at the University of Graz in Austria. Both lawyers and political scientists from the EU countries as well Russia have contributed to the book as authors. The main research question is whether and in what sense we can speak of Russia's human rights-friendly socialization in the Strasbourg system. The secondary focus is also on Russia’s effect on the system.

According to Professor Lauri Mälksoo when Russia became member of the Council of Europe in 1996, the optimistic socialization theory prevailed. The hope was that human rights-friendly institutions, such as the European Court of Human Rights itself, would eventually help new and 'weaker' member states to improve their record. Instead, the story of Russia's 'socialization' has been one of difficulties.

“The writings of Valery Zorkin, the head of the Russian Constitutional Court and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, are quite significant in this sense, and are also studied in the volume. In 2015, the Russian Constitutional Court decided that the country would not implement judgments of the Strasbourg court that it finds would contradict the Russian Constitution. So in the final analysis, the Strasbourg effect has been mixed - it has supported progress in some areas but in other and in some ways foundational aspects has fueled official Russia's opposition to liberal, secular and individual-centered human rights protection system,” the editor Lauri Mälksoo states.

The research informing this book was supported inter alia by the Estonian Research Council (grant IUT20-50) and the European Inter-University Centre (EIUC) in Venice, Italy.

Contact: Lauri Mälksoo, editor of the volume, 737 6042, lauri.malksoo [ät]

Category: Research
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Inaugural lecture by Peter Hwang “The Rise of Asia and Differences of Management Styles between East and West”

1 month 4 weeks ago
22.11.2017 On November 22 at 16.15, UT Professor of Asian Economy Peter Hwang will deliver his inaugural lecture in the University of Tartu assembly hall. The lecture deals with the rise of Asia and differences in Eastern and Western management styles.  The economic and political capabilities and importance of Asian countries, especially China, has been on the rise in the world.  This forces the current leading countries in the Western world to constantly put in more effort to stay in competition with Asian countries in terms of their rising production capabilities and ability to find innovative solutions.  The lecture will discuss the fast progress of China’s economic rise and the management issues supporting the rise. “In what ways are the management styles different in the East and West?  What influence do they have on the economy, entrepreneurship and business culture in general? How it all connects to a deeper cultural background, differences between Eastern and Western cultures?” says Professor Hwang to describe the topics discussed.  Peter Hwang is from Taiwan, where he started to pursue higher education. He defended his doctoral thesis at Michigan State University, USA, in 1988, and from 1988 to 1999, he worked as associate professor in the City University of New York, in the National Taiwan University and in the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Professor Hwang has also been a Dean and Professor for the School of Business of Sampoerna University (Indonesia) and Chairman of the Board for Yangzhou Bulb Group (China). In the spring of 2017, Peter Hwang was elected as Professor of Asian Economy in the University of Tartu. Professor Hwang’s work in Tartu is supported by the University of Tartu’s ASTRA project PER ASPERA and financed by the European Regional Development Fund. All are welcome to the inaugural lecture. Live webcast and later viewing of the recording is available on UTTV.  Additional information: Kady Sõstar, Senior Specialist for Protocol, International Cooperation Unit, 511 9188, kady.sostar [ät] Category: StudiesPress release
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Hackathon uses data to make an impact on society

2 months 1 week ago

On Friday, November 10, a 48-hour "Social Impact Data Hack 2017" will begin at the University of Tartu, which explores the possibilities of contributing to society by using big data from various public institutions and private enterprises.

The datathon, organised in cooperation with the UT Institute of Computer Science and the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, aims to identify social problems, raise awareness, untangle myths and fallacies and provide potential solutions to issues in the society by means of data analysis and machine learning. Marlon Dumas, one of the organisers of the event and Professor in Information Systems, explains the focus of the hackathon: “We keep hearing that data is power. Companies use it to gain competitive advantage in all kinds of businesses. Why not use it to benefit society?”

Over 20 social ideas will be pitched at the hackathon. These include, for example, issues of child welfare, monitoring of crowdsourced processes, analysis of court cases data, predicting the election results, and automated discovery of corruption cases. The participants choose among the ideas and start developing them until Sunday when the results are presented and winners announced.

The hackathon brings together about 200 data and computer scientists, journalists, economists, political scientists, as well as other students and experts. Social Impact Data Hack 2017 is supported by the H2020 grant SoBigData research infrastructure.

For more information, please visit the website of the hackathon and the Facebook event.

Additional information: Marlon Dumas, Professor in Information Systems, 56377557, marlon.dumas [ät]

Category: International
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

International community discusses cybersecurity in Tartu

2 months 1 week ago

On  November 8-10, Tartu hosts the Nordic Conference on Secure IT Systems, which brings together experts from different parts of the world.

NordSec is an annual research conference series of the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia), addressing topics of data security. The conference papers are published by the renowned Springer publishing company. Three keynote speakers have been invited: Prof. Aggelos Kiayias of the University of Edinburgh, who speaks about blockchain; Senior Research Fellow Ilya Mironov of Google, whose topic is privacy in machine learning; and Senior Research Fellow Dario Fiore of IMDEA Software Institute, who speaks about authentication of computing. The conference has eighteen subtopics in which authors introduce their research.

This year’s conference brings researchers to Tartu to discuss cybersecurity, cryptography and privacy. The conference is organised in rotation and Estonia is the organiser in every sixth year. “Previously, NordSec has been held in Tartu in 2005 and in Tallinn in 2011. This time it is held in Tartu again, namely because a large community of our cryptography specialists work here,” explains the general chair of the conference, UT Lead Research Fellow of Cryptography Helger Lipmaa.

The three-day conference is held at Dorpat Convention Centre and convenes more than 50 scientists from the USA, Japan, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and several other countries. The organising committee is led by UT associate professor Raimundas Matulevičius.

Additional information: Helger Lipmaa, General Chair, 5333 0233, helger.lipmaa [ät]

Category: Research
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

21 research institutions signed the research integrity agreement

2 months 1 week ago

On 1 November, Estonian universities, research institutions, the Estonian Research Council and the Ministry of Education and Research signed the Estonian Code of Conduct for Research Integrity Agreement.

By joining the Estonian Code of Conduct for Research Integrity Agreement, the research institutions confirmed that they respect the main values of research and the principles of action described in the text of the Estonian Code of Conduct for Research Integrity finalized in 2017 in cooperation between Estonian research institutions, the Estonian Academy of Sciences, the Estonian Research Council, and the Ministry of Education and Research.

 Professor Margit Sutrop, Head of the Centre for Ethics at the University of Tartu, said that we are still at the beginning of a long road ahead. Every research institution retains the right to decide how to raise its members’ awareness of these principles, how to ensure their observance and how to establish procedural rules for dealing with cases of misconduct. “Now, when the document is finally signed, it is necessary to think how research institutions, individually or in cooperation, could help researchers in practice so that they would have the best conditions for doing their work in an ethically appropriate way. The institutions must also be ready to deal with possible cases of misconduct,” Professor Sutrop explained.

As of today, 21 research institutions have signed the the Estonian Code of Conduct for Research Integrity Agreement and by signing have agreed to follow the code. In addition, the Estonian Research Council and the Ministry of Education and Research also signed the agreement.


The Estonian Code of Conduct for Research Integrity Agreement was signed by

Bio-Competence Centre of Healthy Dairy Products LLC

Cybernetica AS

Competence Center of Food and Fermentation Technology

Estonian Academy of Arts

Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre

Estonian Biocentre

Estonian Business School

Estonian Crop Research Institute

Estonian Literary Museum

Estonian National Museum

Estonian University of Life Sciences

Institute of the Estonian Language

National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics

National Institute of Health and Development

Software Technology and Applications Competence Center

Tallinn University

Tallinn University of Technology

The Competence Centre on Health Technologies

Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences

University of Tartu, including Tartu Observatory

Estonian Research Council

Ministry of Education and Research


The proposal to sign the Estonian Code of Conduct for Research Integrity Agreement was made to all 22 positively evaluated research and development institutions in Estonia. The names of all the signatories will be published alongside the Estonian Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and the Estonian Code of Conduct for Research Integrity Agreement on the homepage of the Estonian Research Council. 

Additional information: Margit Sutrop, Head of centre for Ethics, margit.sutrop [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp University of Tartu Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5683
Mob: +(372) 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]



Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

University of Tartu celebrates the Day of Gustavus Adolphus

2 months 2 weeks ago

On Monday, 6 November, the University of Tartu celebrates the Day of Gustavus Adolphus, the King of Sweden and founder of the university of Tartu, and the 385th anniversary of Academia Gustaviana. The programme includes lectures, a Baroque concert and an exhibition.

“The traditional Day of Gustavus Adolphus emphasises the importance of education, aspiration for higher ideals and cooperation. These important principles of the Universitas have remained essentially the same over the centuries,” said Kristina Mullamaa, head of the UT Department of Scandinavian Studies.

At 14:00, the exhibition “Travellers’ portraits” is opened in Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies (Lossi 36).

At 15:00, professor of literature at Uppsala University and director of Uppsala University Library Lars Burman delivers a lecture “From cottages to great palaces. Four careers in the 17th century“. This is followed by a lecture by Kristi Viiding, senior research fellow of Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, “Shaping history through poetry: Friedrich Menius' Latin and German epicedia for Gustavus Adolphus”. The lectures take place at Jakobi 2-114.

At 17:20, flowers are placed at Johan Skytte monument on Toomemägi and at the monument of Gustav II Adolf near the university’s main building.

The day ends with the Baroque music concert, which starts at 18:00 in the assembly hall. The programme “Queen Christina of Sweden and her time. Musical bridges in the 17th-century Europe” is performed by Pirjo Jonas (soprano) and a Baroque music ensemble including Meelis Orgse (baroque viola), Villu Vihermäe (viola da gamba, baroque cello), Kristo Käo (theorbo, baroque quitar). Brilliant music by Corelli, Monteverdi, Purcell, Baltzar and other Baroque composers will be played. The concert is free for all.

Celebrations of the Day of Gustavus Adolphus and the 385th anniversary of Academia Gustaviana are organised by the University of Tartu, UT Department of Scandinavian Studies, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden to Estonia and the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Estonia.

Additional information: Kady Sõstar, UT Senior Specialist for Protocol, 511 9188, kady.sostar [ät]

Viivika Eljand-Kärp University of Tartu Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5683
Mob: +(372) 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät]




Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)
43 minutes 5 seconds ago
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