Genome Centre’s information day explains the benefit of our genetic data

1 week 4 days ago
13.06.2017

On 14 June at 15:00 the Genome Centre’s information day is held in the assembly hall of the University of Tartu, where experts explain what can be done with genetic data and how the data gathered in the course of research study can become valuable for ordinary people.

Nearly 5% of the Estonian adult population, i.e. 52,000 people have trusted their data with the Estonian Genome Centre, thereby hoping to contribute to the development of science, but also to gain some useful information about their health in return. While until 2011, the main objective of the Genome Centre was to create the extensive database and conduct research based on the data in order to find associations between human genome variants and the phenotype – incl. diseases; this year the centre started a major project which enables to complete the genotyping of all gene donors. 

“On the basis of the database, personal gene cards are prepared for gene donors, creating new opportunities for evaluating personal health risks and explaining them to participants who have expressed such request. Analysing the person’s genetic data and involving data on the environment, health behaviour and common diseases, it is possible to prepare an optimum disease prevention or treatment plan for each person. For example, gene data help doctors to select the most suitable drug for the person from similar alternatives and establish the proper dosage, as each person reacts somewhat differently to medications. Knowing our hereditary risks, we can alter our health behaviour so as to be able to reduce such risks,” said Annely Allik, Manager of Communication of Estonian Genome Centre.

The information day offers presentations by Professor Andres Metspalu, who introduces the project “Feedback to Gene Donor”, and UT senior researchers, who introduce the various areas of the project: medical geneticist Dr Neeme Tõnisson speaks of the benefit of the genetic feedback for people, Dr Krista Fischer observes the hereditary risks of common diseases and Dr Lili Milani explains the relationship between genes and drug unsuitability. UT Senior Research Fellow Elin Org introduces the soon-to-be-launched microbiome project, and Manager of Communication of the Estonian Genome Centre Annely Allik speaks about the possibilities of joining the project. After presentations, everyone is free to ask questions.

All interested are welcome to attend.

The information event is free for participants with prior registration. Please register via this form.

Recording of the event can be viewed later on www.uttv.ee.

Additional information: Annely Allik, Manager of Communication, University of Tartu Estonian Genome Centre, 737 4037, Annely.allik [ät] ut.ee

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

 

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

University of Tartu keeps rising in world university rankings

1 week 5 days ago
12.06.2017

The University of Tartu (UT) has once again improved its position in the prestigious QS World University Rankings published today, reaching 314th place. Compared to last year, UT has improved its position by 33 places.

Compared to 2015, UT has moved up a total of 65 places. Considering the fact that there are nearly 26,000 universities in the world, this places UT among the top 1.2%.

The international consultation firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which prepares the list, uses six indicators when ranking universities: the university’s reputation among academic leaders and employers (40% and 10% of the total mark respectively); ratio of academic staff to students (20%); the influence of scientific publications, i.e. the number of references per academic employee (20%); and the ratio of foreign students and foreign employees (5% of the total mark each).

UT improved its place in four out of the six QS indicators. The rise in the “university’s reputation among academic leaders and employers” indicator is particularly noteworthy (90 places compared to last year). The university has also risen in the “ratio of academic staff to students” and “ratio of foreign students” indicators, by 26 and 21 places, respectively. In the scientific influence indicator (“number of references per academic employee”) UT improved its position by 10 places.


When preparing the list, QS took 4000 universities into consideration, of which 980 were listed. First place went once again to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by Stanford University and Harvard University. The University of Cambridge, ranked fifth, is the best-performing European university.

The full list is visible on the QS World University Rankings 2017/18 website.
More information on the method is available on the QS website.

Additional information: Erik Puura, Acting Director of Administration, 506 9882, erik.puura [ät] ut.ee

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

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

University of Tartu retains title of most prestigious university in Estonia

1 week 5 days ago
12.06.2017

A recent survey of the reputation of universities conducted by Kantar Emor confirmed that the University of Tartu (UT) remains the most prestigious university in Estonia.

85% of the respondents to this year’s survey considered UT the most prestigious university in Estonia, which means that it continues to enjoy an excellent reputation which is continually improving. In addition, 90% of those aged 15-74 named UT as the first Estonian institution of higher education that comes to mind. This excellent reputation and spontaneous popularity show the stable leading position of UT in the field of Estonian higher education.

UT is most highly appreciated for the quality of the education it offers. Representatives of different age groups continue to consider a UT diploma (which is highly regarded on the labour market) and the university’s credibility to be very important. Successful alumni of UT whose current positions and activities represent the skills and knowledge they acquired at the university are also noted as significant pillars of its reputation.

In subject rankings, computer science continues to lead while technical subjects are also gaining in popularity. Over the past five years, the top five has included health care/medicine, law, business and economics, which continue to maintain their high positions.

“I’m really happy that the University of Tartu is active in modern areas of technology like computer science and informatics, IT law, entrepreneurship and innovation, gene technology and material science, which are considered subjects full of potential by the general public in Estonia as well,” said Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs Mart Noorma. “The fact that UT is contributing to these fields can also be seen in the fact that Delta – the new study and research building of the School of Economics and Business Administration, Institute of Computer Science and Institute of Mathematics and Statistics – is due for completion in autumn 2019.”

The students of today and tomorrow view the University of Tartu as a strong and secure choice for the future, which in addition to high-quality education offers varied student life and spirit and a sense of community.


The Kantar Emor reputation survey is the most anticipated survey among universities. This year a total of 1372 people age 15-74 took part.

More information: Mart Noorma, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, UT, +372 52 39 159, mart.noorma [ät] ut.ee

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

 

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Rector Volli Kalm was elected board member of reputable GUILD network of research-intensive universities

2 weeks 3 days ago
07.06.2017

On 1 and 2 June the Forum and General Assembly of the Guild of European Research Intenstive Universities (the Guild) took place in Brussels. At the meeting the Guild elected a new Board of Directors and admitted a new member university.

The General Assembly of rectors of the Guild network universities elected a new Board composed of:
•    Vincent Blondel, Catholic University of Louvain (chair)
•    Eva Åkesson, Uppsala University (vice chair)
•    Volli Kalm, University of Tartu (board member in charge of budget)
•    Anton Muscatelli, University of Glasgow 

The Guild’s Board of Directors is a standing governing body responsible for the implementation of the network’s strategic goals, management and monitoring the budget. The Board is accountable to General Assembly; its term of office is three years.

At the meeting the General Assembly decided to admit the University of Bern of Switzerland as a new member to the network.

At the Guild Forum “Universities, Research and the Future of Europe” on 1 June, members of the network and speakers invited from the European Commission and Parliament discussed how to better shape the research and innovation policy in the context of Europe’s future.

The Guild is an organisation of European research-intensive universities, founded in summer 2016.  The network opened an office in Brussels to be actively involved in the EU institutions’ policy-making process and represent the interests of 19 member universities.

Although it has operated for a short time only, the Guild has already proved to be an active and serious player in European higher education and research circles. The member universities have jointly submitted proposals for opening Framework Programme 9, and interim evaluations of Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.

Additional information: Kristi Kerge, UT Head of International Cooperation, 529 7677, 737 6123, kristi.kerge [ät] ut.ee
 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Swedish Embassy and Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Estonia acknowledge students' achievements with a scholarship

2 weeks 3 days ago
06.06.2017

The Department of Scandinavian Studies at the UT College of Foreign Languages and Cultures is proud to announce two scholarships worth 500 euros to Bachelor students majoring in Swedish language and literature. 

The scholarship is financed by the Embassy of Sweden and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Estonia, whose aim is to support and develop business relations between Estonia and Sweden. According to the director of the college, Kersti Lepajõe, the supporters' activities and large membership of the chamber are a good example of how many companies actually need experts who are well acquainted with the important cultural aspects of a foreign country: "In order for the business relations to be successful, we need mediators, who know the business climate and traditions in both Estonia and Sweden. In addition to experts skilled in economics and business in general, we also need people who are experts in the language and culture."

The scholarship is intended as a motivation and support for students demonstrating outstanding academic achievements, as well as active use of the skills and knowledge acquired in Swedish philology in professional life and society.

 

The application deadline is the 15th of June 2017

All the documents needed for applying and the conditions of the scholarship are available on the homepage of the Department of Scandinavian Studies

Information:

Kristina Mullamaa
Head of the Department of Scandinavian Studies
kristina.mullamaa [ät] ut.ee

Viivika Voodla
Academic Affairs Specialist
viivika.voodla [ät] ut.ee
Lossi 3-209
+372 737 5212

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

An exclusive business development program NGAL starts on Monday!

2 weeks 5 days ago
05.06.2017

This year, an exclusive business development program NGAL® (Network Globally, Act Locally) takes place from 5th to 24th June, engaging five universities from USA and Estonia. The program starts with the boot camp at UT IdeaLab and ends with a launch-camp in Charleston, USA. University of Tartu will be represented by two teams: STARTER program graduate Cody and the Coulomb Sailing Group.  

NGAL® is a three-week learning program for early-stage student teams. During the program, student teams will develop their MVP-s,  get guidance from business mentors and have a chance to explore your business potential at the global market. The program ends with the pitching event in Charleston where the best teams will be awarded. 

University of Tartu will be represented by two teams:  IdeaLab STARTER program graduate Cody and the Coulomb Sailing Program Group. Cody is a personal coding platform that teaches coding like Lingvist teaches languages, with numerous interactive exercises. The Coulomb Sailing Group is developing a business case in order to involve investors into the space technology sector and working with two cutting-edge technologies.

One of the team members of the Coulomb Sailing Group, Triin Teppo is hoping to get a motivational boost from NGAL to go on with their project and dream even bigger.  "We applied for the program because we see it as a good opportunity to understand how competitive our project will be in the international market," says Teppo.

According to Maret Ahonen, the Head of IdeaLab, NGAL is an unique project that gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their business models in a multicultural environment, with the support of international experts. "During the program, Estonian students can validate their business model in the US market, and American students learn about our start-up ecosystem," she explains the benefits for both parties.

This year, NGAL takes place for the third time, linking two Estonian and three US universities: University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, College of Charleston, The Citadel (Military College of South Carolina) and Nebraska Wesleyan University.

The project is financed by Harry and Reba Huge Foundation. 

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

 



 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Nearly 2400 learners participated in the University for Senior Citizens this year

3 weeks ago
03.06.2017

This academic year’s last lecture of the UT University for Senior Citizens was held in Türi last week. In 2016/2017, approximately 2400 learners all over Estonia participated in the programmes of the University for Senior Citizens.

The University for Senior Citizens has drawn positive response and attitude both within the university and in Estonia as a whole. The number of participants and those who have completed the programme has increased every year. When the University for Senior Citizens was opened in Pärnu at the initiative of the college in the 2009/2010 academic year, 297 participants received the certificate. This year 1830 participants all over Estonia completed the programme. Over the years the activities of the University for Senior Citizens have expanded besides Pärnu to Tartu, Tallinn, Kuressaare, Türi, Narva, Valga and Keila. In Narva and Tallinn also lectures in Russian are offered.

The most popular lectures are still ones on health and cultural issues. In several regions also language courses, workshops and study trips are organised in addition to lectures. Project manager of the Tartu and Tallinn programmes of UT University for Senior Citizens Karmel Tall speaks highly of the regional coordinators of the university and encourages new learners to join the programme, “Studies at the University for Senior Citizens start traditionally in September. We expect all former participants to return and new inquisitive seniors to join us.”

Activities of the UT University for Senior Citizens are supported by local governments, the Gambling Tax Council, and private entrepreneurs. The average age of participants is more than 70 years. In 2015, the Ministry of Education and Research recognised the University of Tartu’s University for Senior Citizens with the title of the Learning Deed of the Year.

UT University for Senior Citizens has been established following the principles of lifelong learning in order to respond flexibly to societal changes and needs, and offer learning opportunities for various target groups.

Additional information: Karmel Tall, UT Project Manager for Continuing Education, 505 7433, karmel.tall [ät] ut.ee

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

 

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Oil palm exhibition in the Botanical Garden makes people review their consumption habits

3 weeks 2 days ago
01.06.2017

The University of Tartu Botanical Garden will open an exhibition, which is dedicated to the oil palm and seeks answers to the question why manufacturers prefer palm oil and whether consumer choices can save the environment.

Among all the goods in shops and stores it is not easy to find a product that does not contain palm oil. However, to found oil palm plantations, rainforests – the most species-rich places on our planet – are cut down. If the use of palm oil is constantly increasing, the question how long the rainforests survive is asked more and more often.

“With this exhibition we would like to draw our visitors’ attention to a very serious environmental problem,” says organiser of the exhibition, gardener of the Botanical Garden Sten Mander. When placing goods in the shopping cart, very few people think that at least half of the selected goods contain palm oil and a huge amount of the oil comes from unverified plantations. “Metaphorically speaking, each time we shop we take a piece of rainforest with us, which may also mean another extinct species,” Mander adds.

During the exhibition, on 16 and 30 June at 20 the documentary “Before the Flood”, winner of the 2016 Hollywood Best Documentary Award, can be watched in the Botanical Garden’s classroom. One of the producers of the film is the Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The film has Estonian subtitles and is shown free of charge.

The exhibition “Oil Palm and Palm Oil – in the Footsteps of the Green Plague” is open from 1 June to 1 July 2017 and can be visited daily from 10–17. Entrance to the exhibition with the Botanical Garden ticket.

Information: Sten Mander, UT Botanical Garden, Gardener, 551 2718, www.botaanikaaed.ut.ee

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

 

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Baltic TRAM offers companies free access to analytical research

3 weeks 2 days ago
01.06.2017

The Baltic TRAM project has opened the first application round for entrepreneurs, offering companies free access to state-of-the-art analytical research facilities in the research institutions of the Baltic Sea region, providing scientific and technical support for the development of new products or services.

Companies whose applications are selected for support are offered free studies of material samples and the opportunity to consult with experts in competent research institutions or analytical research facilities. Through the scientific advice tailored to their specific business needs, companies will be able to upscale the knowledge of their materials’ properties and have an opportunity to improve their product portfolio or in-house manufacturing processes. 

Vice Rector for Research Marco Kirm said, “Many companies have questions why the material they produce or use ‘behaves’ in a specific manner, and what they should do to change its properties in the desired direction or improve the manufacturing process in the company. In the next 5 months, companies will be able to get free answers to a lot of such questions in the course of the Baltic TRAM activities, thanks to EU support. Therefore we expect entrepreneurs to make use of this wonderful opportunity.”

Baltic TRAM partners have established a comprehensive network of structures that serve as an interface between research institutions and companies, so called Industrial Research Centers (IReC), around the Baltic Sea.  IReCs are units that support the companies’ needs and can help entrepreneurs during the entire application period – from defining the task to specifying follow-up activities that would help the company apply the newly acquired knowledge in product development or in their manufacturing process. If there are no measurement facilities in the applicant’s country, the Baltic TRAM network will help to find such facilities at another partner.

Companies from all European Union member states may apply for free measurements. Applications may be sent by the application form on Baltic TRAM’s website www.baltic-tram.eu (in the front page, “Apply” – “Application Form”). Further information about the procedure and precise contact information is also available on the website www.baltic-tram.eu, additional information is offered by the ADAPTER cooperation network of universities (Estonian IReC).

Baltic TRAM is an international project co-financed by the EU Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme. The overall objective of the project is to boost innovation, secure the implementation of smart specialisation strategies, and encourage entrepreneurship by supporting small and medium-size enterprises, thereby contributing to the regional effort of making the Baltic Sea Region innovative, sustainable and competitive.

Additional information: Ott Rebane, UT Industrial Relations Expert, 737 6607, ott.rebane [ät] ut.ee

Kadri Kunnus University of Tartu Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5683
Mob: +(372) 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Conference brings Nobelist to Tartu

4 weeks 1 day ago
26.05.2017

From 24 to 27 May, the international Nordic Econometric Meeting, organised by the University of Tartu School of Economics and Business Administration, is held in the Dorpat Convention Centre. One of the keynote speakers is winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2011 Christopher A. Sims. The conference concentrates on professional skills required by the financial sector in future, monetary policy and interactions between business cycles and financial markets.

According to one of the organisers of the conference, UT Associate Professor in Macroeconomics and Senior Economist of the Bank of Estonia Lenno Uusküla, the plenary session of the conference focuses on analytical skills required by central banks and the financial sector in the future. “We have a lot of big data databases, which make it possible to make more precise forecasts, and Facebook and Google use their data for targeted advertising. Science moves towards more complex methods, in recent years, for example the neural network or the random forest methods have gained popularity, which are, however, like black boxes for a person and do not provide reasonable explanations. How to address the public as the central bank and say that inflation is rising, and that we believe it because the machine has told us so?” Uusküla comments on the core topics of the conference.

The debaters at the future skills panel discussion are Governor of the Bank of Estonia Ardo Hansson, Head of Research of the Bank of Finland Jouko Vilmunen, Chief Adviser at the National Bank of Denmark Kim Abildgren, Chairman of the Board of Swedbank Robert Kitt and Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania Marius Jurgilas.

Professor Christopher A. Sims of Princeton University has been invited to the conference; he is an expert in business cycles and has thoroughly studied the interactions of financial markets and business cycles. One method for studying such interactions is the SVAR (structural vector autoregression) model created by Sims. The other topic Sims discusses at the conference is the functioning of monetary policy and the important role of the central government in maintaining the reliability of central banks.

This year’s conference is the ninth conference of the Nordic Econometric Network and it is the second time the University of Tartu School of Economics and Business Administration has organised it. UT School of Economics has primarily taken part in the network’s activity and conferences with applied research studies and involved the Bank of Estonia in the activities of the network and organisation of conferences.

Christopher A. Sims is the John J.F. Sherrerd ’52 University Professor of Economics at Princeton University since 1999. Previously, he has also worked at the University of Minnesota and Yale University. Christopher A. Sims holds a PhD from Harvard University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences together with Tom Sargent in 2011 for their empirical research on cause and effect in macroeconomy. He has published in virtually all top economics journals.

More detailed schedule of the event is available on the conference website. The working language of the conference is English and everyone is welcome.

Additional information: Katrin Tamm, UT School of Economics and Business Administration, Senior Specialist for Research, Conference Secretary, katrin.tamm [ät] ut.ee, 737 6116 

Kadri Kunnus University of Tartu Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5683
Mob: +(372) 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Renowned educational researcher from USA to give an open seminar in Tartu

1 month ago
23.05.2017

From 22 to 26 May, the researcher and visionary in educational management and innovation Professor Thomas Hatch from Columbia University is visiting Tartu and will hold two seminars for doctoral students, their supervisors and for everyone who is interested.

Professor Hatch meets the researchers of the University of Tartu Institute of Education, visits several schools in Tartu, and gives two seminars, one for the university’s doctoral students and their supervisors, and the other “Improvement or Innovation? Possibilities and Challenges for Educational Transformation” (on 23 May at 14:00 in UT Centre of Educational Innovation) is open for all interested parties.

In Hatch’s opinion, instead of making too abrupt changes, step-by-step movement towards the desired result should be considered. The smaller the step, the easier and more realistic it is to take it and such an approach may open up new possibilities and directions, which might remain unnoticed in the case of taking a big step. “The seminar gives a good opportunity to listen to a professor of one of the USA’s most reputable universities sharing his observations and concepts of the functioning of different education systems, their problems and advantages,” said Professor of Educational Technology Margus Pedaste.

Professor Hatch also writes about what is going on in education around the world in the thematic news portal International Education News (www.internationalednews.com). Hatch is currently visiting countries that were very successful according to the PISA Report for 2015 (incl. Singapore, Estonia, Finland) and compares policies applied in these countries to those of the less successful countries.

Thomas Hatch began his career at Harvard, where he studied the development of children’s intellectual and social abilities. He has participated in different educational innovation projects and is the author of several books. His latest book “Managing to Change: How Schools can Survive (and Sometimes Thrive) in Turbulent Times” (Teachers College Press, 2009) describes various successful school development practices.

Additional information:
Margus Pedaste, UT Professor of Educational Technology, 515 6095, margus.pedaste [ät] ut.ee
Maarja Taaler, UT Specialist of Educational Technology, 737 6022, maarja.taaler [ät] ut.ee  

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

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

UT meteorologist Timo Palo's photo among Nature's photo contest winners

1 month 1 week ago
16.05.2017

Nature published five of the best images from the competition, which ran throughout March and attracted about 170 entries, from New Zealand to Norway, Canada to Qatar.

Winners were chosen by a panel of Nature designers and journalists, who judged the images purely on their aesthetic impact. We did not ask for additional context, and we accepted only one image per person. Submissions could be made either through social media or by e-mail.

When UT meteorologist Timo Palo started working in the Arctic in 2006, he realized that bringing his message back home could be achieved more easily with a camera. “It's often too hard for scientists to put their work into simple words,” he says. “Photography can help there.”

In 2010, when Timo Palo's temporary home — the Chinese research and cargo vessel Xue Long (which translates as Snow Dragon) — gave up searching the Arctic Ocean for a stable berth and paused to allow scientists on to an ice floe instead, he climbed to the top deck to take this photograph using a fisheye lens.

Palo, a meteorologist at the University of Tartu in Estonia, has watched this part of the world change dramatically. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising about twice as fast as the average temperature in the rest of the world, he says. “Sea ice is shrinking. As a scientist, you can't have any conclusions before you analyse the data. But visually you can see it. And when you capture something that moves people, it can have a lot more impact than words can have.”

Normally, Palo says, he uses a wide-angle lens to convey the scale of the Arctic. “There's this vast territory of snow and ice, and tiny human beings in the middle of it. You feel small there,” he wrote to me after our interview. But he realized that a fisheye lens would help him to impart a different message. “We know the Arctic Ocean is on the top of a globe. It's like a roof on our planet.” The distortion, he thinks, helps the viewer to visualize this roof — and the cracks that run across its surface.

Read more in Nature!

Kadri Kunnus University of Tartu Senior Specialist for Public Relations Tel: +(372) 737 5509
Mob: +(372) 507 0963 E-mail: kadri.kunnus [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 


 

Category: UniversityResearchPress release
Kadri Kunnus (kadrikir)

University of Tartu and Cybernetica AS announce biggest ever IT scholarship

1 month 2 weeks ago
09.05.2017

As of autumn 2017, students of the international master’s curricula of Software Engineering and Computer Science can apply for the Cybernetica scholarship programme. The scholarship is 5000 euros per year, which is so far the highest scholarship to be paid monthly to IT students in the University of Tartu.

The scholarship also involves paid summer internship in Cybernetica AS. The programme gives a unique opportunity to selected students to participate during studies in research projects in one of the leading research and development companies in Estonia.

According to head of the UT Institute of Computer Science Professor Jaak Vilo, it is extremely important that students could focus on studying during their studies.  “Scholarship programmes support the possibility to study without financial help from parents, independently and without the need to work. Education obtained at the university is necessary during one’s entire life in different work assignments, and cannot be replaced by later continuing education courses. Cybernetica also provides an additional opportunity to participate in paid internship during the summer between the two academic years of master’s studies. Therefore, the scholarship enables to study and acquire practical work experience without hindering the course of studies,” said Vilo.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Cybernetica AS Ülo Jaaksoo said that contributing to science has been one of the principal focuses of the company. “Today Cybernetica celebrates its 20th anniversary and all through the period of operation we have laid a great emphasis on the development of research and education. We participate in international research and development projects all over the world and our scholarship programme gives an opportunity to young students to make their contribution to these projects,” said Jaaksoo.

First-year master’s students can apply for Cybernetica scholarship at the time of submitting their application already, and second-year students at the beginning ot the academic year. In an academic year, one scholarship is granted to a highly motivated student, whose average grade is at least 3.6. The scholarship amounts to 5000 euros and is paid over 10 months. For the remaining two months in a year, a paid internship place is guaranteed in Cybernetica AS.


Additional information: Jaak Vilo, UT Head of the Institute of Computer Science, jaak.vilo [ät] ut.ee, (+372) 504 9365

Kadri Kunnus University of Tartu Senior Specialist for Public Relations Tel: +(372) 737 5509
Mob: +(372) 507 0963 E-mail: kadri.kunnus [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

 

Category: EntrepreneurshipUniversityStudiesPress release
Kadri Kunnus (kadrikir)

Top scientists focus on infertility and pregnancy topics

1 month 2 weeks ago
09.05.2017

On 11 May 2017 the “Happy Pregnancy” workshop is held in Tartu for the fourth time already, bringing the world’s top scientists to Estonia to discuss significant clinical and fundamental research studies in reproductive medicine.

Failure to have children is a topic that concerns many Estonians. In Estonia, one in ten couples face infertility. The objective of the “Happy Pregnancy” study, financed by Archimedes Foundation from 2012–2015, was to develop new medical solutions for the assessment of pregnancy complications and the infertility of both sexes, the related illnesses and genetic risk.

In the course of a study coordinated by Prof. Maris Laane, Dr Kristiina Rulli and Dr Margus Punab, the Tartu University Hospital’s Women’s Clinic and Andrology Centre, and UT human geneticists launched one of the largest reproductive medicine-oriented biobanks in Europe. In the “Happy Pregnancy” database, the biomaterials and clinical data of thousands of infertile patients and (happy) pregnant ones await analysing in the coming years. The analysis of data gathered during the project may help to find new possibilities for the prevention and treatment of infertility and pregnancy failure.

During the project the tradition was introduced to organise “Happy Pregnancy” workshops in springs, where important reproductive medicine issues can be discussed more comprehensively. The subtitle of this year’s workshop is “Linking scientific advances with clinical practice in reproductive biomedicine”.

Genetic aspects of male infertility are discussed by Dr Don F. Conrad (St. Louis, USA), who has been teaching the students of Medicine, Gene Technology and Biology as a visiting lecturer at the University of Tartu since 1 April. Dr Conrad is the leader of GEMINI, an international consortium studying the genetics of male infertility. GEMINI also includes scientists of Tartu as members. The presentation by Prof. Ewa Raipert de Meytsi (Copenhagen) deals with testicular cancer in young males, which results from fetal development disorder. Prof. Lee B. Smith (Edinburgh) introduces the use of mouse models in studying genes related with male infertility in order to develop and test new treatment opportunities.

Prof. Ana Zenclussen (Magdeburg) gives an overview of immunological changes during the early stage of pregnancy. Prof. Hannele Laivuori (Helsinki) speaks of the study by the Finnish consortium FINNPEC, which focused on one of the most frequent pregnancy complications - pre-eclampsia, a condition characterised by sudden high blood pressure and kidney dysfunction. Dr Siim Sõber explains to the audience the role of placental genes in the development of a pregnancy complication. Prof. John Aplin’s (Manchester) research results can be a significant breakthrough, helping children whose growth in the uterus is restricted to some reason. Research on mouse models has shown promising results and the possibility to support fetal growth and development by means of a novel treatment of the placenta.


The workshop programme also includes presentations about the “Happy Pregnancy” study. Dr Kristiina Rull speaks about the health status of Estonian pregnant women. “Compared to other countries, prenatal diagnostics and pregnancy monitoring is well organised and of high quality in Estonia, and therefore there are relatively few serious pregnancy complications. However, it is alarming that 27% of pregnant women are overweight and nearly 9% obese, which is a strong risk factor for several pregnancy-related problems,” says Rull, adding that in recent years pregnant women have been noted to use various vitamins and dietary supplements, but pay relatively little attention to exercise. “According to their own estimate, nearly 50% of pregnant women walk for less than one hour a day, and every tenth walks less than 20 minutes a day. This is obviously too little,” says Rull. Dr Margus Punab unveils the background to infertility in Estonian men based on the information collected during the 10-year study.

All interested are welcome to the workshop held in English on 11 May in Omicum, Riia 23b-105.The event is free. Please find the detailed programme of the workshop, overview of all presentations and preregistration on the Happy Pregnancy website.

The workshop is organised by the “Happy Pregnancy” team in cooperation with the UT Doctoral School of Clinical Medicine and UT Graduate School in Biomedicine and Biotechnology.
The keynote speaker Dr. Don Conrad’s stay in Estonia and at the University of Tartu is supported by the US government’s Fulbright Specialist programme, which was arranged with the help of the US Embassy in Estonia.

Additional information:
Maris Laan, UT Professor of Human Molecular Genetics, 5349 5258, maris.laan [ät] ut.ee

Kadri Kunnus University of Tartu Senior Specialist for Public Relations Tel: +(372) 737 5509
Mob: +(372) 507 0963 E-mail: kadri.kunnus [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: UniversityResearchPress release
Kadri Kunnus (kadrikir)

45 people shared personal migration stories

1 month 3 weeks ago
28.04.2017

This spring the Estonian Refugee Council and the University of Tartu Centre for Ethics collected migration stories. In total, they received 45 personal migration stories, which will be used in preparing a new methodological tool for teachers and youth workers.

Most of the stories were written by people who left Estonia in boats during World War II. The stories described both the tragic escape and challenges in adapting to the new society. While most of the authors of these stories were children at the time of the escape, one author, a 96-year-old man living in the USA, recalled the painful journey through the eyes of a family man and father.

Project manager Ingi Mihkelsoo pointed out that a heartbreaking story was sent by a young woman, whose great-grandfather left Estonia for Brazil in search of a better life in 1926. “The woman who wrote her family’s story had never been to Estonia, but Estonia had been dear to her heart since early childhood, and a few years ago she proudly applied for Estonian citizenship in addition to her Brazilian citizenship,” said Mihkelsoo. “I went to Uus-Kalamaja street in Tallinn and looked for her great-grandfather’s last residence to send a few photos to Brazil, but unfortunately the house was no longer there,” Mihkelsoo added.

From the received stories the Estonian Refugee Council are going to select twelve, which are made into short and compact thrilling stories. From the stories a methodological tool for teachers and youth workers is prepared – a collection of twelve A2-size posters on the topic of migration. Due to the important historical background of several stories, the future study material can also be used, for example, in geography or history lessons.

The selected stories will be illustrated by designer Marja-Liisa Plats. All in all, 200 poster collections will be printed and distributed for free to educational institutions who participate in the training in the course of the project. In autumn 2017 the final result will be made available online.

Mihkelsoo said that during earlier training sessions educators had repeatedly mentioned that they lacked methodological materials to help them talk to students about different reasons for migration. “Inspired by the teachers’ interest, we found that we needed to create a new resource that would broaden the learners’ awareness of the various reasons for migration,” Mihkelsoo added.

Among authors of the stories there were both Estonians living abroad and foreigners living in Estonia. Thematically, the stories were about work, study and family-related migration, but also about escaping and emotional partings. Authors shared personal experiences, but some described the effect of their ancestors’ migration on their lives.

The project is managed by the Estonian Refugee Council and the University of Tartu Centre for Ethics in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research, and it is funded by the Council of the Gambling Tax.

Additional information: Ingi Mihkelsoo, project manager, member of the board of Estonian Refugee Council, +37 2525 8702, ingi [ät] pagulasabi.ee

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

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Researchers help to find ways to represent the interests of elderly victims of violence

1 month 3 weeks ago
27.04.2017

Researchers of the University of Tartu participate in a joint project of six countries, which aims to raise the capability of organisations dealing with domestic violence in representing the interests of elderly victims of abuse in the health care system and politics.

Violence against the elderly is a global problem, which is related with the problem areas of human rights, gender equality, domestic violence and population ageing. A great concern is the lack of gender balance among the elderly, so the majority of the elderly are women who are particularly vulnerable to risks. 

The two-year European Union project “WHOSEFVA – Working with Healthcare Organizations to Support Elderly Female Victims of Abuse” (2017-2018) focuses on elderly women who are also victims of violence. Project partners want to draw public attention to the main obstacles and deficiencies that prevent health care organisations from acting effectively in helping elderly victims of domestic violence.

Pille Tsopp, the manager of the leading partner of the project, Tartu Women’s Support and Information Centre, said that additional finances are needed for more effective identification of elderly victims of domestic violence, and the identification of victims is just the first step in the process. “Practice shows that even if we succeed in identifying elderly victims of violence, they are often left without the necessary help. The main reason lies in the fact that the victims are affected by several simultaneous long-term dependence relationships. In addition, they have different health problems and they are financially dependent. In this situation, health care professionals form a very important support system for those who need help, and offer different possibilities for identifying victims of violence and for their future assistance,” said Tsopp.

In the course of the WHOSEFVA project the participants work out training materials that help organisations dealing with violence against women in cooperation with other health care providers. Experienced experts will also lead training courses, which provide partner organisations with necessary information and skills for conducting thematic workshops. In the partner countries, training courses for health and social care professionals are held to prepare the medical professionals for the effective use of the training materials. Training materials will be made available on the project’s home page in English and are also published in Estonian, Finnish, German, Greek and Latvian.

Researchers of the University of Tartu have several important tasks in the WHOSEFVA project. “We lead the web-based training programme, because Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies has significant experience in developing different online courses. In addition, we have the role of an external evaluator, which involves the evaluation of the effectiveness and quality of the project in the course of different actions. We are also responsible for the political analysis of the project and we train and consult partner organisations in how to raise public awareness in the society,” lecturer of Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies Hector Pagan introduced the role of the University of Tartu in the project.

The partner countries participating in the project are Austria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia and Great Britain. The leading partner is Women’s Support and Information Centre in Estonia. The centre cooperates closely with the expert Sirkka Perttu, who deals with the issue of violence against the elderly in Finland.

The programme is funded by the Daphne programme of the European Commission.

Additional information:
Hector Charles Pagan, lecturer of UT Johan Skytte Institute of Polictical Science, 737 6582, hector.pagan [ät] ut.ee
Pille Tsopp, manager of Tartu Women’s Support and Information Centre, 5594 9496, info [ät] naistetugi.ee

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

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Four new partners join ADAPTER

1 month 4 weeks ago
26.04.2017

Today, on 26 April the current and new partners of the research and entrepreneurship cooperation platform ADAPTER.ee meet in Tartu. The new partners joining ADAPTER are the Tallinn University of Applied Sciences, Tartu Observatory, Software Technologies Development Centre and National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics.

Created in the cooperation of universities and oriented mainly to business enterprises, the www.ADAPTER.ee network has since its opening in October 2016 mediated more than one hundred enquiries, which concerned different topics from developing natural cosmetics series to nanotechnological welding electrode coatings to reduce harmful welding fumes. ADAPTER’s partners have entered into several new cooperation contracts with enterprises, conducted a number of different measurements and analyses, and directed the enterprises towards optimum solutions.

Today, Tartu Observatory, National Insttute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics (KBFI), Tallinn University of Applied Sciences and Software Technologies Development Centre (STACC) join the founders of ADAPTER, the six public universities of Estonia. 

“Each new partner brings new and important competences, new capabilities in terms of equipment, and new cooperation possibilities. For example, Tartu Observatory offers consultations and measurements of electromagnetic compatibility which are of utmost importance for the electronics industry, KBFI has top-level specialists in determination of the composition of different substances, Tallinn University of Applied Sciences provides a number of opportunities for the construction and metal industry, and STACC opens up new possibilities in the area of data mining and big data,” said Siim Kinnas, the ADAPTER project manager at the University of Tartu.

ADAPTER is the Estonian research and development institutions’ enterpreneurship cooperation platform, which aims to offer enterprises a quick and easy way for cooperation with all the universities, institutions of higher education and other research and development institutions in Estonia.

Additional information: Siim Kinnas, +372 520 4864, siim.kinnas [ät] ut.ee

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

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Viljandi Culture Academy to open arts centre in Tartu

1 month 4 weeks ago
25.04.2017

In September a new centre for arts will be opened in the Old Anatomical Theatre of the University of Tartu. The centre will draw the competence of the whole faculty into one unit and coordinate arts studies in the university.

In recent years, arts education in the University of Tartu has been divided between two structural units – the Department of Arts in the Institute of Cultural Research and Arts and Viljandi Culture Academy. While mostly painters have been taught in the former unit, musicians, actors, dancers, lighting designers and sound engineers, and craftsmen and researchers in the areas of native textile, metalwork and construction study in the latter.

According to the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Prof. Margit Sutrop, gathering arts education into the new centre for arts is an important step in organising the division of work within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and also opening a window for Viljandi Culture Academy in Tartu. “The popularity of lectures by professors of liberal arts among students and also staff of different faculties shows that there is great interest in fine arts and in courses developing self-expression and creativity. So we had an idea to compile a whole package of such courses, from which everyone can choose the most suitable for them,” Prof. Sutrop said.

Head of the centre for arts Tuulike Kivestu says that from September the centre will offer a chance for all students of the University of Tartu to acquire new knowledge and skills and develop their creativity. “Students can take optional courses to study music, painting, photography, dancing, acting, drawing, crafts and a lot more. As verbal communication is often of secondary importance in arts education and information can be exchanged in other ways, most of the courses are also suitable for international students and lecturers,” said Kivestu and added that the centre also wants to contribute to teacher training, offering future teachers a lot of arts-related skills that can be used in working with children and youth.

In addition to students, the centre welcomes the university’s teaching staff and employees to discover and develop their creativity. Nearly all courses are also available for continuing education learners.

In the autumn semester the centre for arts will launch more than forty optional courses for the whole university. The sphere of topics is broad, extending from practical rhetoric to Estonian regilaul song and cartoon drawing. As exciting courses, the head of the centre points out the course by fashion designer Triin Amur “Problems of the fashion industry and the possible solutions and practices of its sustainable development”, followed by a more practical course in spring semester “Challenge of the fashion industry – how to sew from trash”, the course “Anger management” by one of the most highly appreciated lecturers of Viljandi Culture Academy Sergei Drõgin, and the course “Animalistic movement” by choreographer and dancer Stella Kruusimägi.

The centre for arts also plans to actively cooperate with other schools who offer arts education. For example, already in autumn a course in folk dance will be launched jointly with Tartu H. Eller Music College, where course participants can learn dancing skills accompanied by live music played by folk musicians of Eller College and instructed by Eva Talsi and Kadri Lepasson, alumni of Viljandi Culture Academy.

The position of professor of liberal arts, to which every year a prominent creative Estonian person will be invited, will also belong into the centre for arts. In the academic year 2017/2018, the renowned photographer Peeter Laurits will assume the position of professor of liberal arts. In the autumn semester everyone interested is welcome to listen to his lecture series “WILD AESTHETICS or how to explain a forest to digital hares”.

To be able to better introduce the creative work of the UT teaching staff, students and alumni of the field of arts, the centre plans to open a small gallery shop in the Old Anatomical Theatre. 

Additional information: Tuulike Kivestu, Vice Director for Academic Affairs and Development of Viljandi Culture Academy, Head of Centre for Arts, 525 8231, tuulike.kivestu [ät] ut.ee

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

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

University of Tartu students participate in the world’s biggest synthetic biology competition with an ambitious and innovative idea

2 months ago
24.04.2017

For the first time, Estonia takes part in the world’s biggest synthetic biology competition for students iGEM this year. The University of Tartu Institute of Technology has formed a team of students-researchers, who work together over the spring/summer to create cells that are able to cooperate and produce ethylene.

Teams of students-researchers work together over spring/summer to solve an important local or global problem by means of synthetic biology. If everything works out, the student contest may result in a revolutionary and life-changing application.

Synthetic biology is a very promising future technology, which enables to create living cells that are directed to fulfil a specific task. “It is believed, for example, that thanks to synthetic biology, cancer will have been defeated in the world in about 10–15 years, because cells designed to attack cancer cells will enable rapid specific treatment,” one of the leaders of the work group Petri-Jaan Lahtvee gave an example how synthetic biology can offer possibilities for solving several global problems facing the mankind. “With the help of synthetic biology it is also possible to decrease dependence on oil products like fuels, plastic and synthetic textiles, by using microorganisms (like yeast) to convert sugars in the biomass into more valuable chemicals,” Lahtvee added.

“The iGEM competition is an excellent opportunity for synthetic biology students to get practical experience, as they will participate from the very beginning in the planning and conducting of the project and later introducing its results,” said Lahtvee. “Our team’s idea is to create two types of cells, which are genetically reprogrammed to produce chemicals in mutual cooperation. The first cell type produces ethanol from glucose, but only in case the other cell type grows in the same container and produces the necessary chemical for the first cell population to survive. Other cells use the ethanol produced by the first cells, to produce ethylene. Our aim in the demo project of the described system is to produce ethylene – a chemical, from which it is possible to make plastic, tyres, textile, and which can be found in cosmetic products, paints and drugs. However, if the project succeeds, the system could be used to produce many other chemicals,” the senior researcher introduced the idea of our work group for the contest.

iGEM – the International Genetically Engineered Machine – is an annual competition and global synthetic biology event for university and secondary school students and coordinated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. The aim of the contest is to grow a new generation who is proficient in this field and introduce the possibilities of the development of synthetic biology to the general public.

A number of successful startups have been born from iGEM teams, the best known of them is Ginkgo Bioworks, who deals with the design of microorganisms for the production of biochemicals. Last year Gingko Bioworks raised more than 100 million dollar worth of investments.

Additional information:
Mart Loog, UT Professor of Molecular Systems Biology, 517 5698, mart.loog [ät] ut.ee
Petri-Jaan Lahtvee, UT Senior Research Fellow in Synthetic Biology, /Users/ann/Documents/Eng/petri.lahtvee [ät] ut.ee">petri.lahtvee [ät] ut.ee
 

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

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Students gather in solidarity with Central European University

2 months ago
20.04.2017

Students of the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies are organising a gesture in solidarity with Central European University (CEU) on Thursday at 13.45. Everyone wishing to express their support are welcome to attend.

CEU is an internationally esteemed university that has made an immense contribution to the intellectual life and societies throughout Central and Eastern Europe; numerous University of Tartu alumni have also undertaken their postgraduate studies at CEU. Recent legislative changes in Hungary have a severe impact on the Budapest-based Central European University (CEU), making it virtually impossible for the university to continue its operations there.

“What is happening in Hungary is an attack against academic freedom. Given the strong academic links between our universities, the students saw the need to react and express their solidarity,” Gert Siniloo, the organiser of the event and Master student of International Relations at the Skytte Institute, said.

A group photo will be taken at the event, organised in front of the Social Sciences building (Lossi 36) on Thursday at 13.45. The organisers recommend bringing along posters with a solidarity statement #IstandwithCEU. All students, staff members of the university as well as citizens of Tartu are invited to join.

Additional information: Gert Siniloo, Master student of the UT Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, gsiniloo [ät] ut.ee. 

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

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)
Checked
1 hour 3 minutes ago
Subscribe to University NEWS feed