Viljandi Culture Academy to open arts centre in Tartu

1 day 4 hours 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
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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 days 5 hours 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
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Students gather in solidarity with Central European University

6 days 5 hours 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
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Esko Ukkonen: What is an algorithm and what can be done with it?

6 days 5 hours ago
20.04.2017

On 24 April at 16.15 the lecture “The Era of Algorithms” will be delivered in the series of Granö lectures by the professor of computer science of the University of Helsinki Esko Ukkonen, who explores the limits and possibilities of algorithms.

When talking about IT, people mostly do not focus on the details of how things work. Actually, computers and processors perform predetermined algorithms. “Algorithms are basically rules that say what can be taught to the computer and how to “phrase” that,” said UT professor of bioinformatics Jaak Vilo. According to Vilo, algorithmic thinking is the basis of the entire IT, because computers just perform orders given to them. “On the one hand it is certainly necessary to understand what an algorithm is, what the limits of algorithms are – both temporal and formal ones. Everything cannot be computed quickly,” said Vilo, who believes that also in future, the main qualities of algorithms will remain the same. “What is going to change is that there will be algorithms with which computers can learn to look for new associations and create new algorithms and thereby make themselves “smarter”, in the area of artificial intelligence, for example,” Vilo explained the future of algorithms.

Professor of the University of Helsinki Esko Ukkonen is a very important figure in the Finnish computer science. His academic descendants in Finland include nearly twenty professors. Ukkonen’s own best known work has been related with text indexing and search. These have contributed to the analysis and also initial sequencing of the human genome.

Ukkonen believes that the word “algorithm” can be heard more and more often in everyday media. “It is true that algorithms and programming is everywhere around us. It is a topic with which elementary school children and people get in touch in their daily activities. But what exactly is an algorithm? What can be done with the help of algorithms and where are their limits?” asks Esko Ukkonen in his lecture. 

Esko Ukkonen was elected a foreign member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences in 2016. Three Estonians have defended their doctoral degree under his supervision. Esko’s scope in computer science extends from theory to several areas of application.

The lecture will be held in UT Institute of Computer Science, Liivi 2-111.

The lecture series was named after the Finnish geography professor Johannes Gabriel Granö, who was a professor at Tartu University from 1919–1923. The aim of the Granö lectures is to create new ties between Estonian and Finnish scientists. Lectures and seminars are organized by the Finnish Institute in cooperation with the University of Tartu, the University of Turku and the Granö Center.

Recordings of previous lectures are available at www.uttv.ee.


Additional information:
Jaak Vilo, UT professor of bioinformatics, 737 5483, jaak.vilo [ät] ut.ee
Kadri Kaljurand, Finnish Institute, kadri.kaljurand [ät] finst.ee, 742 7319

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Machine translation is put to test at Wikipedia hackathon

6 days 23 hours ago
19.04.2017

From 19–20 April 2017 the Estonian Language Technology 2017 conference will be held in Tallinn. On 18 April, the day before the conference, several interesting workshops are organised. One of these is the machine translation hackathon, which tests how machines can contribute to the development of Wikipedia.

The Million+ project, launched on the Mother Language Day, aims to increase the volume of the Estonian Wikipedia to one million articles. “How can translation machines contribute to this goal, preserving the linguistic and content quality at the same time? This is the problem to which solutions are searched at the hackathon,” said Kadri Vare, one of the organisers of the conference.

At the hackathon, the newest neural machine translation models are used, which offer fluent translation into Estonian for postediting. Participants are translators who assess the different translation methods, as well as editors, who give blind evaluaton to postedited machine translation and human translation.

One machine translation programme that will be used is the machine translation project KaMa (Kasutatav Eesti Masintõlge) of the UT Institute of Computer Science, developed by Mark Fišel, head of the UT Chair of Language Technology. Also the translation software by Tilde Eesti OÜ, who provides machine translation service on the private market, is tested.

A Python software library workshop will also take place. Python offers several functionalities for processing texts in the Estonian language. In addition, a workshop is organised by Estonia’s first language technology start-up TEXTA, which is a toolkit for exploring and analysing free textual (big) data. In the course of the workshop TEXTA is used to explore the document register of a ministry in Estonia. “For example, who writes letters to the ministry most of all, and on which topics, and to what extent and what kind of personal information can be found in the published documents, or what kind of standard answers are used in official communication,” Vare said.

On 19 April the programme includes an overview of the current National Programme for Estonian Language Technology and an introduction of the new programme starting next year. It is also possible to get familiar with language technology software and applications. 20 April is the day of language resources projects in the Institute of the Estonian Language, held in parallel with the traditional spring conference in applied linguistics.

Everyone interested is welcome! The conference and workshops are free. Registration is required at www.keeletehnoloogia.ee.

Additional information:

Sirli Zupping, Million+ project manager, sirli.zupping [ät] ut.ee
Kadri Vare, programme coordinator of the Center of Estonian Language Resources, kadri.vare [ät] ut.ee

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Conference offers insight into the encyclopaedia of Estonian transitional society

1 week 1 day ago
18.04.2017

Authors of the twenty-year study “Me. The World. The Media” that was recently made into a book admit that Estonia is characterised by the ever deepening differentiation between population groups and the opposition between the accelerators and decelerators of social time. The findings of the comprehensive survey are more closely introduced at a conference in Tallinn on 18 April.

One of the main conclusions of the study reveals that due to the opposite forces, differentiation between societal groups in Estonia has intensified. It is pointed out that within the Estonian society, differentiation occurs in six dimensions – social stratification, generational dynamics, ethnic differentiation, differences in asynchrony, media consumption and types of social cohesion.

“Some people are willing to go along with changes, even force them. Another social current of an opposite direction, however, reflects the experience of those who have been harmed by change, or for whom change has caused too great tensions or losses. These people try to slow down or reverse changes, preserve structures or communities that stand against the main stream of changes,” explained Peeter Vihalemm, the editor of the book, professor emeritus of media studies of the University of Tartu.

The results of the survey will be introduced in more detail at the conference “Estonian society in an accelerating time” in Tallinn on 18 April. Besides Peeter Vihalemm, professors Marju Lauristin, Veronika Kalmus, Triin Vihalemm, Halliki Harro-Loit and other co-authors of the book speak at the conference. Visitors from Tallinn University, head of the Centre for Innovation in Education Mati Heidmets and professor of comparative politics Raivo Vetik debate with authors of the study.

The book compiled on the basis of the study gives a complete overview of the main results of the long-term research project dealing with changes in the Estonian society “Me. The World. The Media”. The analysis is based on the results of the representative sociological survey conducted in five waves (in 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014). In addition to empirical material, the book provides an overview of the development of Estonian sociology and introduces several modern theoretical approaches to society.

More detailed schedule of the conference and further information can be found on the home page of UT Institute of Social Studies: http://bit.ly/2om3dfj

Additional information:
Peeter Vihalemm, professor emeritus of media studies, peeter.vihalemm [ät] ut.ee
Taavi Rebane, communication specialist, t.rebane [ät] ut.ee, 737 6355

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

University of Tartu and Bauroc cooperate to develop innovative aerated concrete blocks

1 week 2 days ago
16.04.2017

Researchers of the University of Tartu Institute of Technology in cooperation with Bauroc AS start to develop novel aerated concrete, hoping to take its weight and strength ratio to a new level. A breakthrough is expected from the introduction of new binding agents.

“It is not easy to find suitable binders, because the production of aerated concrete involves high pressure and temperature, as well as an alkaline environment and saturated steam in the system, which pose high demands to the binder,” explains senior researcher in materials science Tarmo Tamm.

In the course of the one-year development project, among other things a laboratory model system is designed, which should give results comparable to the Bauroc factory installation, primarily processes taking place in the autoclave, otherwise the obtained results are not applicable in the factory in future. In the last stage of the project, experiments are performed in the Bauroc factory to test whether results attained in the laboratory are feasible in real production.

Director of the factory and member of the board Karmo Kapstas is hopeful, “As a result of the cooperation, Bauroc hopes to ensure that our materials continue to have unrivalled thermal insulation properties compared to other stone materials, and that the company’s flagship products, the ECOTERM+ blocks for building single-layer external walls, continue to be competitive with other multi-layer, thermally insulated solutions.”

The researchers and entrepreneurs’ joint project got a boost with the help of the Adapter cooperation network and is one of the first requests to have reached actual contract. Adapter is a web-based environment for entrepreneurs looking for the most suitable cooperaton partners for their research and development activities. Through Adapter, companies get comparative price offers from all public universities.
 

Additional information:
Karmo Kapstas, member of the board of Bauroc, 52 82 826, Karmo.Kapstas [ät] bauroc.ee
Tarmo Tamm, senior research fellow in materials science, Institute of Technology of the University of Tartu, 737 4833, tarmo.tamm [ät] ut.ee

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

UT materials scientists support innovation in a major German company

1 week 6 days ago
13.04.2017

One of the biggest gas companies in the world, the German chemistry giant Linde AG, who is represented in the Baltic and Nordic countries by its subsidiary AGA, is building an industrial pilot plant based on the prototype created by the thin film technology specialists of the University of Tartu.

Linde supplies gases for industries, medicine and environmental measurements, inert gases for research laboratories, and several specific high-precision gas mixtures.

As many of the gases corrode metals or generate rust, alloy steels or expensive aluminium materials are needed for their transportation or storage. A cheaper alternative is to cover the internal surfaces of gas cylinders with an ultrathin material, which considerably decreases corrosion.

However, the problem is that gas cylinders are closed spaces with just one small opening, which makes access to their interior very complicated. The added coating must not alter the qualities of the container’s material or affect the high-precision gas mixture in the container. The coating must also withstand the mandatory periodic pressure tests. Namely in such conditions the atomic layer deposition (ALD) reactor created by UT materials scientists is useful.

With the help of an ALD reactor, materials can be covered atom by atom with an ultrathin anti-corrosion protective coating. Both the reactor and this efficient anti-corrosive nanomaterial is the fruit of the years-long research of UT thin film technologists.

“As you see, the prototype is ready and it works!” says UT thin film technology engineer Lauri Aarik, one of its creators, pleased. “We are applying for a patent to it in Europe, USA, Japan and globally.” 

Whether the industrial plant is useful, will be clear in coming months, when it is started up – Aarik and Sammelselg are optimistic. The company has already requested training on the operation of the plant for their employees from the UT laboratory.

The German gas company Linde is the first one to test in production our researchers’ ALD plant for processing cylinders, but a similar solution could be useful also for other companies who have problems with corrosion, including in aviation and medicine, adds Sammelselg.

Additional information: Väino Sammelselg, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, Head of Department of Materials Science, 737 4705, vaino.sammelselg [ät] ut.ee

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

University of Tartu Museum’s annual exhibition “Glory of the Cathedral” focuses on special and luxurious finds

2 weeks ago
11.04.2017

The new annual exhibition “Glory of the Cathedral” will be opened in the Treasury of the University of Tartu Museum on 12 April 2017. The exhibition focuses on the most magnificent cathedral in Old Livonia and its archaeological heritage.

“What makes the exhibition unique are the skeletons found in the cathedral, which give insight into the habits and problems of high clerics and noblemen. Special emphasis is laid on golden fabric and silk, the most valuable textiles in the Middle Ages,” curator of the exhibition Kerttu Palginõmm points out. As one of the star exhibits a 15-century brooch is displayed, originating from the treasures of Tallinn magistracy and serving as an evidence of valuable jewellery art reaching Livonia. The exhibited items are mainly from the collections of Tartu and Tallinn City Museums and will be on display until 14 January 2018.

The exhibition shows the latest information on the cathedral available to archaeologists, historians and art historians, and involves the Crazy Scientist’s special morning science experiment programmes for the entire family.

On 15 April, the Crazy Scientist’s Saturday morning programme hosts archaeologists and DNA researchers of the University of Tartu. You will see real skeletons and learn how genetics and archaeology can help us study people of the past.

On 20 April, jeweller Indrek Ikkonen takes part in the Crazy Scientist’s morning programme and introduces medieval jewellery techniques and details. Participants can admire beautiful jewellery and listen to the jeweller speak about precious stones and materials and their meaning in the Middle Ages.

Exhibition team: Kerttu Palginõmm, Martin Malve, Riina Rammo, Madis Maasing, Kristiina Tambets, Lehti Saag, Kaur Alttoa, Krista Anderson, Tiina Vint, Mairo Rääsk, Martin Eelma, Tanel Nõmmik, Henry Narits. 

The exhibition was supported by Cultural Endowment, city of Tartu and TAVA16 Tartu in Light.

Additional information: Kerttu Palginõmm, Curator, +372 5836 9444, Kerttu.palginomm [ät] ut.ee

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

UT and AS YIT Ehitus have still not reached agreement about library reconstruction works

2 weeks 1 day ago
11.04.2017

For the last three months, the University of Tartu has tried to come to an agreement with AS YIT about the volume and quality of construction works performed in the library. On 21 March 2017, the university sent another reasoned compromise proposal to the construction company. YIT Ehitus did not respond and instead of looking for compromise, threatened to prevent the university from continuing construction works in the library by taking the matter to the court. The university was thereupon forced to submit a 670,000-euro claim under bank guarantee against the construction company.

According to independent experts engaged by the university, the performed works do not largely meet the quality requirements and conditions specified in the building design documentation, which is why a great amount of the works cannot be deemed completed. Moreover, in the experts’ opinion, several works performed in the library have been left unfinished or not done at all. AS YIT Ehitus also failed to present the required operational design documentation for specific parts of work on the site.

“The university has been flexible all through the negotiations and is still open for negotiations, because we wish to reach a result that is satisfying for both parties. However, YIT Ehitus wanted us to also accept substandard works, regardless of the fact that correcting and redoing such works involves additional costs,” vice rector for development Erik Puura explained why agreement was not achieved.

Heiki Pagel, head of Estates Office of the University, said that currenly a new procurement for continuation of the library reconstruction works is being prepared and plans are being made for moving the reading rooms in summer. “We continue to be optimistic that we can announce the new procurement in April 2017, make a new construction agreement for continuation of library renovation in June and allow users to enter the renovated reading rooms by the end of the year,” Pagel added.

The University of Tartu made a contract with AS YIT Ehitus for the reconstruction of the university library building for 6,695,970 euros (incl. VAT) in May 2016. According to the contract, the works were to be done and completed in stages and the library was to be opened for visitors at the beginning of October 2016 already.

After YIT Ehitus failed to meet the agreed deadlines and additional deadlines, the University of Tartu sent a notification to AS YIT Ehitus at the beginning of January about the cancellation of the library reconstruction contract and submitting a claim for contractual penalty.

Regardless of the stalled renovation, the university is doing its best to make library books available as conveniently as possible. Temporary reading rooms have been opened on Toome hill in the former National Archives building at J. Liivi 4, and opening hours have been extended in the libraries of academic units. Books can be ordered from the open collection of reading rooms by placing an order via the ESTER online catalogue. 
 

Additional information:        
Erik Puura, UT Vice Rector for Research, 506 9882, erik.puura [ät] ut.ee
Heiki Pagel, UT Head of Estates Office, 503 2021, heiki.pagel [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
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Rode altarpiece project wins European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage and Europa Nostra Award 2017

2 weeks 6 days ago
06.04.2017

The European Commission and Europa Nostra have announced the winners of the most reputable heritage award in Europe – the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage and Europa Nostra Award for 2017. One of the winners is the Rode altarpiece research and conservation project, to which a considerable contribution was made by the UT cultural heritage workgroup.

Juries of independent experts reviewed 202 projects nominated for the award by individuals and organisations from 39 countries across Europe and selected the laureates. All in all, 29 laureates from 18 countries were recognised for their outstanding accomplishments in conservation, research, education, training and awareness-raising, and special merits in preserving cultural heritage.

According to Signe Vahur, research fellow in analytical and physical chemistry in the University of Tartu and a participant in the awarded project, the cultural heritage workgroup took part in such a major project for the first time. “Participation in the project allowed us to apply our knowledge and skills to real-life problems, and to be involved in the research process of a masterpiece of such high value on the European scale. It was also a project in which people of humanities and science cooperated closely and by the end of the project we had become a unified team. This team is now working on new cultural heritage research projects,” said Vahur.

“I congratulate all the winners. Their achievements demonstrate once again how engaged many Europeans are in protecting and safeguarding their cultural heritage. Their projects highlight the significant role of cultural heritage in our lives and our society. Especially today, with Europe facing many big societal challenges, culture is vital in helping us to raise awareness of our common history and values and to foster tolerance, mutual understanding and social inclusion. The European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 will be an ideal opportunity to focus on what binds us together as Europeans – our common history, culture and heritage. The European Commission will continue to support this prize and other heritage projects through our Creative Europe programme,” said Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

“I pay tribute to all those who made these exceptional achievements possible, thanks to their formidable talent, passionate commitment and great generosity. They are now among a select group of some 450 remarkable accomplishments awarded by Europa Nostra and the European Commission in the past 15 years. All our winners demonstrate that heritage is a key tool for sustainable economic development, social cohesion and a more inclusive Europe. EU leaders should seize the historic opportunity of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 to recognise the multiple benefits of heritage and its fundamental value in bringing countries, communities and cultures together in Europe and beyond,” stated Plácido Domingo, the renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra. 

The EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards 2017 ceremony, co-hosted by EU Commissioner Navracsics and Maestro Plácido Domingo, will take place in the late afternoon on 15 May in St. Michael’s Church in Turku.  The European Heritage Awards Ceremony will assemble some 1,200 people, including heritage professionals, volunteers and supporters from all over Europe as well as top-level representatives from EU institutions, the host country and other EU member states.

The winners will present their exemplary heritage accomplishments during the Excellence Fair on 14 May at the Sigyn Hall of the Turku Music Conservatory, and participate in various events at the European Heritage Congress in Turku (11-15 May) (http://europanostra.org/european-heritage-congress). Organised by Europa Nostra, the Congress will provide a platform for networking and debating the latest European developments related to heritage with a special focus on the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

Applications for the 2018 awards can be submitted from 15 May to 1 October 2017 on the website www.europeanheritageawards.eu.

Additional information: Signe Vahur, UT Research Fellow in Analytical and Physical Chemistry, 737 6661, signe.vahur [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
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

UT together with professional marketing specialists develop the first consumer behaviour laboratory of its kind

3 weeks ago
05.04.2017

In March, head of the Chair of Marketing of the University of Tartu Andres Kuusik and manager of Initiative media agency Indrek Soom made an agreement whereby they decided to join the skills of the academic world with the real marketing world. The partners’ common goal is to develop the first consumer behaviour laboratory in Estonia, which would enable to analyse consumer behaviour and the ways how it can be influenced.

“Consumer traffic, noticing different communication elements and the resulting emotions are analysed and based on the analysis, marketing channels can be put to work with maximum efficiency,” the managing director of Initiative Indrek Soom commented on the agreement.

Head of UT Chair of Marketing Andres Kuusik says that through different projects the university’s researchers have come to an understanding that together with Initiative they can perceive the customers’ needs much better and, using more modern equipment, create value. “We have been developing the consumer behaviour laboratory for quite a while already. The main focus is laid on neuromarketing, i.e. different psychophysiological measurements for the benefit of marketing. For example, we measure people’s emotions and track their eye movement in order to optimise the design of packages or advertising materials, the user convenience of a website or internet shop,” said Kuusik.

The newest tools of the consumer behaviour laboratory are eye-tracking glasses. “These are very precise tools for analysing what people actually notice in a shopping environment, or in the street or while consuming the media,” said Kuusik.

According to Andres Kuusik, development of the consumer behaviour laboratory will give an output to the work of researchers, as their discoveries can be useful for Estonian enterprises. “On the other hand, it gives interesting practical examples for our lectures, and an opportunity for the students to do something completely new and practical in the field of marketing. We have let students use the lab equipment for their homework and also several bachelor’s and master’s theses have been written based on results obtained with these devices,” Kuusik pointed out the practical opportunities the laboratory can provide for students.

Additional information: Andres Kuusik, UT Head of Chair of Marketing, 737 6321, andres.kuusik [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
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Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Study reveals: when mother leaves abusive relationship, child protection workers lay responsibility with mother

3 weeks ago
05.04.2017

The master’s thesis “Child protection workers’ interpretations of parenting in assessments”, defended in the University of Tartu this year, reveals that child protection workers have different expectations for mothers and fathers. Besides, they see a mother who leaves a violent relationship as the responsible one, and disregard the father’s role.

The aim of the master’s thesis was to understand how child protection workers see the situation in the families, while they assess the parents and their roles. The study showed that child protection workers anticipate cooperativeness and the ability to change from parents, and expect them to admit problems existing in the family. Although child protection workers say that all parents may and do sometimes err, they describe a good parent as having idealistic characteristics, as someone who in their opinion should have certain personal properties and principles.

“What child protection workers deem important in a good parent is mutual trust between the parent and the child, being guided by the best interests of the child, being caring, unconditionally loving, able to set safe boundaries and do parental cooperation,” said author of the thesis Helen Hein, who believes that child protection workers might be more effective in their everyday work if they made their decisions based on the specific parent’s capability, skills and knowledge. This would enable them to help the child and the entire family more efficently, find suitable services and support measures for the family.

The study revealed that child protection workers have different expectations for mothers and fathers – fathers are less involved and mothers are seen as carrying the main responsibility for children. “For example, the mother is associated with unconditional love, caring for and developing the child, and with parenting matters. Fathers, however, are associated with playfulness, adventurous activities and being a role model for the child,” said the recent postgraduate Hein and added: “Also, when the mother left an abusive relationship, the child protection workers who participated in the research laid the responsibility on the mother and disregarded the father’s role.” According to Hein, the child protection workers sympathised more with the fathers and did not consider the fathers’ parenting mistakes to be as severe as the mothers’.

Additional information: Helen Hein, +372 555 74 234, helen.hein11 [ät] gmail.com

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

Polish Culture Days offer Polish cuisine and songs

3 weeks ago
05.04.2017

Polish Culture Days are held in Tartu from 7–9 April. The programme of this minifestival includes lectures, workshops and various activities both for grownups and children.

The lectures introduce unique Polish Easter traditions, speak about places to visit when travelling in Poland, and the most widely held superstitions in the Polish culture. In the workshops everyone can learn Polish folk dances and songs, make dumplings and colour Easter eggs. Many events are free for everyone interested and thanks to cooperation with Genialistide Klubi and Tartu Toy Museum, you can also find several family events in the weekend programme. 

The Polish Culture Days in UT College of Foreign Languages and Cultures are led by visiting lecturer of Polish language and culture Joanna Dagmara Dobosz, who has been with the University of Tartu since 2014 already. Although the Polish language is quite difficult to pronounce and its grammar is regarded among the most complex ones in the world, there are approximately 30 learners every year who are willing to take the challenge. Thanks to Joanna’s close cooperation with the Ministry of Research and Education of Poland, the best language learners can participate in summer universities in Poland free of charge every year.  Also, the lecturer has initiated the “Polish Club in Tartu” in the university, which joins Poles living in Estonia as well as everyone else interested in the Polish culture.

In addition to Dobosz, also visiting lecturers from the University of Silesia and members of the Polish community in Tartu deliver the lectures, workshops and other activities. According to the lecturer of the Polish language, all the organisers are really dedicated and also passionate about the Estonian language and they are looking forward to sharing their experience, “We can't wait to bring some of the sounds and tastes of home for you to enjoy! We have a lot to tell and we hope there will be many who listen, so we can share and experience it all together!”

The Polish Culture Days programme can be found on the event website and in Facebook.

Additional information: Joanna Dagmara Dobosz, UT College of Foreign Languages and Cultures, visiting lecturer of Polish language and culture.

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

Professor Volli Kalm was re-elected the rector of the University of Tartu

3 weeks 6 days ago
30.03.2017

Today, on 30 March 2017 the UT electoral council re-elected professor of applied geology Volli Kalm as the rector with 147 votes out of 210.

The electoral council, which is composed of members of the council, senate, faculty councils and the student council, and professors and lead research fellows, comprises 250 people.

215 electoral council members voted in the first round of the election meeting. Volli Kalm received 113 votes and Margit Sutrop received 97 votes. Therefore Volli Kalm went through to the second round of the rector’s election.

In the second round 210 electoral council members voted. Volli Kalm received 147 votes.

Volli Kalm was born on 10 February 1953. In 1976 he graduated from the University of Tartu in geology. In 1984 Kalm defended his dissertation “Formation, composition and usage of glaciofluvial deposits in Estonia” and was granted the candidate of science degree (PhD) in geology. From 1988–1989 he completed postdoctoral studies in the Department of Geology of the University of Alberta.
Volli Kalm started work in the Institute of Geology of UT Faculty of Biology and Geology in 1981. From 1998–2003 he was the vice rector for academic affairs of the University of Tartu. Since 2012, Professor Volli Kalm has been the rector of the University of Tartu.

The new term of office of Professor Volli Kalm begins on 1 July 2017.

Additional information: Priit Kaasik, chair of the election commission, priit.kaasik [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: UniversityPress release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

University of Tartu virologists created vaccine candidate for dangerous tropical disease

3 weeks 6 days ago
30.03.2017

The University of Tartu researchers together with international specialists work on a vaccine candidate that has shown exceptionally good results on animals and may in future protect people against the dangerous Chikungunya virus.

Chikungunya and Zika viruses come from the same region and are transmitted by the same mosquitoes. Also symptoms caused by the viruses are similar: high temperature, severe headache and acute skin rash. Although for a long time the Chikungunya-caused viral fever did not arouse much interest, the Chikungunya virus whose massive spread started in 2005 is regarded the medically most important alphavirus in the world and the fever it causes is a much more serious viral disease than ailments caused by the Zika virus. A person infected with Chikungunya virus may have to stay in hospital for two or three weeks and later suffer from severe joint pain for several years.  Above all else, the arthritis attacks wrists, fingers, ankles and other limb joints.

The University of Tartu virologists together with researchers from Sweden, Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and Singapore succeeded in creating one of the few anti-Chikungunya vaccine candidates, which has shown exceptionally good results in preclinical studies on mice and monkeys. 

Professor of applied virology Andres Merits of the University of Tartu hopes that the Austrian pharmaceutical company Valneva, who is very much interested in the created preparation, will start clinical trials. “Maybe such trials are in progress already, because we are constantly asked for additional information, but we do not know for certain. They have never reported it,” explained Merits.

Read further about the vaccine candidate on ERR Novaator.

Additional information: Andres Merits, UT Professor of Applied Virology, 737 5007, andres.merits [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: ResearchPress release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Estonian Refugee Council and the University of Tartu Centre for Ethics collect migration stories

3 weeks 6 days ago
29.03.2017

Estonian Refugee Council and the University of Tartu Centre for Ethics ask people with migration experience, both Estonians living abroad and foreigners staying in Estonia, to share their personal migration stories. The stories can be submitted until 17 April. Migration stories are collected in order to compile a migration-related poster collection for teachers.

“We want to create a new methodological tool for Estonian schools to support teachers in explaining the topic of migration to schoolchildren,” says the project leader and member of the board of Estonian Refugee Council Ingi Mihkelsoo. “On the one hand, the tool will reflect the reasons why people emigrate from their home countries, and on the other hand, how immigrants or their successors feel in the new society, and how they interpret their identity,” Mihkelsoo adds.

Interesting and fascinating stories of migrants’ lives might touch upon the following issues:
- important events that influenced them to leave their former homeland,
- how the new country was chosen or how they ended up there,
- how they feel as an immigrant in their new homeland – what is strange and different there, what they miss most when living abroad,
- what it feels to live in a country where your mother tongue/ cultural background/ religion/ skin colour is different,
- why they have decided to remain in their new homeland forever,
- or the other way round – why they regret their choice or at least consider returning to their homeland or moving to another country in future?  What interferes with making such a decision?

Up to 20-sentence stories in Estonian, English or Russian should be sent by 17 April to ingi [ät] pagulasabi.ee.

Ten best migration stories will be selected from among the received ones and used as an inspiration for creating migration-related posters for teachers.

Read more on Eetikaveeb.

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, 525 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)

Student Fair invites students to discover themselves

3 weeks 6 days ago
29.03.2017

On Wednesday, 29 March, the fourth Student Fair will take place in the sports hall of Estonian University of Life Sciences, giving an opportunity to the students to meet their future employers and colleagues and find out something new about themselves.

Companies taking part in the fair not only give information at their exhibition stands but also instruct students in workshops. Students can participate in practical seminars, where entrepreneurs from different areas speak about ideas and skills that are useful professionally, possible changes in the labour market, and setting goals on one’s way to realising their dreams.

Workshops are offered at the fair by Kodumaja AS, AS Ehitustrust, HANZA Mechanics Tartu AS, Viasat AS and Tele 2 Eesti AS. The workshops aim to introduce the company’s activities, offered solutions or production processes to the students. Additionally, students can demonstrate their knowledge and skills in discussing topical problems to the entrepreneurs. Topics of the workshops are available on the Student Fair’s home page at http://www.tudengimess.eu/.

“This year the speakers and seminar topics have been chosen primarily to ensure that young people studying at the university could learn something and gain clarity about themselves. We help people analyse their future directions and ways to make their dreams come true,” said Ave Rosenberg, one of the Student Fair project managers, about the specific nature of this year’s seminars.

 “Besides the meaningful seminars, also the panel discussion on entrepreneurship “I am my own boss!” will definitely be exciting. We hope we can make students think whether they could be their own employers. The pannellists are three entrepreneurs, who talk mainly about entrepreneurship and becoming an entrepreneur as a career option,” said the other project manager Tõnis Petersell.

To take part in workshops and seminars, it is necessary to register in advance HERE
Entrance is FREE
Bring along a friend and your CV, and see what your future prospects might be!

Further information: Ave Rosenberg, Student Fair project manager, ave [ät] tudengimess.eu

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 to award Skytte medal to Katri Raik

1 month ago
23.03.2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Photo contest urges to notice and capture urban nature

1 month ago
22.03.2017

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

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

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

Photos can be submitted to the photo contest “Wild City” until 20 May 2017 at http://veeb.ut.ee/photo-contest/metsik-linn-2017.

Submissions are assessed in two age groups: children (up to 15 year-olds) and adults (no age limit for participants). Each author may submit max 3 photos. Terms and conditions are specified on the photo contest website at http://veeb.ut.ee/photo-contest/metsik-linn-2017. Winners are announced on the opening date of Tartu Nature Festival, 7 June.

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

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

The photography contest is supported by Tartu City Government.

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

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