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

2 months 1 week ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Category: Research
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Tõnu Lehtsaar is acting rector of the University of Tartu

2 months 1 week ago

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

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

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

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


Category: Continuing CoursesUniversity
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

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

2 months 2 weeks ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The University of Tartu

Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Announcement by the Rector's Office

2 months 3 weeks ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The University of Tartu Rector’s  Office

Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Rector Volli Kalm passed away

2 months 3 weeks ago
This node is in trash23.12.2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Kaleidoskoop winners announced at sTARTUp Day pitching marathon

3 months ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

STARTER programme is supported by the European Social Fund.

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

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

Category: Entrepreneurship
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Merger agreement of Tartu Observatory and the University of Tartu signed

3 months ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

The merger is supported by the ASTRA programme.

Category: Continuing CoursesUniversityPress release
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

sTARTUp Day 2017 business festival starts in Tartu

3 months 1 week ago

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Category: EntrepreneurshipPress release
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Kaleidoskoop’s top 10 prepare for sTARTUp Day

3 months 1 week ago

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

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

This semester’s TOP 10 are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Category: Entrepreneurship
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

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

3 months 2 weeks ago

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

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

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

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

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

The entire program can be viewed on the University website.

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

Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

International community discusses the Viking Age in Tartu

3 months 2 weeks ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

Category: ResearchPress release
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)
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