The funding decision announced today grants a total of EUR 6 million for seven research projects. Applications were made in a great variety of research fields and competition was extremely intense.
Funded projects will be last three to four years and address topics that often require collaboration between researchers from multiple disciplines. For example, one of the supported projects combines medical and computer science (artificial intelligence) capabilities to tailor cervical cancer screening to individual needs. Several supported projects deal with environmental impacts and climate change. For example, a methodology is being developed to assess the environmental impacts of different land use in the context of climate change using the soil microbiome. Another project seeks to find environmentally friendly solutions and technologies that take into account the specificities of the Baltic Sea coastline and help assess the condition of the beach and the risks of coastal construction. Applications of new bio- (wood-) based materials are also being explored where plastics of fossil origin have so far been used (e.g. in automotive, coatings and packaging). A very topical area at the moment is renewable energy – one of the projects is aimed at developing, among other things, low-power battery-based energy storage devices used by households. A separate project will focus on heritage-related processes in rural areas of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway. All three Baltic countries and Norway are also participating in a study analysing cultural differences in academic writing.
“The Baltic Research Cooperation Program creates the conditions for better cooperation between Norwegian, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian researchers and helps to find new partners. We believe that indirectly, the program will have a broader impact and also increase the impact of Baltic researchers on pan-European cooperation, including participation in the European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, European Horizon,” said Birgit Jacobsen, Senior Adviser to the Norwegian Research Council. “Expectations for the Baltic Research Cooperation Program are high. Now that the first call for proposals has been completed and the projects to be funded have been selected, it will be very exciting for us to start monitoring their implementation,” added Jacobsen.
“The Baltic research cooperation program is special in that it requires cooperation between the Baltic States and the Nordic countries. As the large number of applications and the diversity of topics have shown, our researchers have many good ideas to develop with their neighbours. Funded projects come from a variety of scientific fields, but all deal with very vital and topical issues. The Estonian Research Council was honoured and pleased to be the first organizer and we hope that the Baltic States’ scientific cooperation will only gain momentum. Many very good applications were denied support this time due to high competition, but we encourage researchers to submit their ideas for the next call for applications in Latvia and Lithuania,” said Andres Koppel, Director General of the Estonian Research Council.
The Baltic Research Cooperation Program is a programme funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to enhance scientific cooperation between the Baltic States and the European Economic Area (EEA). The total amount of the programme together with the state co-financing of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is 22 million euros. There is a total of three calls for proposals, the first of which was launched by Estonia and the second and third, which will open in January and February next year in Latvia and Lithuania respectively.
A total of 130 applications were received in the recently completed call for proposals. Of these, 46% were submitted by researchers from the University of Tartu, 32% by Tallinn University of Technology, 6% by Estonian University of Life Sciences, 6% by Tallinn University and the remaining 10% by other research institutions.
In total, more than € 114 million was requested from the programme. The total budget of the Estonian call is 6 million euros.
The highest number of applications came from natural sciences (26%), followed by medical and health sciences (23%), social sciences (19%) and technology and engineering (19%). The highest number of applications were addressing a more effective use of resources (58 applications), followed by environmentally friendly solutions (56 applications) and health applications (55).
The applications were evaluated by international experts and a joint Programme Committee consisting of eminent scientists, and the final funding decision was made by the Programme Operator, the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.
Estonian Research Council
Department of International Research Cooperation