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SCAR - National Research Systems - Estonia
Administrative level

The Estonian Research and Development and Innovation Strategy 2007–2013 “Knowledge-based Estonia” is an RD&I area development plan approved by the Government of the Republic, which sets objectives and measures to ensure high quality and increased intensity of Estonian research and development, to increase business sector innovativeness and the added value they create as well as to establish Estonia as an innovation friendly country in 2007–2013.

The main Ministries responsible for research policy in Estonia in the field of agriculture and related fields are:

- the Ministry of Education and Research,

- the Ministry of Economics Affairs and Communications,

- the Ministry of Agriculture:

The areas of activity of the Ministry of Agriculture are drafting and realisation of national agricultural development plans and implementation of corresponding measures, regulation of activities related to the processing of agricultural products, agricultural market regulation, the national stocks of basic grain seed and food grains, food control and supervision, plant protection, veterinary medicine, animal and plant breeding, land improvement. The Ministry conducts agricultural research, provides education and training, and prepares relevant draft legislation.
The objective of the activities of the Ministry is to provide conditions for the sustainable and diverse development of Estonian rural life, agriculture, and fishing industry, to ensure safe and proper food and feeding-stuffs, and a good state of animal health and protection and plant health and protection fields through evolvement, implementation and assessment of rural development, agricultural, and fisheries policies and elaboration and implementation of food safety, animal health and protection, and plant health and protection requirements.

The principal functions of the Ministry are:

The competence of the governmental authorities within the area of government of the Ministry and the state authorities administered by the Ministry in the performance of duties within the area of government of the Ministry shall be laid down in their statutes.

Two research institutes work under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture – the Estonian Research Institute of Agriculture and Jõgeva Plant Breeding Institute At the Ministry of Agriculture, the department most involved in the area of agricultural research in Estonia is the Department of Research and Development.

Agricultural Research and Development

The Ministry of Agriculture has adopted three national programmes to promote and support agricultural research:

“Agricultural Applied Research and Development in 2009-2014”. The main objective of the programme is to promote the increase of the competitiveness of agricultural production and processing of agricultural products and to ensure sustainability, to analyse consumer and environmental risks possibly concurrent with agricultural production and products and to develop solutions to diminish those risks.

“National programme for plant breeding 2009-2019”. The aim of the Programme is to support the research aimed at the development of new varieties for food, feed and technical purposes (incl. bio-energy) that have bigger productivity and better quality and are hardier.

National Programme “Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture 2007-2013“.Objectives of the programme are collection, conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources of Estonian origin, characterization, evaluation and documentation of accessions and the development of the online searchable database (cooperation with the Nordic Gene bank), regional and international cooperation.

So as to promote and disseminate information on R&D activities both locally and internationally, summaries of the funded projects are available at the website of the Estonian Research Portal

Research institutions

  • Jõgeva Plant Breeding Institute
    Jõgeva Plant Breeding Institute is an autonomous state research and development institute under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture of Estonia. The main areas of activity of the Institute are variety breeding of agricultural crops (winter rye, winter and spring wheat, barley, oats, field peas, potatoes, vegetables, forage grasses and legumes), applied research on agro-technical aspects and seed production of agricultural crops and basic research in genetics and heritability of valuable traits, selection and description of genetic resources. Maintenance of plant genetic resources in the gene bank started in last decade. Commercial activities of the Institute include maintenance breeding, production of breeder’s seed, production and marketing of certified seed and representation of the varieties of foreign breeding companies, collection of royalties according to UPOV legislation.
  • Estonian Research Institute of Agriculture
    Estonian Research Institute of Agriculture (ERIA) is an autonomous state research and development institute under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture of Estonia. It consists of four departments: Plant Sciences, Agricultural Engineering and Technology, Plant Biotechnology and Agricultural products. ERIA’s fields of activity include basic and applied research on growing of crops and post-harvest processing and preservation; development and innovation in the fields of land use, soil preparation, sowing, fertilisation, and plant protection, harvesting; and testing agricultural technology. One of the specialities of ERIA is the research and development in the field of plant biotechnology and in vitro maintenance of plant genetic resources.
  • Agricultural Research Centre (ARC) is a state agency within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture, where is consolidated laboratories, field testing centres and departments carrying out different agri-environmental tasks. The mission of the Agricultural Research Centre is to assist Estonian agriculture in the framework of the European Union’s (EU) common agriculture through official control analyses and by creating and exchanging new knowledge. The organisation has competency in different areas: soils, seeds, fertilisers, feeding stuffs, grain and grain products, plant product quality and safety analysis, identification of plant diseases and pests, and evaluation of agri-environment measures.

Universities and colleges
Estonian University of Life Sciences
° Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
° Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences
° Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering
° Institute of Technology
° Institute of Economics and Social Sciences
° Technical College
Tallinn University of Technology
University of Tartu

Other useful links
  • On the 1 of March 2012 the Estonian Research Council will take over the responsibilities of the Estonian Science Foundation (ETF) and the Research Cooperation Centre. The Estonian Research Council will have the following functions: assessment of applications for research grants, assigning the personal research grants, making proposals to the Minister of Education and Science concerning the institutional research grants, organizing the fulfillment of commitments concerning (international) research programs, assessment of the impact of research grants and the use of performance, analyzing the public availability of the scientific information, monitoring of the intellectual property creation and exploitation and following the ethical principles and best practices.
  • Enterprise Estonia (EAS) is one of the largest institutions within the national support system for entrepreneurship in Estonia, providing financing products, advice, partnership opportunities and training for entrepreneurs, research and development institutions and the public and third sectors. Enterprise Estonia actively operates in the following areas: the enhancement of the competitiveness of Estonian enterprises in foreign markets, the inclusion of foreign direct investments, the development of tourism exports and indigenous tourism, the elaboration of technological and innovative products and services, the development of Estonian enterprises and the entrepreneurial environment and the enhancement of general entrepreneurial awareness.
  • EURAXESS ESTONIA. The portal provides information and assistance to mobile researchers.

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The SCAR committee is supported by a Secretariat with staff from the Commission's Directorate-General for Research and staff made available to SCAR from Member States (‘virtual secretariat’). The Secretariat is in charge of the preparation and follow-up of forum meetings (e.g. coordination of the agenda, invitation, documents for the meeting, minutes) and provides assistance to the working groups.
Contact person: François Constantin.