Ratas: restarting the economy requires investing in the cooperation of entrepreneurs and researchers

Stenbock House, Tallinn, 9 June 2020 – The Economic Development Committee of the government convened today to discuss contributing more to the organisation of applied research of companies and was given an overview of the plans to support doctoral studies in the field of entrepreneurship more efficiently.

“Now is the time to make an effort to exit the virus crisis and look for ways to renew our economy,” said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas. “One way of achieving this is undoubtedly the closer cooperation between science and entrepreneurship, allowing our entrepreneurs to find new competitive advantages. That is why we support applied research more than before through Enterprise Estonia. We are also expanding the opportunities for doctoral studies in the field of entrepreneurship to provide companies with the researchers and engineers they need for their R&D activities.”
Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology Raul Siem presented to the committee plans for the organisation of applied research and experimental development on the basis of the needs of the companies, to be provided with the help of an applied research programme to be established at Enterprise Estonia (EAS).
“The applied research programme will become an important support for our entrepreneurs to help them find new business opportunities, develop new products and services, and implement new research and development projects to increase their competitiveness and commercial success. During the current funding period, we wish to increase the number of entrepreneurs engaged in applied research by at least half, and wish for R&D investments to amount to 0.4 per cent of the GDP,” said Siem.

In September, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will also submit proposals to the government committee for the establishment of applied research vouchers.

Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps gave the committee an overview of the establishment of doctoral studies in the field of entrepreneurship to promote cooperation between universities and companies. This would give Estonia more people with a doctorate who are able to apply cutting-edge research results in business. In addition to enhancing doctoral studies in the field of entrepreneurship, cooperation with companies will be encouraged in doctoral studies in academically oriented fields. The terms of support will be developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications by early 2021.

“Doctoral studies in the field of entrepreneurship are a great way to introduce more researchers and doctoral students to the development processes taking place in companies and institutions. It is in the state’s interest that the number of people engaged in research increases in the private sector. We have also set this objective for ourselves in the new strategy for research and development, innovation, and entrepreneurship,” said Reps.

The aim of the Economic Development Committee of the government is to promote Estonia’s economic development and improve the state’s competitiveness. The committee is headed by the prime minister. The members of the committee are the minister of foreign trade and information technology, the minister of education and research, the minister of justice, the minister of economy and infrastructure, the minister of finance, the minister of social affairs, and the minister of foreign affairs. Other ministers will attend the committee meetings at the invitation of the prime minister if the subject matter requires the presence of the responsible minister.