The Estonian Academy of Sciences

Kohtu 6, 10130 Tallinn, ESTONIA
www.akadeemia.ee

In all its activities, the EAS is guided by its motto: Facta non solum verba

BRIEFLY ABOUT THE EAS

The Estonian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1938 as a body of distinguished scientists and scholars with commitment and responsibility to advance scientific research and represent Estonian science nationally and internationally. In 1946 it was reorganized and, until 1995, acted also as an umbrella for various scientific institutions, including 19 research institutes. The new, currently valid Act on the Estonian Academy of Sciences was adopted in 1997.

The Academy is an autonomous organisation with the primary mission to assist in building a knowledge-based Estonia, fostering adaptation of new knowledge for economic growth and improvement of the quality of life in Estonia, enhancing public appreciation of science and scientific methods of thought. Relying on the intellectual power of its Members, the Academy organises various activities in order to achieve its objectives. The Academy provides independent and highly professional scientific expertise and science-policy advice, promotes excellence in research, communicates and disseminates knowledge, enhances public awareness of science and scientists, encourages research co-operation at national and international levels.

 

STRUCTURE

The EAS has 60 seats for full members and, currently, 15 foreign members. Members are elected for distinction and achievement in their fields of research; membership is for life.

General Assembly is the highest decisive body of the EAS. Board is the collegial directing body of the Academy acting between the sessions of the general assembly. Divisions unite the academy members of the corresponding scientific field and the institutions of the EAS in cooperation with other R&D institutions and learned societies of the same scientific field. There are four divisions at the EAS:

  • Division of Astronomy and Physics;
  • Division of Informatics and Engineering;
  • Division of Biology, Geology and Chemistry;
  • Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Division of Biology, Geology and Chemistry has within its remit the scientific disciplines covered by the UEAA.

Institutions

The EAS may set up institutions; there are two Academy institutions at present:
Under and Tuglas Literature Centre (http://www.utkk.ee/eng/contacts.html) whose main tasks are the study of texts from Estonian written culture, the analysis of Estonian literature in the contexts of the historical Baltic literary space and of world literature, and the advancement of literary and cultural theory in close connection with the newest trends in the world.
Estonian Academy Publishers (http://www.kirj.ee/r1-i.htm) is the leading publishing house for scientific periodical literature in Estonia whose publications cover almost all important areas of contemporary science. The Publishers issues:

  • 5 series of proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences: “Biology. Ecology”; “Physics. Mathematics”; “Geology”; “Chemistry”; “Engineering”;
  • The journals: “Trames”; “Linguistica Uralica”; “Oil Shale”; “Acta Historica Tallinnensia”; “Estonian Journal of Archaeology”;
  • Non-periodical scientific literature (monographs, collections of papers, yearbooks, etc.).

The proceedings and journals are electronically available either in the database of EBSCO or CEEOL.

Councils and commissions

At present there are following expert panels related to the Academy: Energy Council, Council of Population and Public Health, Publishing Council, Council of Associated Learned Societies, Council for International Exchanges, Nature Protection Commission, Commission of Meteoritics.

Associated research institutes, societies and unions

R&D institutes, cultural institutions and learned societies, whose activities and objectives comply with the interests and aims of the EASy, may associate with the Academy. Totally 16 association agreements have been signed with research institutes (6) as well as learned societies and unions (10) since 1989.

ACTIVITY

With the aim to fulfil its tasks, the Academy:

  • Initiates, organises and co-ordinates scientific research;
  • Develops international scientific co-operation and represents the Estonian science in international organisations;
  • Publishes scientific and popular science issues;
  • Furthers co-operation with universities and other research institutions and contributes to training of the new generations of scientists;
  • Organises scientific colloquia, conferences, and meetings with papers delivered;
  • Carries out contests of research works and awards prizes for scientific research works;
  • Grants scholarships and research benefits to scientists and university students;
  • Promotes the activity causing the science to be liked and esteemed;
  • Counsels the Parliament, the Government of the Republic and the state institutions;
  • Participates in drafting the legal acts relating to R&D activity;
  • Participates, through the agency of its representatives, in the work of Estonian R&D institutions, foundations and decision making bodies and expert panels;
  • Submits opinions regarding financing of the Estonian R&D activity and science organisation;
  • Acts in furtherance of realisation of creative potential of scientists and protect their rights.

Development Plan of the EAS for 2006–2010 was approved by the General Assembly in 2006. The document lays down the directions of activity of the EAS for the forthcoming years, with a view to enhancing the role and responsibility of Academy in channelling the development of research and high technology innovation, in giving shape to the national R&D strategy, in promotion of international scientific co-operation with the European Union and other countries.

Research Professors

 

In 2001 the position of Research Professor was established in Estonia. The Professorship enables top-level Estonian scientists to do research to the exclusion of regular teaching chores during the period of tenure at the EAS. Board of the Academy elected the first Research Professors in 2002. Their period of Research Professorship was completed successfully, and the research done was assessed as excellent. In 2005, a new contest was organised, where three vacancies of the office of Research Professor were filled for the period 2006–2008.

Foundation of the Estonian Academy of Sciences

On 1 May 2006, Foundation of the Estonian Academy of Sciences was set up, attached to the Foundation of Estonian National Culture, with the aim to support the research of young Estonian scientists holding a doctorate. The first scholarships will be allocated in autumn 2007. The Foundation is open for contributions.

International relations

 

Promotion of scientific co-operation at national and international levels is one of the main responsibilities of the EAS. The Academy’s international activities fall into the following major areas:

  • Representation of Estonian science in various international organisations (ICSU, IAP, UAI, ALLEA, EASAC, ESF, etc.); support to Estonian National Committees for international scientific unions, dissemination of information about such activities;
  • Participation in various EU structures (expert committees and advisory boards, ERA-MORE network of mobility centres, R&D programmes, etc.); involvement in NATO science programmes;
  • Bilateral co-operation with academies and other partner institutions on the basis of co-operation agreements (in total 29); to foster international mobility of researchers, the EAS runs a scientific exchange programme, hosting on average 100 visiting researchers per year and nominating approximately 150 Estonian scientists and scholars per year for study and conference visits abroad;
  • Organisation of and participation in joint scientific events (incl. traditional Baltic Conferences on Intellectual Co-operation).

MEDALS, PRIZES, SCHOLARSHIPS:

The EAS bestows a number of medals in recognition of significant results in research. Among them are Nikolai Alumäe Medal in informatics and engineering; Karl Schlossmann Medal in medicine and related areas; Paul Ariste Medal in social sciences and the Humanities; Wilhelm Ostwald Medal in chemistry and related areas. Named prizes of the EAS are established to highlight excellence inn research. There are two at present: Bernhard Schmidt Prize to young scientists and engineers for excellent applications of research and Karl Ernst von Baer Prize in biology, geography and geology. Scholarships of the Academy have been originated to support completion of monographic research works and popular science books, their layout and editing.

PUBLICATIONS

 

In 1940, the first Year Book of the EAS was published. Due to the historical events the tradition was only restored with the Year Book 1996. Electronic version of the most recent Year Book is always available on the Academy’s web page: http://www.akadeemia.ee/en/.

The list of publications has been replenished by a number of new titles.  In June 2006 the EAS presented the 10th book of the series “National Science Awards of the Republic of Estonia”, Another series of the EAS known by the public as the “blue books” (due to the blue cover design), covers a variety of subjects, e.g. The Youth in Science; Estonian Science Reform – Advantages and Disadvantages; Scientific Thought in Estonia. Engineering; Scientific Thought in Estonia. Medical Science, etc. In 2004 the EAS jointly with the Association of the Centres of Excellence of Estonian Science published a collection titled “Centres of Excellence of Estonian Science” (also available on the web page of the EAS).

EAS AND THE YOUNG PEOPLE IN SCIENCE

 

The EAS understands the fundamental relevance of young people for the knowledge-based society and feels concern about a steady process of ageing within the scientific community, Therefore, the Academy takes steps to attract talented youth for a career in science. In co-operation with other organisations and state bodies, the Academy seeks feasible solutions to the problems arising (typically for a small country) from limited (human) resources. The EAS awards annual Student Research Prizes with the aim to highlight deserving young authors for fine results in research and support talented students in their independent research efforts.

ACADEMY AND SOCIETY

 

The Academy is a part of scientific communication and society system. The EAS attempts to bring together experts on science policy, scientists, media representatives and the public to develop a balanced and inspirational development of the communication between scientists and the society in Estonia organising on-going conferences “Science and Society: Charting the Future” with the primary goal to define and address a very concrete question: how can a small country, with limited human and financial resources, best develop and use its own scientific and technical potential in the service of its society? This continues to be the key issue, calling for careful reasoned thinking about how to adapt the Estonian research system – as a part of European and World Research Area – to changes in the society and how to balance the needs of the society for concrete answers which can be applied to treat specific questions and the basic needs of science for independence and room for creative discoveries.

The Academy’s strategic objectives in the scientific communication are:

  • To promote interest in science and technology;
  • To enhance the dialogue between citizens and the scientific community;
  • To increase the society’s understanding of the importance of the scientific innovation and the challenges of the scientific research in Estonia as part of Europe as well as in the world generally.

The Academy is also a partner organisation for organising the European Researchers Night 2006 project in Estonia with the aim to bringing the everyday work of scientists closer to large public and to present researchers as a community of interesting, attractive, and open-minded people.