Focus on Estonia

Facts and figures, life scientists in Estonia, EMBO opportunities

Estonia has been an EMBC Member State since 2006.

Facts and figures

Estonia has a strong educational system with a high level of secondary and higher education attainment1. There are fees for bachelor and master degree studies, with scholarships available for international students2. Doctorate studies are tuition free at public universities; private institutions often offer fee waivers2. 11% of researchers and 29% of PhD students are international3, a threefold increase since 20084.  

The University of Tartu is the largest university in Estonia, and one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe2. Tallinn University of Technology is Estonia’s only University of Technology. The Estonian University of Life Sciences in Tartu is renowned for agriculture and forestry2. 

Estonia is a digital society, reflected also in R&D with a focus on smart specialization and automatization4, and the use of big data to create solutions for real life situations, such as climate change and personalized medicine2.

R&D expenditure was 1.6% of GDP in 2019, an increase of 14.3% on 20185. Expenditure on R&D was around 453 million Euros in 2019, an increase of almost 24%5. Researchers in Estonia are also successful in securing funding from international sources, e.g. through Horizon 2020 projects4. Investment, and participation in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), are central parts of the Estonian Research Infrastructure Roadmap 2019 which includes the European Life-sciences Infrastructure for Biological information (ELIXIR)6.

Population: 5.5 million11
R&D spending: 2.8% of GDP5
Life Scientists: ~ 17,0004
Foreign researchers: 12% of
researchers employed in Finland2
Patents: 1,5659
Universities: 13 with 153,000
students annually12
Universities of Applied Sciences: 22 with 145,000 students
Horizon 2020 funding:
3,208 organizations and 595 SMEs involved in H2020 projects7
144 ERC Principal Investigators8
241 Marie Skłodowska-Curie
Actions funded researchers7

All life scientists in Estonia are eligible for the EMBO Programmes supporting life scientists in Europe and beyond.

Find out about all EMBO funding schemes here.

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All information as of August 2021.


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