Photo: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The unions (from TÜ, EMÜ, TLÜ, EKI) gave their feedback tothe draft of the intention of the research and development organization act. The main points stress:

  • The need to ensure collaborative research instead of unhealthy competition (which turns into a fight for survival in the case of underfunding)
  • The overemphasis on setting national priorities jeopardizes constitutionally protected academic freedom and the adaptability of Estonian science, especially in conditions where national priorities focus not on science but on innovation (unlike research, which mean creating new knowledge, innovation is the application of existing knowledge)
  • How materially securing only the top researchers does not guarantee sustainability of Estonian science
  • There is a need to ensure basic job security and wage stability for all academic staff

Academic unions consider that wage stability and job security for academics would make a major contribution to solving the problems for which bill drafting has been initiated. Also, ensuring academic freedom takes Estonian science forward.

In addition, it is pointed out that the current project-based funding model has led to non-compliance of researchers' employment contracts with the Employment Contracts Act (töölepinguseadus TLS). De jure violation of the TLS in the academy can only end with the guarantee of a basic income for the academic staff member. Better funding for working groups and respect for academic freedom will help to combat de facto breaches of the TLS. Ensuring work equipment, (basic) salary and finding a replacement for an employee in case of illness are the employer's responsibilities, not the employee's ones.

Read the full feedback here.

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