Jaak Vilo. Photo: Andres Tennus / ERR

Jaak Vilo, Professor of the University of Tartu and Academician of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, writes in an opinion article Jaak Vilo: research funding waiting for new reformsin ERR that grants should be for additional project needs and not as a basic salary for the researcher.

Excerpts from the article:

Grants should cover just as much as it is needed for the particular institution according to the specifics of the research problem - such as additional doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, temporary project teams or scholarships for postgraduate students. In addition, there is a need to finance equipment and consumables, the salary of technicians or programmers, the cost of publishing articles, conferences and external visits.

Only if the grant system should not maintain the main jobs of the academic staff in the safe zone on the career ladder could the grant be considered as a temporary additional cost to carry out the necessary project.

Universities and institutions would focus on the selection and funding of the staff at their stable main jobs, and temporary funding for specific projects would be requested via grants. The expiration of the temporary money would then no longer endanger the entire existence of the (sub)institution.


If we want a more useful and fairer research policy for Estonia, then the grant scheme must be reformed so that it is only central to the additional costs of the grant, and not the main funding for researchers' salaries.


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