Strategic plan of the Faculty of Science and Technology for 2022–2026
Adopted on 14 October 2021
The strategic plan of the Faculty of Science and Technology (‘faculty’) proceeds from the university’s strategic plan until 2025, the university’s mission, core values and vision, and the principles of sustainable development.
The faculty’s core values are internationally high-level research and development, teaching at all levels of higher education, communication with the public, and thereby serving society and disseminating scientific worldview.
Development is supported by cutting-edge research, modern teaching activities, the effective functioning of the organisation, the financial performance of research groups and institutes, limiting excessive bureaucracy, transparency of decision-making processes and employee involvement.
The faculty’s main fields of research and development are science, engineering and life sciences, green energy, new materials and technologies, computer science, digital technologies, robotics, bio- and eco-technologies, synthetic biology, biodiversity, adaptation to climate and environmental changes, molecular and cell biology, genetics, genomics, biomedicine, and interdisciplinary research that bind natural sciences to other disciplines.
The main fields of teaching are computer sciences, life sciences, biomedicine, molecular life sciences, physical sciences, environmental sciences, earth sciences, mathematics and statistics, engineering and education.
The faculty’s objectives are to increase contribution to the development of an enterprising society and university, the dissemination of research-based worldview and the development of the Estonian scientific language in science and engineering. The achievement of these objectives is based on the state-of-the-art fundamental sciences at an international level.
1. Quality of education, development and marketing of curricula
1.1. Our main focus is on developing teaching skills and diversifying teaching methods by training teaching staff, technological support for the development of teaching tools and conducting teaching, and involving the communities of teaching practice, teaching assistants, and pedagogical cooperation based on the Centre for Science Education.
1.2. We support the diversified and combined use of teaching methods, including the continued introduction of e-learning opportunities. Based on the objectives of ensuring the quality of research-based teaching and maintaining the role of the university’s social environment, we keep the percentage of face-to-face learning at a 50% minimum.
1.3. When developing curricula, we aim to develop digital competence and the targeted use of digital solutions in the learning process. We ensure that our students have solid basic knowledge in mathematics that supports upgrading their professional skills.
1.4. We ensure the provision of top-level Estonian-language higher education in all specialisations in our area of responsibility. We maintain the current balance between Estonian and English curricula, support the better involvement of foreign researchers in teaching and promote international learning mobility, aiming to involve at least 20% of students in mobility. We keep the share of international students among all master’s graduates of the faculty at the current level.
1.5. We value education at the master’s level. We motivate students to continue their studies at the second level of higher education and consider the 3+2 model as comprehensive higher education. We aim to achieve an 80% ratio between the master’s graduates of the faculty and students who started their bachelor’s studies five years earlier.
1.6. In developing Estonian-taught curricula, we bear in mind the use and dissemination of scientific terminology in Estonian. We support the publication of textbooks and other teaching aids in Estonian.
1.7. The development of English-taught curricula is based on the strengths of faculty’s research and the needs of the Estonian labour market. We create opportunities for international students studying in English-taught curricula to learn the Estonian language and culture. We aim to ensure that at least 75% of all graduating international students have taken Estonian language courses.
1.8. We develop curricula based on the needs of society, including through business traineeships, workplace-based learning (industrial master’s programme) and the strengthening of entrepreneurship modules.
1.9. We help the state achieve its objectives in education through teacher training in science and engineering and master’s programmes that support lifelong learning. We create new and flexible opportunities for lifelong learning, incl. by developing modules suitable for continuing education based on degree study courses.
1.10. We increase the attractiveness of teacher training. We provide support for the organisation of teacher training across the faculty. We ensure that future teachers master their subject and the latest teaching methods and know real school life.
1.11. We maintain at least the current admission numbers in total. We increase the visibility of the faculty’s curricula in society, including by offering massive open online courses (MOOCs) and micro-credentials.
1.12. We engage in active information and marketing activities in general education schools, including in cooperation with the University of Tartu Youth Academy. The aim is to increase the proportion of students who have made an informed choice and thereby reduce dropout.
1.13. We provide scholarships to support the studies of talented young people and involve them early in the activities of research groups.
2. Research and development
2.1. As the faculty’s priority in research and development, we ensure the sustainability of fundamental and applied research that meets the needs of society and increase its international visibility.
2.2. We cooperate with ministries and other stakeholders in the development of national research and development programmes. We are a partner and adviser to the state in the research policy of the European Union to contribute to solving global problems. We increase the faculty’s visibility in international networks of universities.
2.3. We increase the volume of external funding in the faculty’s research and development and participate in the R&D partnership programmes of the European Union in strategic research areas. We initiate research cooperation between faculties, involving researchers in social sciences, humanities and medical sciences in development projects and programmes.
2.4. To leverage investments in research infrastructures, we cooperate with other research universities and institutions as well as international research infrastructure networks. For this, we support and direct Estonia’s participation in European infrastructure networks. We increase the cross-usage of research infrastructures, including scientific collections, and make the related services more accessible to non-university stakeholders.
2.5. As the controller of the Estonian Genome Centre, we develop it as an essential object of research infrastructure, which creates the scientific basis for the implementation of personalised medicine in health care.
2.6. We implement the open science policy: we support free access to publications and scientific data gained from studies using public funds and support the development of the respective data repositories. We foster and support the findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability of research data and the creation of the respective research infrastructures.
2.7. We ensure a smooth transition to doctoral studies based on junior research fellows in the framework of five doctoral programmes, ensure the national average salary and social guarantees for junior research fellows.
2.8. We increase doctoral admission and the number of defended doctoral theses in rapidly developing areas of technology, such as informatics, bio- and energy technologies and robotics, while maintaining the volume of other programmes. We increase competition to doctoral student places and keep the efficiency of doctoral studies at a 60% minimum.
2.9. We keep the percentage of Estonian-speaking doctoral students at a 30% minimum in all programmes to ensure the next generation of academics could offer Estonian-language teaching in higher education and introduce research results to the Estonian public.
2.10. We cooperate with companies and public sector institutions in developing industry doctorates and facilitating knowledge transfer by that.
2.11. We make sure that the principles of ethical research and the Code of Conduct for Research Integrity are fully implemented in research projects.
3. Serving society, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial spirit
3.1. We contribute to the emergence and development of new and existing research-intensive enterprises by developing important research directions and cooperation between top researchers and entrepreneurs.
3.2. We increase the volume of business contracts concluded and support the feasibility fund grants in cooperation with the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. We support the investment of intellectual property in cooperation with the university’s company UniTartu Ventures.
3.3. We participate actively in the implementation of Estonia’s digital and green turn. We turn the faculty into a long-term competence centre for the European Union’s green deal. We develop high-tech renewable energy solutions and methods of biodegradation to reduce environmental pollution. We actively participate in developing hydrogen technologies and the related counselling of the state, local governments and entrepreneurs. We participate in the planning of the activities of Ida-Viru County’s fair transition programme in line with the objectives of the green turn and renewable energy. We carry out research projects and participate in programmes that deal with nature conservation issues.
3.4. We develop digital solutions for the more efficient and secure functioning of the activities of companies and public sector institutions.
3.5. In cooperation with the Faculty of Medicine and the medical community, we support the development of personalised medicine in Estonia with the help of genomics, digital technology and other development work. We support new business in health technology through the data accelerator of the biobank and in cooperation with partners of new business programmes in Estonia and elsewhere in the world.
3.6. We offer evidence-based solutions to problems the country is facing, for instance, by applied research related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
3.7. By research popularisation, we contribute to the development of the scientific worldview of society.
4. People, organisation and work environment
4.1. We care for our staff; we notice every staff member and recognise the best. We implement the academic career model that motivates the starting research and teaching staff and values the experienced ones.
4.2. Based on the specifics and academic traditions of the faculty, the ideal job model is that of a teaching researcher and a teaching staff member doing research.
4.3. We ensure that the number of teaching staff in rapidly growing fields, such as IT, biotechnology and other engineering-related fields, continues to increase while ensuring the needs of Estonian-language teaching. We invite young Estonian researchers completing their doctoral and postdoctoral studies abroad to work at the University of Tartu.
4.4. We support our international employees in learning Estonian to improve their opportunities to participate in university life in various roles. Our goal is that the percentage of international employees taking Estonian language courses exceeds 50%.
4.5. We promote cooperation within the faculty and with other structural units of the university. Synergy in teaching and research within the faculty and close cooperation, incl. in the faculty’s doctoral centre, is important.
4.6. In developing the campus, our priority is finding a solution to the room needs of the Institute of Technology and the Institute of Genomics.
4.7. In the Maarjamõisa field, we develop a demo area for green solutions and green energy applications to introduce both green solutions and green energy models to the public and scientifically monitor their effectiveness and impact.
4.8. In cooperation with the student body and architects, we create areas of recreation and socialisation for students in all study buildings if necessary. In partnership with the city, we are looking for ways to improve movement between the academic buildings of the faculty, including cycle and pedestrian tracks and public transport.