Tartu University News

Global Soil War Discovered Thanks to UT Scientists

2 weeks 3 days ago
02.08.2018

The first global study of soil genomics revealed a battle right under our feet. The clash between fungi and bacteria and research into this topic may benefit both farmers and the pharmaceutical industry.

The microscopic fungi that inhabit soil are essential for plant growth, but they are constantly at war with bacteria in order to survive. The discovery was made by an international research team led by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University of Tartu in Estonia.

The lead authors of the study are Mohamad Bahram from the University of Tartu and Falk Hildebrand from the EMBL. They are the first scientists to study bacteria and fungi found in soil all across the world.

The research showed that only 0.5% of the millions of genes found in soil are familiar to us from gut and ocean microbiomes. "The number of unknown genes is overwhelming, but the ones we can interpret clearly point to a global war between bacteria and fungi in soil," says Peer Bork, EMBL group leader and corresponding author of the paper.

This new knowledge can help predict the impact of climate change on soil and help us make better use of natural soil components in agriculture. This is important because climate change and extensive use of synthetic fertilisers have considerably decreased the diversity of the soil microbiome. The soil microbiome is a microsystem that consists of bacteria, microfungi, unicellular organisms and other microorganisms that are invisible to the naked eye. The reduction in the biodiversity of this system has made crop cultivation increasingly difficult.

A better understanding of the interaction between fungi and bacteria in soil could help to reduce the use of soil fertilisers in agriculture. This would give beneficial microorganisms a better chance of survival in their natural habitat.

The study also showed that fungi and bacteria that are in constant competition for nutrients produce a variety of antibiotics such as penicillin in order to gain an upper hand over one another. This can be survived only by bacteria that have sufficiently effective antibiotic-resistant genes.

This knowledge can be used to predict the spread of genes that lead to antibiotic resistance in different ecosystems and the ways they may reach human pathogens, i.e. disease-producing agents. This in turn can be used to pinpoint locations with high levels of natural antibiotic producers. This can greatly benefit the medical industry, as the rapid development of resilient bacteria has made finding effective antibiotics more complicated.

In order to produce such results, scientists had to get their hands dirty and analyse 58,000 soil samples collected over five years from 1,450 carefully selected sites all over the world. Forty samples were collected from each site. All of the sites had to be untouched by human activity, including by agriculture. Of the 1,450 sample sites, 189 were selected for in-depth analysis, covering the world's most important biomes on all continents from tropical forests to tundra.

Normal 0 21 false false false ET X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} The results of the study were recently published in Nature.

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Category: Research
Kaja Karo (kajakk)

Toomas Asser to Head University of Tartu Starting From 1 August

2 weeks 3 days ago
01.08.2018

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Today, on 1 August 2018, Professor Toomas Asser will begin his tenure as the Rector of the University of Tartu. The current Acting Rector, Professor Tõnu Lehtsaar, handed over the university's administration, assets and documentation to Toomas Asser yesterday, on 31 July.

As he handed over the documents, Tõnu Lehtsaar thanked everyone for pleasant cooperation. "Support is essential to the work of rectors. I was reassured that the university is strong and able to cope with unexpected circumstances. I wish the university every success in the future," said Lehtsaar, who added that he is planning to take some time off in the upcoming weeks in order to rest.

Professor Toomas Asser gave Tõnu Lehtsaar his heartfelt thanks for his willingness to help with the running of the university during the difficult transitional period. "I have stood close to the university administration for quite a while and I know how much responsibility it involves."

Toomas Asser said that he is already grateful to the university's staff for their assistance in running and developing the organisation. "I will begin my work as rector with great confidence, because I know that I have a strong team. On the other hand, it is a bit unnerving, because running the University of Tartu is completely different from my previous work as a doctor at the Tartu University Hospital."

The University of Tartu Senate appointed Professor of Psychology of Religion Tõnu Lehtsaar Acting Rector on 27 December 2017, following the unexpected death of Rector Professor Volli Kalm. Tõnu Lehtsaar will resume his work as the chaplain and counsellor of the university staff and a member of the University Council on 1 August.

Professor of Neurosurgery Toomas Asser was elected Rector of the University of Tartu on 26 April 2018. His tenure begins on 1 August 2018 and lasts for five years. The inauguration of the rector will take place on 24 August.

As of 1 August, the university's rectorate will also have a new Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs – Aune Valk. Vice-Rector for Research Kristjan Vassil and Vice-Rector for Development Erik Puura will continue in their current roles.

There are also other changes in the membership of the University Council. Professor of Cardiology Jaan Eha will replace Toomas Asser as a member of the council. Irja Lutsar, who participated in the work of the council as an alternate member during Tõnu Lehtsaar's tenure as the acting rector, will resume her work as a member of the senate.

More information: Toomas Asser, Rector of the University of Tartu, +372 737 5600, rektor [ät] ut.ee

Category: University
Kaja Karo (kajakk)

An important genetic test for pregnant women will soon be made in Estonia

2 weeks 6 days ago
30.07.2018

Estonian researchers have developed an innovative method of medical genetics that will enable non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) to be carried out soon in Estonia. NIPT is like an insurance policy, providing reliable genetic testing about fetal chromosomal health already at an early phase of pregnancy. An advanced genetic testing laboratory location on site strengthens the diagnostics sector in Estonia.

The age of pregnant women continues to increase in Estonia and elsewhere in Europe, which is associated with a higher risk for fetal chromosomal diseases. With the help of NIPT, the genetic mutations causing these diseases can be detected with 100% precision at an early stage of pregnancy by analysing fetal cell-free DNA from a pregnant woman’s blood sample. The NIPT has been available for pregnant women in Estonia even now, but so far samples have been sent and analyzed abroad. Therefore, the cost of testing is about €400–800 per test and is paid out of the pocket by families. 

The Competence Centre on Health Technologies (CCHT), along with University of Tartu (UT), has created a new NIPT algorithm, the core of the NIPT testing procedure, referred to as NIPTmer. By applying NIPT, a blood sample obtained from pregnant woman is used to find out if a fetus is carrying an additional copy of chromosome 13, 18, or 21. For example, an additional copy of chromosome 21 causes Down syndrome, which is one of the most prevalent causes of developmental disability. In addition, NIPT provides information about the sex of the fetus.

Andres Salumets, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at UT and the Head of CCHT confirmed that the introduction of NIPT bridged the last gap in the fetal health screening program in Estonia. As modern and accurate genetic studies become available to all pregnant women in Estonia, it is important that samples are not sent for analysis abroad, as the reporting should be made quickly, in order to reduce the anxiety of future parents.

The developed NIPT technology makes it possible to detect fetal chromosomal diseases from maternal blood from the 10th week of gestation onward. Nowadays, at this early stage of pregnancy, the NIPT is the only available technology to reveal fetal chromosomal diseases with 100% accuracy, while other screening methods demonstrate lower reliability. 

The development of NIPT has to date been largely accomplished by large international companies, keeping the price of the testing high. Since patients in Estonia pay for NIPT by themselves, it is not affordable for all pregnant women. At the same time, NIPT testing is effective in revealing all fetal chromosomal diseases, and it is completely risk-free for the fetus and the mother. Therefore, for example, in the Netherlands and Belgium, the NIPT is fully reimbursed to all pregnant women to provide the best services to the entire society.

In Estonia, the development of novel NIPT technology has been supported by Enterprise Estonia (EAS) at CCHT, involving the researchers from the University of Tartu and clinicians from the Tartu University Hospital and the East Tallinn Central Hospital. According to professor Ants Kurg and Dr. Lauris Kaplinski, both from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology at UT, nearly 550 pregnant women have been tested for fetal chromosomal diseases in Estonia using NIPTmer, and the disease has been correctly detected in ca. 40 fetuses.

“Collecting a critical amount of valuable blood samples from pregnant women to develop the test takes a long time and requires close cooperation between scientists and clinicians”, said Dr. Kaarel Krjutškov, the Head of the Product Development at CCHT. He added that advanced IT know-how was applied to develop the NIPTmer data analysis algorithms for the NIPT platform. “As we achieved encouraging results from the clinical validation study using NIPTmer in fetal screening, the laboratory at CCHT is now fully prepared to offer the NIPT service. Moreover, as we do not need to pay license fees as we use our proprietary technology and do not send the NIPT samples for testing outside of Estonia, the pricing of NIPT is kept as low as possible”, he added. According to Krjutškov, a NIPT genetic test must be performed within ten days after blood sampling. “We need to do an analysis for this time, regardless of the number of samples. It’s like a regular bus, which has to run even when there are few passengers”, he said.

The paper describing the NIPTmer platform for fetal chromosomal screening was published in Scientific Reports, providing the last missing piece of expertise before starting to provide precision medicine services to pregnant women in Estonia. The annual need for NIPT testing reaches up to 5,000 tests in Estonia and costs up to 2 million euros. In 2017, the Estonian Gynecologists Society made the application to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund to start compensating for NIPT at least for pregnant women with high-risk pregnancies for fetal chromosomal disorders. The application is still pending and the decision will be made public this year. Kaarel Krjutškov added that the genomics lab at CCHT is planning to begin the NIPT analyses this autumn.

Original article is available at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-23589-8

More information:
Dr. Kaarel Krjutškov, Head of Product Development at CCHT, mobile phone: 5126 416, kaarel.krjutshkov [ät] gmail.com
Prof. Andres Salumets, Head of CCHT and Professor of Reproductive Medicine at UT, 5620 4004, andres.salumets [ät] ut.ee

Category: ResearchPress release
Kaja Karo (kajakk)

Priit Eelmäe to take over as Tartu University Hospital director

3 weeks 3 days ago
26.07.2018

The council of Tartu University Hospital elected Priit Eelmäe, the current chairman of the board at Haapsalu Neurological Rehabilitation Centre, to take over as director of the university hospital for a five-year term.

Eelmäe graduated from the University of Tartu in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in exercise and sports sciences. In 1997, he defended his master's thesis in physical therapy at the same university.

He has previously worked as vice-dean of the University of Tartu Faculty of Exercise and Sport Sciences, chair and lecturer of the same faculty's Institute of Exercise Biology, Chair of Physiotherapy and Health Promotion, and manager of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit at the Tallinn University Haapsalu College Competence Centre in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation. Since 2008, Eelmäe has served as director of Haapsalu Neurological Rehabilitation Centre and contributed to the development of this field in Estonian medicine.

Eelmäe has also been a member of the Estonian Hospitals Association and served as president of the Estonian Physiotherapists Association.

Additional information:
Urmas Klaas, Tartu University Hospital´s Head of the Council, Mayor of Tartu, 513 5145, urmas.klaas [ät] raad.tartu.ee
Priit Eelmäe, 5393 2020, priit.eelmae [ät] hnrk.ee

Category: University
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

UT researchers participated in prototyping innovative materials for endoprotheses

1 month ago
12.07.2018

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Reseachers of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tartu participated in the international orthopaedicians’ consortium HypOrth, which developed innovative materials for orthopaedic joint implants. These materials can reduce patients’ post-surgery infection risks and the probability of implant loosening.

Head of the Department of Traumatology and Orthopaedics of the UT Institute of Clinical Medicine, Professor of Orthopaedics Aare Märtson explained that in the five-year project, UT researchers were in charge of collecting material for analysis and creating the database. “We cooperated with medical doctors of the Magdeburg University Hospital in Germany and the Tartu University Hospital. They helped us collect clinical samples and materials from more than 400 patients to whom a hip or knee endoprosthesis was implanted. We also performed genetic studies on all patients who participated in the study,” Märtson said.

Head of the Department of Pathophysiology of the UT Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, Professor of Pathophysiology Sulev Kõks explained that as a result of the genetic research, the university researchers ascertained the genes and genetic variants that have a significant role in causing the loosening of an implant. “We showed that in patients with certain genetic variants, the lifetime of a specific type of implant will be half as long as in others. This knowledge helps us apply personalised medicine for joint prosthetics. In future it will be possible to identify biomarkers that would predict prostheses-related complications, and help the doctor to select the most suitable prosthesis for the patient,” said Kõks.

The final meeting of the HypOrth consortium took place in Magdeburg, Germany, at the end of June. The consortium had eight partners from eight countries: besides the clinical partners from Germany and Estonia, researchers from Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland and Spain were involved in the project. From the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tartu, the Department of Traumatology and Orthopaedics of the Institute of Clinical Mediicine, and the Department of Pathophysiology of the Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine participated in the project.

Further information can be found on the HypOrth website.

Further information:
Aare Märtson, Head of Department of Traumatology and Orthopaedics of the UT Institute of Clinical Medicine, 731 8280aare.martson [ät] ut.ee (, )
Sulev Kõks, Head of Department of Pathophysiology of the UT Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, 737 4371sulev.koks [ät] ut.ee (, )

Kaja Karo Senior Specialist for Public Realtions Phone +372 737 5509
Mobile: +372 505 3468 kaja.karo [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: Research
Kaja Karo (kajakk)

Students from nearly 30 countries to study at UT International Summer University

1 month 2 weeks ago
02.07.2018

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The University of Tartu’s International Summer University takes place from the beginning of July to the end of August, offering 11 programmes with topics ranging from the semiotics of culture, and language studies to defence policy. Besides the traditional programmes there are two new ones this year: “Asia and the Middle East: Differences and Commonalities” and “Educational Change in Times of Rapid Technological Innovation”.

The summer university programme focusing on the topics of Asia and the Middle East is intended for both international and Estonian students and aims to bring together people interested in these topics from all continents, promoting the acquisition of new knowledge in a multicultural classroom. “It is highly necessary to bring an academic discussion of these regions to the University of Tartu, and involve learners and lecturers from different cultures, whose perspectives and academic background will be enriching for all participants,” said Head of the UT Asian Centre Elo Süld. She added that this year’s summer university also gives a good opportunity to inform the participants of the Asia-related master’s programme that will be opened in autumn 2019.

According to Laura Roop, Senior Specialist for International Summer University, the programme “Educational Change in Times of Rapid Technological Innovation” is extremely popular among applicants – the university received more than 90 applications in the first year the programme is taught. “The huge number of those interested in the programme shows how topical and necessary the theme is, not only in Estonia but also elsewhere in the world,” Roop added.

This year’s participants of the International Summer University come from nearly 30 countries all over the world, including, for example, Luxembourg, Germany, Greece, Italy, Finland, Canada, Malaysia, Japan, China and Hong Kong.

This year, 27 participants received a scholarship for studies at the University of Tartu’s Summer University. Twenty of them were supported by the development cooperation programme scholarship of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and seven by the Archimedes Foundation’s national scholarship programme for foreign students, researchers and lecturers. These 27 participants come from the USA, Ukraine, Russia, China, Albania, Iran, Georgia, Moldova and Belarus. Participants from Germany are supported by the Go East scholarship programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

With the support of scholarships, it is possible to complete the programmes “Social Dimension:  Estonian Business Environment and EU-Russian Relations”, “Social Dimension: EU-Russian Relations and Baltic Regional Security”, “Educational Change in Times of Rapid Technological Innovation”, “Juri Lotman and the Semiotics of Culture” and “Estonian Language with Instruction in English”.

In 2018, the University of Tartu’s International Summer University celebrates its 20th anniversary. For the first time, international summer courses were organised in 1998, and since then, the summer university has served as an opportunity to introduce the studies and research of the University of Tartu to learners from other countries.

Further information: Laura Roop, Senior Specialist for International Summer University, University of Tartu, +372 5349 0995, laura.roop [ät] ut.ee

 

Category: Continuing Courses
Kaja Karo (kajakk)

Scientists will gather this week in Tartu to discuss the implementation of spatial big data in social studies

1 month 3 weeks ago
28.06.2018 The 6th Mobile Tartu conference will be held in Tartu on June 27th–29th, bringing together more than 70 researchers from 24 countries. The role of spatial big data has become fundamentally important in the contemporary society. New data sources provide additional information on people's behavior and the functioning of cities, and help to apply smart solutions for managing people's mobility and governing social processes. More and more state institutions, municipalities and enterprises integrate smart solutions based on geo-located data into physical infrastructure and develop various services using mobility data.  Mobile Tartu 2018 conference organized by the Department of Geography at the University of Tartu discusses theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects related to the use of mobile phone and social media data. The conference focuses on the applications of the data in human mobility research, statistics, and smart city and transportation development. During the conference, outdoor experiments for implementing smartphone based GPS and social media data will be held.  Siiri Silm, research fellow at the University of Tartu, Department of Geography, and the main organizer of the conference, highlights the importance of mobile phone-based data collection: "People are becoming more mobile, but there is not enough statistics about the increasing mobility. New data collection  methods such as mobile positioning, smartphone-based GPS tracking and geo-tagged social media data gain importance in this context, as they allow us to explore people’s spatio-temporal mobility such as commuting in urban areas or cross-border migration more precisely." This interdisciplinary debate involves geographers, social scientists and computer scientists. Keynote speakers are Professor Márton Karsai from ENS de Lyon University, Matthew Zook from the University of Kentucky and Fabio Ricciato from Eurostat. Mobile Tartu conference is a good place to build academic networks with top-level international mobility researchers around the world. This opportunity was created by Rein Ahas, Professor of Human Geography, who unexpectedly passed away in the beginning of this year. Professor Ahas laid the foundation for big data based mobility research at the University of Tartu, and organized a biennial conference that constitutes a special community of mobility researchers. Memorizing Rein Ahas with his own words: "Extremely great things start with social ties and building social relationships is the most profitable investment in the contemporary open world." (Maaleht, 08.07.2017) Mobile Tartu conference is supported by the Doctoral School of Earth Sciences and Ecology (financed by EU European Regional Development Fund, University of Tartu ASTRA project PER ASPERA), Positium LBS, Smart City Lab, and Estonian Biocentre. Session “Mobile phones, travel and transportation” is organized by NECTAR cluster and session “Sensor Data for Smart City” is organized by project SmartEnCity that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 691883. Positium LBS and the Digital Geography Lab of the University of Helsinki help to conduct the outdoor experiments.   Additional information: Siiri Silm, research fellow at the Department of Geography, tel: 5211646, email: siiri.silm [ät] ut.ee Mari-Liis Pintson Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5681
Mob: +(372) 5866 8677 E-mail: mari-liis.pintson [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: Research
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

Video: Six European heads of state arrived in Tartu to celebrate Estonia`s 100th anniversary

1 month 3 weeks ago
25.06.2018

  At the invitation of President Kaljulaid six European heads of state arrived in Tartu on the 22nd of June to celebrate Estonia`s 100th anniversary.  President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelašvili, President of Iceland Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis, President of Poland Andrzej Duda and President of Finland Sauli Niinistö participated in the Estonia 100 celebration in Tartu, which culminates with the opening of the XVIII student song- and dancefestival Gaudeamus.  ”It is especially festive and symbolic that we can celebrate our country`s birhday with the countries who understand what it means to hope and act to gain the right to determine our own destiny,” said President Kaljulaid. ”Singing and dancing is an essential part of the culture of every country. As the tradition of student song festivals was born in Estonia also our guests were invited especially for that occasion,” the Estonian head of state added.    President Kaljulaid and other heads of state met the Mayor of Tartu, Urmas Klaas in the Town Hall of Tartu. They also visited the University of Tartu (UT) and met the Acting Rector of the UT Professor Tõnu Lehtsaar, visited the science center Ahhaa and also Estonian National Museum. Heads of state also attended a dinner hosted by President Kaljulaid at the White Hall of the Museum of Tartu University and the day culminated with the opening ceremony of Gaudeamus with fire, light and music at the banks of the river Emajõgi in the center of Tartu.  Baltic student festival Gaudeamus takes place alternately in every four years in one of the Baltic states. This year Gaudeamus took place in Tartu from 22–24 of June and the best student choirs, dancers and musicians from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania attended, up to 4000 people.   Mari-Liis Pintson Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5681
Mob: +(372) 5866 8677 E-mail: mari-liis.pintson [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

 

Category: University
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

Performance stipend available for doctoral students as of next academic year

1 month 3 weeks ago
25.06.2018

As of 1 September 2018, the University of Tartu will pay doctoral students a performance stipend of 400 euros per month. The stipend will be paid in addition to the doctoral allowance that is paid from the state budget, and it aims to ensure that doctoral students whose progress has been positively reviewed will receive 1060 euros per month in the 2018/2019 academic year.

University of Tartu Vice Rector for Research Kristjan Vassil explained that the purpose of the performance stipend is to enable doctoral students to fully concentrate on their studies. As a result, the university expects an improvement in the PhD completion rates. “Many doctoral students work besides studies to earn a reasonable income, but this will delay their completion of studies and graduation,” said Vassil. “The reason why we established the doctoral students’ performance stipend is the fact that the government has not kept their promise to guarantee a bigger allowance to doctoral students from the state budget in 2018. On the proposal of the Rector’s Office and the council, the university will temporarily assume this obligation. We will definitely continue cooperation with the government of Estonia and search for a solution to increase the doctoral students’ income from the state budget.”

The university will guarantee the payment of the performance stipend from the university’s central budget until 2020, and the efficiency of and the need for this measure will be reviewed once a year. A doctoral student is entitled to receive the performance stipend within max 48 months, if:

  • the student studies full time;
  • the student is not on academic leave;
  • the student’s period of study has not exceeded the standard period of study, i.e. it is not the student’s extension year;
  • the student does not perform, under an employment contract with the university, duties that support the student’s studies. This condition does not extend to first-year doctoral students, who have not had a progress review yet.

Performance stipend is also paid to first-year doctoral students who have not had a progress review yet or who have completed 100% of the curriculum according to the progress review.

Payment of the doctoral student’s performance stipend will be governed by the Procedure for Applying for, Granting and Payment of Stipends and Study Allowances (UT senate regulation of 25 May 2018). 

Further information:
Anneli Saro
Vice Rector for Academic Affairs
5557 5657
anneli.saro [ät] ut.ee

Mari-Liis Pintson Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5681
Mob: +(372) 5866 8677 E-mail: mari-liis.pintson [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: University
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

Launch of a new public-private partnership to improve clinical trial infrastructure to facilitate the development of new drugs for children in Europe

1 month 3 weeks ago
21.06.2018

The members of the “conect4children” (c4c) initiative announced the start of a large collaborative paediatric network that will facilitate the development of new drugs and other therapies for the entire paediatric population in Europe.

The conect4children (collaborative network for European clinical trials for children, (c4c) consortium aims to enhance the competitiveness of Europe as a critical region for developing medicines for children by using existing expertise, patient access and developing common processes to be applied to disease natural history studies, registries, studies of new therapies and comparisons of existing therapies.

The consortium is a novel collaboration between academic and private sectors that includes 33 academic and 10 industry partners from 20 European countries, more than 50 third parties and around 500 affiliated partners.

The six-year project, comprised of a multidisciplinary public-private consortium, brings together key stakeholders across academia and industry. It is a pioneering opportunity to build capacity for the management of multinational paediatric clinical trials across Europe whilst ensuring the voices of children, young people and their families are heard. Strong links with regulators will be established.

There are many scientific and operational challenges faced by both pharmaceutical companies and academia when running paediatric clinical trials. According to Prof. Carlo Giaquinto of Fondazione PENTA Onlus and University of Padova, who coordinates the project, “c4c will address critical problems with the design, implementation and operational conduct of paediatric clinical trials, such as fragmented and redundant efforts between sponsors, sites and countries; the paucity of patients available for study in many paediatric indications and the need for multiple capable sites and expertise to make trials successful.”

This project aims to generate a sustainable infrastructure that optimises the delivery of clinical trials in children through:

  • a single point of contact for all sponsors, sites and investigators
  • efficient implementation of trials adopting consistent approaches, aligned quality standards and coordination of sites at national and international level
  • collaboration with specialist and national networks
  • high quality input to study design and preparation through rigorous strategic and operational feasibility assessment
  • the promotion of innovative trial design and quantitative science methods
  • an education and training platform to shape the future leaders of paediatric drug development
  • the development of sustainable support for all these activities

One of the key goals of the project is to support the use of innovative trial designs and new quantitative methods to foster development of new innovative medicines and to support development in rare paediatric diseases and high medical need area

“Children must have access to innovative medical therapies that have been developed with the same degree of urgency and rigor as those for adults,” said Joanne Waldstreicher, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Johnson & Johnson. “With conect4children in Europe joining in this effort, complementing work under way with I-ACT for Children in the United States, we will be able to accelerate the availability of high quality scientific data that can improve the safe and effective use of therapies in children.”

“Clinical trials with medicinal products for paediatric use are one of the most sensitive areas in science – both from a medical and an ethical perspective”, said Dr. Michael Devoy, Chief Medical Officer of Bayer. “Improving the clinical trial infrastructure is an import step in enabling children to take part in medical progress”.

Dr. Mark Turner, Co-coordinator of the project, University of Liverpool, stated: “This network will have a significant impact on how we develop much-needed innovative and improved medicines for babies, children and young people. A number of collaborations built up over the past decade will contribute to this pan-European research network. The University of Liverpool is proud to be collaborating with institutions and research networks across Europe”

With a budget of about 140 Mio€ (IMI2 support of 67 Mio€ and industry partners’ in-kind contribution of 73 Mio€), c4cis one of the biggest initiatives funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (IMI2 JU) under grant agreement n º 777389. The Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking is Europe’s biggest Public Private Partnership and is funded jointly by the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the European pharmaceutical industry (represented by EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations).

The parties involved

The project is coordinated and led by: Fondazione PENTA – for the treatment and care of children with HIV – ONLUS, The University of Liverpool, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Bayer AG

Other partners are: Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù; EURORDIS – European Organisation for Rare Diseases Association; European Cystic Fibrosis Society; Stichting Katholieke Universiteit; Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation Verein; Associação para Investigação e Desenvolvimento da Faculdade de Medicina; Istituto Giannina Gaslini; University College London; SIOP Europe ASBL; Tartu Ülikool; Okids GMBH; University of Newcastle upon Tyne; Universiteit Gent; Universitaetsklinikum Heidelberg; Aristotelio Panepistimio Thessalonikis; Instytut Pomnik Centrum Zdrowia Dziecka; Helse Bergen HF*Haukeland University Hospital; ECNP Research & Scholarship Foundation; Robert Bosch Gesellschaft fur Medizinische Forschung MBH; University College Cork– National University of Ireland, Cork; Karolinska Institutet; Fundacio Sant Joan de Deu; Servizo Galego de Saude; Gyermekgyógyászati Klinikai Vizsgálói Hálózat; Fondazione per la Ricerca Farmacologica Gianni Benzi Onlus; ECRIN European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network; The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa; Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale; HSK DR Horst Schmidt Kliniken Wiesbaden Gmbh; ARSENAL.IT-Centro Veneto Ricerca e Innovazione per la Sanità Digitale; Univerzita Karlova; Sanofi-Aventis Recherche & Développement; Eli Lilly and Company Limited; UCB Biopharma SPRL; Novartis Pharma AG; Institut de Recherches Internationales Servier; GlaxoSmithKline Research and Development LTD.; Pfizer Limited; F. Hoffmann – La Roche AG

The full list of organisations involved in the project can also be found at the c4c Network webpage.

Project Office/General Enquires: Email us. communication [ät] conect4children.org

Disclaimer
This communication reflects the views of the c4c Consortium and neither IMI nor the European Union and EFPIA are liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein

Category: Research
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

University of Tartu team got second place at the NGAL® finals in Nebraska

1 month 4 weeks ago
21.06.2018

The University of Tartu team ResDec received a second place at the pitching competition of the international business development programme Network Globally, Act Locally (NGAL®) and award of $ 2,500.

ResDec, previously known as rEstFinder, wants to identify antibiotic resistance more quickly and cost-effectively and provide case-specific solutions for customers. "The victory came as a positive surprise," say founding members, doctoral students Taavi Vanaveski (neuroscience) and Mikk Puustusmaa (genetic engineering). Taavi adds: "Our ambition to root out antibiotic resistance is a serious issue in the US healthcare."

The first price and 3000 US dollars was received by Timey from Tallinn University of Technology. Timey develops smart food "best before" indicators. The 3rd place and $1,000 went to team Parkway, Nebraska Wesleyan University, which plans to create a sharing economy based parking application.

The programme was attended by 8 teams from five universities. Teams met in Tartu to get to know each other, share feedback on each other's ideas, participate in workshops, get new contacts and guidance from the mentors from IdeaLab network. In Tallinn, they attended the reception at the US Embassy, visited the TTÜ Mektory and participated in the Smart Industry Hackathon. In the United States teams got to work hard on developing their ideas and presenting them. They visited successful companies and held many interesting meetings with representatives of the local business community, including alumni from the NGAL® programme. With the help of mentor feedback, 8 teams developed their business idea, polished their presentation skills and pitched to the international jury at the end of the programme. Among the members of the jury was also Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, Deputy Chief of Mission at Washington Embassy of Estonia. Chris Beutler, Mayor of Lincoln, came to say opening words.

Four teams from 2 Estonian universities participated in the programme. In addition to the second place winner ResDec, UT IdeaLab STARTER programme best team HankSays (formerly CarZam) was also pitching in Nebraska. The members of HankSays - Andres Kiik and Abdulateef Alli are both from the UT Institute of Computer Science. HankSays is creating a device that connects to the car's engine and monitors in real-time vehicle sounds and vibes with microphones and sensors. Tallinn University of Technology was represented by Laava Tech that has developed a system of artificial lighting for greenhouse decreasing energy consumption, and Timey, the team that won the first place.

Mikk Puustusmaa, the ResDec team member, is grateful to NGAL® organisers and says: "The information, experience, and advice from mentors obtained during the programme is invaluable". He encourages everyone to participate in this programme because "you can network and get lifetime experience."

According to Maret Ahonen, Manager of the UT Idea Lab, this is an exceptional programme, which is not only an intensive business development programme but also an inter-university cross-cultural cooperation and the programme for developing Estonian-U.S. relations. Each year there is an almost equal amount of people who participate and who help to organise this programme. This makes it such a success. "We were privileged to experience the hospitality of the Nebraska Wesleyan University and warm welcome at the home of the NWU President Fred Ohlsen, where Mr. Harry Huge greeted all participants.“

The NGAL®  programme is supported by the Estonian Honorary Consul in the State of South Carolina and Honorary Member of the University of Tartu, Harry Huge and his wife, Reba Huge. They also came to support student business ideas presentations with their foundation core team.

The NGAL® programme was born in collaboration with 5 universities and took place for the fourth time. Collaboration partners include the University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology and three US universities: College of Charleston, The Citadel - South Carolina Military College and Nebraska Wesleyan University. At the University of Tartu, IdeaLab is the leader of the programme. The project is supported by the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation.

 

Additional information: Maret Ahonen, UT IdeaLab Manger, +372 522 5910, maret.ahonen [ät] ut.ee

Mari-Liis Pintson Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5681
Mob: +(372) 5866 8677 E-mail: mari-liis.pintson [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: Entrepreneurship
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

U4 and Tartu prepare for European University application

1 month 4 weeks ago
21.06.2018 The U4 universities (Ghent University, the University of Göttingen, the University of Groningen and Uppsala University) have joined forces with the University of Tartu to prepare an application for the European University project announced by the EU to strengthen Erasmus+ activities.  Founded in 2008 U4 has become a well-established and sustainable network, covering a wide variety of cooperation initiatives in different forms and fields. The U4 Network had distinguished itself from other university associations as an operational learning network for students, researchers, and management based on excellence. U4 offers a bottom-up platform for joint initiatives in education and research and a successful pool of preferential partners in Erasmus+ education and Horizon 2020 research consortia. A distinctive aspect of U4 is the intensive and structural cooperation at the level of the university management and the student bodies. Within this dimension, the four universities pool expertise and resources to initiate innovative processes and reach out to societal challenges. In this way U4 is not only a transactional network serving as an enabling platform for new initiatives, but also intentionally transformational. The University of Tartu In order to further complement the network and strengthen its ambitions, the U4 has deliberately chosen to take the University of Tartu on board for the European University project as a fifth strong and high-quality partner university. The inclusion of Tartu will strengthen the existing actions of the U4 Network in various dimensions and enable the network to contribute to the development of a true European Higher Education and Research Area taking benefit of a diversity of languages, cultures, and spaces. Setting new standards for education and research in the 21st century Together with Tartu, the U4 Network sets high ambitions. The network wants to be recognized as a true European University in the frame of the EU initiative, offering an open, integrated space for excellent teaching and research without barriers, and enabling students and staff to move freely across the institutions. Drawing from its ten-year experience as an intensive network U4 is keen to rethink the role of universities and to share its expertise in the development of new standards for education and research in the 21st century and beyond.   Additional information: Erik Puura, Vice Rector for Development (UT), +372 506 9882, erik.puura [ät] ut.ee Category: University
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

University of Tartu basketball team to rely on student players in future

2 months 1 week ago
07.06.2018

Rector’s Office of the University of Tartu and the management board of the University of Tartu Academic Sports Club have discussed the future of the basketball club and decided to discontinue the activities of the team, which so far comprised professional players. To ensure the sustainable and competitive development of basketball at the university, the UT basketball team will henceforth rely on student sports and, above all, local young players.

According to the University of Tartu Director of Administration Meelis Luht, the financial deficit of the Academic Sports Club was about two hundred thousand euros at the end of 2017. “The biggest part of the costs resulted from the activities of the basketball club. If the club's activities continued on the same basis and to the same extent, the deficit would grow to half a million euros by the end of the year. This is why change is inevitable,” Luht admitted based on an analysis of the financial situation of the sports club. “Now we have to decide how to proceed.”

Basketball lovers in Tartu know that the University of Tartu basketball team has been looking for bigger financial support for years already, because the university and the city government of Tartu cannot guarantee sufficient support for the club. Foreign players are expensive to hire. Currently, professional players’ salaries account for about two thirds of the club’s costs. “Finding a name sponsor is very difficult and we have not been successful enough in finding smaller supporters either. The sponsorship could be three to four times the amount it is today,” said Meelis Luht.

Luht stressed that basketball is not the university's main activity. “We must not forget that the University of Tartu Academic Sports Club also deals with other sports besides basketball. Our goal is to support student sports, which means combining sports activities with studies and research. That is why we have decided to reform the basketball team,” he said. “We will review our current players’ contracts and create a new team composed of our own students.”

“Such reviews are made at the end of every season, there is nothing special about it,” said Priit Kaasik, head of the basketball division of the University of Tartu Academic Sports Club, and Director of the UT Institute of Sports Sciences and Physiotherapy, describing the background to the situation.

The sports club will continue to develop student sports in close cooperation with the UT Institute of Sports Sciences and Physiotherapy. “We will definitely continue our basketball activities. Our goal is to provide future players for the Estonian team by supporting young talented players,” Kaasik added.

“We want the University of Tartu and its basketball team to be attractive for young people who wish to do sports besides studying at the university,” said Meelis Luht. “We are going to work on an action plan to inform young people that they are welcome to the university’s team, as well as how to get there.”

Meelis Luht is sure that also a student team can offer highly exciting sports experiences to its fans. “A good example is the University of Tartu women’s volleyball team, who won the Estonian championships as well as the Estonian Cup and the Baltic League this year,” he said.

At the University of Tartu Academic Sports Club it is possible to do more than 20 fields of sports. The sports club's strategic plan, which sets objectives for the following years, will be completed in autumn.

Further information:
Meelis Luht
Director of Administration, University of Tartu
+372 511 6946
meelis.luht [ät] ut.ee

Priit Kaasik
Head of basketball division, UT Academic Sports Club
Director of UT Institute of Sports Sciences and Physiotherapy
+372 517 7696
priit.kaasik [ät] ut.ee

Category: Press release
Kaja Karo (kajakk)

Business development program NGAL helps students to US markets

2 months 2 weeks ago
04.06.2018

This year, an exclusive business development program NGAL® (Network Globally, Act Locally) takes place from 4th to 15th June, engaging five universities from USA and Estonia. The program starts with the boot camp at UT IdeaLab and ends with a launch-camp in Nebraska, USA. University of Tartu will be represented by two teams: STARTER program graduate CarZam and the rEstFind.

NGAL® is a three-week learning program for early-stage student teams. During the program, student teams will develop their MVP-s, get guidance from business mentors and have a chance to explore your business potential at the global market. The program ends with the pitching competition in Nebraska where the best teams will be awarded.

University of Tartu will be represented by two teams: IdeaLab STARTER program graduate CarZam and EstLat-Accelerate program graduate rEstFind. CarZam is creating a device that can be applied to a car's engine room, microphones and sensors track real-time sound and vibration of the car. Using machine learning advantages, the device compares received data to fully functioning car and displays an error as soon as it occurs. rEstFind detects antibiotic resistance to discover best antibiotic therapy for infected patients. This bioinformatic approach is fast and will also give information about the seriousness of the threat by evaluating the virulence and the concentration of pathogens. 6000 dollar award fund will be shared between top 3.

Maret Ahonen, the Head of IdeaLab: „NGAL® is the perfect place to broaden our horizon about US markets and develop professionally as well as personally. Previously UT students have demonstrated excellent entrepreneurial passion and won awards. I believe this year’s selected UT teams are strong. NGAL® will give them chance to go further!„

Team CarZam leader Andres Kiik says that they hope to win but since their idea is in the early stage then winning is not the main goal. „We hope to get useful advice about pitching, developing our business model and of course network with potential investors.“

This year, NGAL® takes place for the fourth time, linking two Estonian and three US universities: University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, College of Charleston, The Citadel (Military College of South Carolina) and Nebraska Wesleyan University. Previous year the best idea that got the main price was from Univeristy of Tartu, team Cody.

The project is financed by Harry and Reba Huge Foundation.

Additional information: Maret Ahonen, +372 5225910, maret.ahonen [ät] ut.ee

Category: Entrepreneurship
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

Number of tuition-free positions for UT students to participate in Tartu International Summer University: Asia and the Middle-East: Differences and Commonalities

2 months 2 weeks ago
04.06.2018

The UT Asian Centre together with the UT International Summer University  organize a summer program titled Asia and the Middle-East: Differences and Commonalities this August (13-24.08.18).

The International Summer University program serves to educate students in Asian and Middle Eastern economies, societies and politics, and thereby contribute to their ongoing studies and/or previous experience. Asia and the Middle-East: Differences and Commonalities is interdisciplinary and future oriented. The aim of the program is to help students to understand, analyze and predict developments in Asia and the Middle East, take advantage of the related opportunities, and mitigate potential threats. The curriculum will include a selection of subjects related to present-day Asia, including Asian political regimes, Asian states in world economy, economic cooperation between the European Union and Asia, etc. By focusing mainly on present-day Asia, an alternative is offered to the existing Asian studies curricula that concentrates on Asian philosophy and ancient culture. International classroom will provide participants stimulating discussions and interesting perspectives on various topics.

Tuition fee & scholarships:

Program fee: 670 € includes tuition fee, cost of the study visits, cultural and social program, the services of the host university with the accommodation in double rooms at student dormitory.

Participants who organize their own housing will have reduced program fee in the amount of 370 €.

Students are responsible for their travel, travel insurance (visa arrangements if needed) from their home country to Tartu and back to their home country.

There are limited number of tuition-free positions available for UT students, which will be distributed based on the ranking list (see how to apply below).

 

Entry requirements

Application deadline - June 15

Admission results - June 22

  • Online application form with the following documents:
  • Motivation letter
  • Transcript of academic records (non UT students)
  • Copy of the passport (non UT students)

PS! Only complete applications including all annexes submitted within the deadline will be considered for selection.

Applications are evaluated based on:

Motivation letter (up to 1,5 page) that demonstrates the applicant’s motivation to participate, explains his/her expectations about the program and explains how the participation in the summer program is connected with his/hers studies and interests, and how the applicant plans to use gained experience and knowledge in the future.

The summer university programme is supported by the Asian Centre of the University of Tartu.

 

Category: Continuing Courses
Laura Roop (lauraro)

First Peoples: study finds two ancient ancestries ‘reconverged’ with settling of South America

2 months 2 weeks ago
01.06.2018 New research using ancient DNA finds that a population split after people first arrived in North America was maintained for millennia before mixing again before or during the expansion of humans into the southern continent. Recent research has suggested that the first people to enter the Americas split into two ancestral branches, the northern and southern, and that the “southern branch” gave rise to all populations in Central and South America. Now, a study shows for the first time that, deep in their genetic history, the majority – if not all – of the Indigenous peoples of the southern continent retain at least some DNA from the “northern branch”: the direct ancestors of many Native communities living today in the Canadian east. The latest findings, published today in the journal Science, reveal that, while these two populations may have remained separate for millennia – long enough for distinct genetic ancestries to emerge – they came back together before or during the expansion of people into South America. The new analyses of 91 ancient genomes from sites in California and Canada also provide further evidence that the first peoples separated into two populations between 18 to 15,000 years ago. This would have been during or after migrating across the now-submerged land bridge from Siberia along the coast. Ancient genomes from sites in Southwest Ontario show that, after the split, Indigenous ancestors representing the northern branch migrated eastwards to the great lakes region. This population may have followed the retreating glacial edges as the Ice Age began to thaw, say researchers. The study also adds evidence that the prehistoric people associated with Clovis culture – named for 13,000-year-old stone tools found near Clovis, New Mexico and once believed to be ancestral to all Native Americans – originated from ancient peoples representing the southern branch. This southern population likely continued down the Pacific coast, inhabiting islands along the way. Ancient DNA from the Californian Channel Islands shows that initial populations were closely related to the Clovis people. Yet contemporary Central and South American genomes reveal a “reconvergence” of these two branches deep in time. The scientific team, led by the universities of Cambridge, UK, and Illinois Urbana-Champaign, US, say there must have been one or a number of “admixture” events between the two populations around 13,000 years ago.  They say that the blending of lineages occurred either in North America – prior to expansion south – or as people migrated ever deeper into the southern continent, most likely following the western coast down. “It was previously thought that South Americans, and indeed most Native Americans, derived from one ancestry related to the Clovis people,” said Dr Toomas Kivisild, co-senior author of the study from Cambridge’s Department of Archaeology and University of Tartu, Estonia. “We now find that all native populations in North, Central and South America also draw genetic ancestry from a northern branch most closely related to Indigenous peoples of eastern Canada. This cannot be explained by activity in the last few thousand years. It is something altogether more ancient,” he said. Dr Ripan Malhi, co-senior author from Illinois Urbana-Champaign, said: “Working in partnership with Indigenous communities, we can now learn more about the intricacies of ancestral histories in the Americas through advances in paleogenomic technologies. We are starting to see that previous models of ancient populations were unrealistically simple.” Present day Central and South American populations analysed in the study were found to have a genetic contribution from the northern branch ranging between 42% to as high as 71% of the genome. Surprisingly, the highest proportion of northern branch genetics in South America was found way down in southern Chile, in the same area as the Monte Verde archeological site – one of the oldest known human settlements in the Americas (over 14,500 years old). “It’s certainly an intriguing finding, although currently circumstantial – we don’t have ancient DNA to corroborate how early this northern ancestral branch arrived,” said Dr Christiana Scheib, first author of the study from the University of Cambridge now at University of Tartu, Estonia. “It could be evidence for a vanguard population from the northern branch deep in the southern continent that became isolated for a long time – preserving a genetic continuity. “Prior to 13,000 years ago, expansion into the tip of South America would have been difficult due to massive ice sheets blocking the way. However, the area in Chile where the Monte Verde site is located was not covered in ice at this time,” she said. “In populations living today across both continents we see much higher genetic proportions of the southern, Clovis-related branch. Perhaps they had some technology or cultural practice that allowed for faster expansion, pushing the northern branch to the edges of the landmass as well as promoting admixture.” While consultation efforts varied in this study from community-based partnerships to more limited engagement, the researchers argue that more must be done to include Indigenous communities in ancient DNA studies in the Americas. The researchers say that genomic analysis of ancient people can have adverse consequences for linked Indigenous communities. Engagement work can help avoid unintended harm to the community and ensure that Indigenous peoples have a voice in research. “The lab-based science should only be a part of the research. We need to work with Indigenous communities in a more holistic way,” added Schieb. “From the analysis of a single tooth, paleogenomics research can now offer information on ancient diet and disease as well as migration. By developing partnerships that incorporate ideas from Native communities, we can potentially generate results that are of direct interest and use to the Indigenous peoples involved,” she said.   UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE MEDIA RELEASE   Futher information: Mait Metspalu, director of Institute of Genomics (UT), 5283315, mait.metspalu [ät] ut.ee Toomas Kivisild, Senior Research Fellow of Population Genetics (UT), toomas.kivisild [ät] ut.ee Christiana Lyn Scheib, Senior Research Fellow of Ancient DNA (UT), christiana.lyn.scheib [ät] ut.ee

 

Category: ResearchPress release
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

UT IdeaLab made students’ and teachers’ eyes sparkle

2 months 2 weeks ago
30.05.2018

On 21 May, a seminar about creative teaching methods took place in Kiev, in the Ukrainian Ministry of Science and Education. About 100 lecturers and educators across Ukraine had come to participate in the workshop organised by UT IdeaLab in collaboration with Ukrainian partner organisation “Platform for Innovative Partnership”. On the next day (22nd of May) Yep!STARTER business development programme students presented their semester-long work and competed for the opportunity to pitch at sTARTUp Day, business festival in Tartu.

A project „Transforming Estonian Best Practice of Practical Entrepreneurship Studies to Ukrainian Universities” launched in Kiev in autumn 2017 under the leadership of IdeaLab reached its first milestone. In this phase, two events took place - a seminar about creative teaching methods for academic staff and a students’ business ideas competition.

In the large hall of the Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine, there were high school lecturers from Kiev and cities far away, such as Harkov and Donetsk. Participants showed active interest in the UT IdeaLab concept and Ukrainian partner organisation activities. A lot of questions were asked and many people were interested in future cooperation. Among other things, there was a great interest in how to turn a university more entrepreneurial. A central part of the day was the seminar on creative teaching methods, conducted by Elina Kallas, lecturer of entrepreneurship at the UT Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. Academic staff participated eagerly in group works, were extremely active and creative. "I am grateful for the opportunity to attend this interesting seminar. We want to work together with the University of Tartu, following your example in the development of entrepreneurship education and the creation of an IdeaLab, "said Natalja Bondar, Dean of the Faculty of Economics from the National Transport University of Ukraine.

The student business ideas development programme Yep! STARTER was created in collaboration between UT IdeaLab and the Ukrainian partner NGO "Platform for Innovative Partnership". Yep! STARTER is based on the experience of the IdeLab’s pre-Incubation programme and takes into account the needs of Ukrainian universities. In February eighteen teams formed at inspiration event and they developed their ideas in interactive workshops coached by mentors from Estonia and Ukraine. The programme was attended by students from ten Ukrainian universities, including the largest: Kiev National Economic University, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev, National Aviation University. Some students were from Donetsk National Technical University and came to Kiev to take part at workshops. The jury, which included, in addition to Ukrainian representatives, Maret Ahonen, UT IdeaLab Manager, and Sven Parkel, Managing Director of the Tartu Biotechnology Park, chose team GiftHub to be the winner. The winning team wants to simplify the purchase of gifts by using robot (bot) text messaging. Four members of the GiftHub team won a trip to Tartu and will have the opportunity to present their idea on IdeaLab’s pitching stage at sTARTUp Day. Team leader Ihor Levenets expressed his sincere joy, was grateful for the UT IdeaLab and promised to work on his business plan in order to take part of the international business ideas competition in Tartu.

In September, the second phase of the project "Transforming Estonian Best Practice of Practical Entrepreneurship Studies to Ukrainian Universities" will be launched.

The project is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs's Development and Humanitarian Aid Instruments.

Additional information: Piret Arusaar, UT Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, STARTER Program Manager, +3725162945, piret.arusaar [ät] ut.ee

Category: Entrepreneurship
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

Professor Sara Bédard-Goulet´s inaugural lecture on inhabiting the contemporary world

2 months 3 weeks ago
28.05.2018

On 29 May, UT Professor of Romance Studies Sara Bédard-Goulet delivers his inaugural lecture “Inhabiting the Contemporary World: The Novels of Jean Echenoz” in the university assembly hall.

As we move from fantasies of a global village to an actual global world and from environmental warnings to ecological disasters, we have come to realise that our planet is finite. The changing inhabitation patterns of the planet can be noticed, for example, in the increased mobility of humans and in questions about the relationship between humans and their habitat, such as those raised by transhumanism. Literary works provide insights into the inhabitation processes by insisting on the representation and imagination essential to any “practice of space”. There is no such thing as objective space, despite the Moderns’ attempts to produce one. The novels of contemporary French writer Jean Echenoz (b. 1947), which he himself defines as “geographical”, are particularly helpful in reflecting on inhabitation and its meaning today. This lecture presents a literary analysis of his novel Nous trois (We Three) (1992) to show what happens to the occupation of space and place when the Earth becomes involved in a love triangle.

Professor Sara Bédard-Goulet received her PhD in French Language Literature from the University of Toulouse (France) in 2012. She continued her research there and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2015. She spent two years at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), working on a project on contemporary inhabitation in the novels of Jean Echenoz. In 2016, she received another grant from the SSHRC and led a research project entitled “Contemporary Bodies and Lived Spaces” until this spring. As a postdoctoral researcher at UQAM, she collaborated on a project on the performative relationship of literature and cinema before her appointment as an ASTRA Professor of Romance Studies at the University of Tartu.

Sara Bédard-Goulet delivers his inaugual lecture in English on 29 May at 16:15 in the University of Tartu assembly hall. All interested are welcome to the lecture or to watch the webcast on UTTV.

Professor Bédard-Goulet’s work in Tartu is supported by the University of Tartu ASTRA project PER ASPERA, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Additional information: Sara Bédard-Goulet, UT Professor of Romance Studies, sara.bedard-goulet [ät] ut.ee

Mari-Liis Pintson Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5681
Mob: +(372) 5866 8677 E-mail: mari-liis.pintson [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: UniversityPress release
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

Taxify and University of Tartu to bring innovation to urban mobility

2 months 4 weeks ago
22.05.2018 Taxify and the University of Tartu (UT) Institute of Computer Science (UT ICS) have signed a cooperation agreement this month to bring innovative solutions to urban mobility and to millions of Taxify users around the world. “The cooperation between Taxify and University of Tartu will be a two-way process. On one hand, Taxify will be able to bring to the table problems that have a direct and daily impact on millions of Taxify users around the world. On the other hand, we’ll be able to immediately implement the solutions worked out together with UT computer scientists to the benefit of our users. We offer unique technical challenges and would like to share the insights gained in the process with the rest of the urban mobility community,” said Rain Johanson, Taxify Head of Engineering. According to Johanson, some of the projects Taxify and UT will be working on are related to algorithms for improving GPS and maps data quality as well as urban traffic simulators that would enable to improve the accuracy of estimated arrival times and integrate various environmental factors. The cooperation will see UT computer scientists making practical development contributions to Taxify products. Amnir Hadachi, Team Leader of Intelligent Transportation Systems Lab at UT Institute of Computer Science, said that the most important benefit of the collaboration is shared experience between the industry and UT researchers to create an environment for applied research based on real world applications. “This collaboration will be good for building a bridge between theory and practice in urban mobility research and smart transportation. The support of a major industry player gives us knowledge for reaching our big goals: to develop an advanced urban mobility platform for smart city concept for a sustainable, smart, comfortable, secure and safe urban environment,” said Hadachi. He added: “Our collaboration with Taxify is a good example of an international company supporting scientific research and Estonian scientists helping to develop and introduce innovation in a fast-growing Estonian enterprise.” Taxify currently employs around 500 people globally, with the largest office of 200 people in Tallinn, Estonia, where the company was founded. University of Tartu is one of the most respectable centres of education and research in Central and Eastern Europe. It belongs to the top 1.2% of world's best universities and is among world’s top 250 universities in the field of Computer Science (THE World University Rankings 2018).   Media Contact: Marek Unt Email: press [ät] taxify.eu Ph: +372 5669 3866   Mattias Jõesaar Email: mattias.joesaar [ät] ut.ee Ph: +372 737 5468  

 

Category: Entrepreneurship
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

Inaugural lecture by professor Luc van Doorslaer on translation studies

3 months ago
14.05.2018

On Wednesday, 16 May at 16:15, the University of Tartu Professor of Translation Studies Luc van Doorslaer delivers his inaugural lecture “The Inbetweenness of Translation Studies” in the university assembly hall.

Despite his relative invisibility, the ‘in between’ position of the translator is generally acknowledged. A translator is a mediator, the essence of his activity is crossing borders, necessarily lingering in cultural and linguistic contact zones. It is exactly this characteristic that makes the translator and translation modern and fascinating research objects for the humanities, especially in an era where inbetweenness has become a popular trope. The time when translation was considered a mere linguistic operation is well behind us. In the activity zone of the translator, in his interculture, every transfer is re-negotiated, re-located and re-mediated.

This lecture will scrutinise the extent to which the modernity of translation is (or can be) reflected in the institutional situation of the (inter)discipline known as translation studies. Academic disciplines have their own traditions and methods. Even though interdisciplinarity is widely stimulated, it also conflicts with the existing mapping, categorisations and pigeonholing. Would fuzziness and inbetweenness be a quality or rather a burden for the development of a disciplinary identity in our academic world?

Luc van Doorslaer has worked at the universities of Duisburg (Germany), Antwerp and Leuven (both Belgium). He is the director of CETRA, the Centre for Translation Studies at KU Leuven. In 2018, he has been Scholar in Residence at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. As a Research Associate he is affiliated with Stellenbosch University (South Africa), and since 2016 he is the Vice President of EST, the European Society for Translation Studies. Together with Yves Gambier, he is the editor of the online Translation Studies Bibliography (14th release 2017) and the four volumes of the Handbook of Translation Studies (2010–13). Other recent books edited include Eurocentrism in Translation Studies (2013), The Known Unknowns of Translation Studies (2014), Interconnecting Translation Studies and Imagology (2016) and Border Crossings. Translation Studies and other Disciplines (2016). His main research interests are: journalism and translation, ideology and translation, imagology and translation, institutionalisation of Translation Studies.

Professor Luc van Doorslaer’s work in Tartu is supported by the University of Tartu ASTRA project PER ASPERA, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Additional information: Luc van Doorslaer, luc.vandoorslaer [ät] ut.ee

Mari-Liis Pintson Press Officer Tel: + 372 737 5681
Mob: + 372 5866 8677 mari-liis.pintson [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: University
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)
Checked
19.08.2018 - 14:29
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