Tartu University News

Taxify and University of Tartu to bring innovation to urban mobility

10 hours 13 minutes ago
22.05.2018 Taxify and University of Tartu 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 (UT) 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

1 week 1 day ago

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


Category: University
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

Times Higher Education: University of Tartu is the best university in New Europe

3 weeks 4 days ago
27.04.2018 The British weekly magazine Times Higher Education (THE) has just published its latest New Europe ranking, in which the University of Tartu ranks the first. In this table, THE ranks the 53 best research universities of the 13 member states that accessed the European Union after 2004.  The University of Tartu is followed in the ranking by two universities from Cyprus, the Charles (Karl) University in Prague; the fifth is Semmelweis University in Budapest. The other Estonian university that made it to the rankings, Tallinn University of Technology, ranks the 18th. The Czech Republic has the largest number of universities in the ranking (13). The table also includes 12 universities from Poland and five from Romania. “In its strategic plan and activities, the University of Tartu does not focus on achievement of high places in rankings, but this news is definitely very pleasant,” the University of Tartu Vice Rector for Development Erik Puura commented on the THE result. “It means that development at our university and in Estonia has been faster than elsewhere in the New Europe.” Puura also admitted that in the organisation of leading research universities The Guild, to which the University of Tartu belongs since 2016, the university’s message is that the division of European countries into the Old and the New Europe is increasingly relative. “In Estonia, we rather follow the pace of the Nordic countries and in that competition, we still have a long way to go,” he said. According to Puura, the University of Tartu’s success relies on strong research, science-based studies, and internationalisation, which is primarily based on competitive international curricula. Also service to the society is important, including business cooperation and development of startups and spin-offs. “A guarantee to all this is the living environment and the academic atmosphere of the city of Tartu,” Puura added. To compile the ranking, THE uses the same methodology as the one used for THE World University Rankings. Thirteen performance indicators are employed, which describe learning environment, research influence, volume of research, academic reputation, income, innovation and international outlook.  The Times Higher Education is one of the most recognised compilers of university rankings. The World University Ranking that THE has published annually since 2004 is considered the most reputable and objective ranking, comparing research universities based on all the main fields of activity. Further information: Lauri Randveer, UT Senior Specialist for International Cooperation, 737 5510, lauri.randveer [ät] ut.ee Mari-Liis Pintson Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5681
Mob: +(372) 5866 8677 E-mail: mari-liis.pintson [ät] ut.ee


  Category: University
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

Professor Toomas Asser was elected rector of the University of Tartu

3 weeks 5 days ago

Today, on 26 April 2018, the 263-member electoral council elected Professor of Neurosurgery Toomas Asser as rector of the University of Tartu with 187 votes.

The electoral council is composed of members of the UT council, senate, faculty councils and the student council, and professors and research professors. At the election meeting today in the University of Tartu assembly hall, 218 ballot papers were handed out to members of the electoral council. There were 218 ballots in the ballot box. Toomas Asser received the votes of 120 members of the electoral council, and his opposite candidate, Professor of Practical Philosophy Margit Sutrop got 95 votes. There were no invalid ballot papers.

In the second voting round, the candidate was Professor Toomas Asser who gained more votes than the other candidate in the first round. There were 212  ballots in the ballot box. Toomas Asser received the votes of 187 members of the electoral council. In order to be elected, the candidate needed to receive the votes of more than a half of the members of the electoral council, i.e. at least 132 votes.

In his short speech at the beginning of the election meeting, Professor Toomas Asser said he was ready to commit to the service of the University of Tartu in the next five years. “Here in this assembly hall I took the medical oath for my whole life, and I have unwaveringly adhered to it for nearly forty years now. I am also ready to give the rector’s oath to be the rector for you all,” said Asser.

Toomas Asser was born on 14 July 1954 and graduated from Tartu State University in Medicine in 1979. In 1987, he defended his dissertation “Thermocauterisation of ventrolateral thalamus for the treatment of Parkinson's disease” in Moscow and was awarded the candidate of sciences degree (PhD) in medicine. Toomas Asser has been Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Tartu since 1995 and Head of the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery since 1996. In 2011, he was elected a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.

The elected rector assumes office on 1 August 2018.

Further information: Hannes Kollist, Chair of Election Commission, hannes.kollist [ät] ut.ee

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


Category: UniversityPress release
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

UT Library will open its doors

4 weeks ago
24.04.2018 The first stage of the UT Library renovation has been completed and parts of the building will be opened for readers on 25 April at 12.00. Although the renovation of the library will continue, students will be able to prepare for their spring exams in the new environment. “We set the goal that by the end of the semester, the students should be able to study at the library,” said Martin Hallik, the UT Library director. “Although the third floor reading rooms will be opened only in autumn, we can already offer the students a new learning environment: there are a number of group work rooms of different size, and we have also furnished some rooms on the second floor where students can write their final theses and prepare for the exams.” The lobby and the open stacks on the first floor and rooms on the second floor, as well as the staircases have already been renovated and new lifts have been installed. The conference centre has also undergone a thorough renovation. On 25 April the library will be partially opened. It will take some more months until all book collections will be available for the readers. “Our staff members are every day cleaning and shelving the books, but as there are millions of them, it will take a lot of time. Volunteers are of great help in this work,” admitted Hallik. “We all try to give our best in opening our collections as soon as possible.” Renovation of the third floor reading rooms and the underground floors of stacks will continue. According to the renovation plan, the reconstruction of the reading rooms and the open stacks which replace the former closed stacks should be finished by AS Ehitustrust and OÜ Tallinna Ehitustrust in the autumn semester of 2018. The deadline given in the procurement contract by which all the underground floors of stacks must be ready is 9 January 2019.   Additional information: Herdis Olmaru, UT Library Communcation Manager, herdis.olmaru [ät] ut.ee, 737 5749 Mari-Liis Pintson Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5681
Mob: +(372) 5866 8677 E-mail: mari-liis.pintson [ät] ut.ee


Category: Studies
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

UT joint study: how to better find environmental research articles via location?

1 month ago

In a joint study by the University of Tartu (Estonia), the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (New Zealand) and the University of Salzburg (Austria) more than 5,800 scientific articles from three environmental research journals were digitised and analysed. In addition, a geographical search method was developed to identify the location of a studied area.

Continue reading about the study in the Research in Estonia website

Category: Research
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Tartu Observatory develops new instruments for global remote sensing network

1 month ago
17.04.2018 Before a satellite starts work on orbit, researchers and engineers have to think through everything that might happen out of their reach. In the new HYPERNETS project which includes Tartu Observatory as a partner, an instrument for the support measurements of optical remote sensing satellites is created. The support measurement instruments will form a worldwide remote sensing network with unified data processing and management. “The biggest problems with optical satellite remote sensing are that the satellite sensor can be calibrated at the optics laboratory only before the launch and that on-ground objects are measured through the atmosphere – anyone who has looked out of the airplane window or seen a bluish forest behind a large field should understand the problem,” said Joel Kuusk, Senior Research Fellow at Tartu Observatory’s Department of Remote Sensing. This is why ground support measurements are required, and the results need to be compared with satellite data. This allows to control the quality of atmospheric correction and observe possible changes in the satellite sensor calibration over time. Unlike satellite sensors, ground support measurement instruments can be calibrated periodically at the laboratory. The new type of autonomous spectrometer created within the project will be tested in the most extreme conditions on Earth: in Antarctica, the Namib desert, the Argentinian rainforest, the North Sea and, of course, on the test sites of our environmental observatory at Järvselja. It is necessary to ensure that the complex optics, mechanics and the software that keeps them running work without a glitch. “Autonomous devices of this type are like small clever robots that need to be able to manage at all times and send the researchers both the measurement data and information about their own condition,” said Viljo Allik, engineer at Tartu Observatory’s Department of Space Technology and supervisor of the ESTCube project. Allik will consult the HYPERNETS project partners on the testing of electronics, software and electromagnetic compatibility. Riho Vendt, Head of the Department of Space Technology at Tartu Observatory stated that the observatory plays a key role in this project. In the optical radiometry laboratory of the observatory, similar research on different parameters of remote sensing instruments and calibration opportunities has been done ordered by the European Space Agency or as part of European Union cooperation projects. This is why Tartu Observatory has a lot of experience in building instruments as well as dealing with possible measurement errors, their causes, and correction algorithms. “This gives us a chance to get the best possible result with using cheaper components and therefore provide high-quality data at an affordable price,” Vendt said. The HYPERNETS project is coordinated by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. Besides Estonia, there are project partners from six countries: France, Argentina, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.   More information: Joel Kuusk, Senior Research Fellow at Tartu Observatory’s Department of Remote Sensing, joel.kuusk [ät] ut.ee, project website.   This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 775983.   Category: Entrepreneurship
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

First robostudent admitted to the University of Tartu

1 month ago

This February a completely new kind of student arrived at the university – a robot called Pepper. It is owned by AS Hansab and its studies in Tartu are supported by Telia. Pepper’s study process will constitute the first financed project-based practical training at the university.

Pepper was busy welcoming guests at the headquarters of Telia before starting its studies. Produced by a Japanese company SoftBank, this humanoid robot’s key function is to offer companionship to people. Five robotics students supervised by Associate Professor Karl Kruusamäe will participate in educating the new robostudent at the university. If everything goes as planned, Pepper will obtain various skills and knowledge by the end of the semester, so as to communicate with people even better than before.

Mr Kruusamäe, the project supervisor, explained: “Pepper will start learning new things together with robotics and computer engineering students. As we all know, we develop the fastest if we cooperate. On the one hand our students will teach Pepper how to communicate with people in an easily understandable manner in the physical world and in virtual reality. At the same time the students will learn through practical experience how to develop technologically highly complex robotic systems from predefined requirements.”

“The University of Tartu has embarked on a mission to integrate different forms of practical training into every curriculum. We are still only piloting project-based practical training, meant for finding a solution to a company’s or institution’s problem. Pepper is our first success story which might encourage companies and institutes of the university to introduce project-based practice more extensively,” said Vice Rector of Academic Affairs Anneli Saro who welcomed the new student with open arms.

“Telia is constantly seeking new opportunities for contributing to the development of Estonian society as a whole in areas that could be linked with our activities. It is clear that telecommunications will play a major role in the future of robotics, which is why this field fascinates us,” said Mr Toomas Kärner, IoT Business Area Manager at Telia. “Our cooperation with the University of Tartu will offer its students practical experience in robotics which will, in its turn, increase Estonia’s competence to create solutions in this area.”

Mr Kärner commented on Telia’s expectations for the project: “We hope that the cooperation between the UT Institute of Technology, Hansab and Telia will take Pepper’s development to a whole new level, so that the knowledge stored in it at the production point will expand and enable it to do so much more. At the moment I wouldn’t like to expose any more secrets – otherwise I’d spoil the surprise before the end of the project. In other words, we would like Pepper to be able to do stuff that no other Pepper in the world has ever done before as well as to communicate with people in a totally new context.”

Pepper was brought to study at the university for the 2018 Spring semester by the UT Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The robostudent will definitely not be lonely as it will enjoy the company of other robots at the university, including KUKA, Universal Robots and Franka Emika manipulators used in the field of manufacturing, Sanbot and Nao humanoids who imitate humans and educational robots like mBots and robotonts (Estonian ‘roboghosts’).


Additional information: Aitel Käpp, Head of Marketing and Communications, UT Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 508 6478, aitel.kapp [ät] ut.ee

Category: Studies
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Narva College holds 18th International Student Research Conference

1 month 1 week ago

On April 19-21, 2018 Narva College of the University of Tartu opens its doors for international students who are coming to Estonia to participate in the International Student Research Conference.

The event is recognized as one of the longest standing student conferences in Estonia and is held on a yearly basis since 2000. Many talented students from different countries all over the world will come to share their opinions within the topic “Neglecting the boarders: 6 Dimensions of EU-RUS relations”.

Master’s students of Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies of the University of Tartu are organizing the conference. The participating students come from Estonia, Russia, Hong Kong, Georgia, Poland, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Italy and Germany. The qualified participants will introduce their research in the fields including education, linguistics and culture, Russian language and culture, youth work, transboundary entrepreneurship, and Russian & international studies.

During the two main conference days, April 19 and 20, there are two plenary sessions and twelve parallel sessions. The main working language of the conference is English, except the session “Russian language and culture”, which will be held in the title language.

This year pays more attention to Russian culture in Europe. On April 19th at 16:00, all the participants are invited to take part in the round table discussion on topic “Russian-speaking European, what does it mean?” Special guests among the speakers will be journalist Nikolai Karayev as well as Andrei Ivanov, Russian-speaking writer from Estonia. Discussion will take place in Narva College gallery. The event is free and open to everyone registered (find the link below).

Narva 18th International Student Research Conference is supported by Estonian Gambling Tax Council and organized by Narva College of the University of Tartu and Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies.

The registration form can be found on the ÕIS platform website.

The program of the conference and information are available at the conference website and Facebook page.


Additional information: Nikita Lumijõe, Member of the organising committee, 56 156 330, ppcy [ät] narva.ut.ee


Category: Studies
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Biobank project of the UT Institute of Genomics attracts the attention of international science media

1 month 1 week ago

The Estonian Genome Centre, a part of the Institute of Genomics of the University of Tartu, launched this year an unexpectedly popular project to find 100,000 gene donors in Estonia. The biobank project has enjoyed enormous success at home, but now it has caught the eye of a prominent UK science magazine New Scientist.

New Scientist, published in London since 1956 and with branches in the USA and Australia, is a magazine that makes science accessible to the wider audience. It has 3 million readers every week, giving the Estonian Genome Centre’s success story a whole new global dimension.

“It is a national initiative carried out under the aegis of the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs. It is a significant step. In addition, I must praise the National Institute for Health Development that has also contributed to the promotion of public health. People have been extremely interested in the project: around 30,000 people have given their digital signature to become a gene donor,” said Director of the UT Institute of Genomics Andres Metspalu with considerable satisfaction.

The biobank project of the Estonian Genome Centre forms a part of the celebrations on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. The leaders of the project wish to reach the level of 152,000 gene donors by the end of 2018. Every participant will get a personalised genetic report which can be used to ascertain the risk of diseases and suitable medications. In the coming years it is planned to integrate the genetic data of the Estonian Genome Centre with everyday healthcare, so that in the longer perspective the biobank will lend considerable impetus to the development of personalised medicine in Estonia.

Additional information: Annely Allik, Manager of Communication, Estonian Genome Centre, 502 9970, annely.allik [ät] ut.ee

Category: Research
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Researchers of the University of Tartu won the Young Scientist Award and the Young IT Scientist Award

1 month 1 week ago

At a festive ceremony held on 6 April President Kersti Kaljulaid presented Leopold Parts, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Computer Science, and Mark Fišel, Chair of Natural Language Processing, with this year’s Young Scientist Award and Young IT Scientist Award respectively.

Leopold Parts, the winner of the Young Scientist Award, leads a research group in the UK at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, one of the world’s premier genomics research centres, and works as a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Tartu. He has a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge. His PhD thesis focused on genetic mapping of cellular traits. Before receiving his PhD, he had studied Mathematics and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Tartu.

Parts makes a valuable contribution to science by using the methodology of data science to solve biological issues. His research helps to answer such questions as how we are affected by DNA mutations, how to best interpret biological data and what genes to select as targets in cancer treatment. His academic publications have been published in world-class journals, he has won several grants in fierce competition and methods developed by him have been put to extensive use.

“My group is exceptional in one respect: we are competent in various fields. This enables us to apply the most novel lab and computer methods to understand why children are so similar to their parents in terms of their height, weight, character and the risk of grave hereditary diseases,” said Parts. “I think that there are many excellent young scientists in Estonia worthy of the award by the Cultural Foundation of the President of the Republic. It could be said that I have been fortunate to have really great colleagues and supervisors who have made it possible for me to analyse significant and exciting issues without having to worry about resources or the administrative burden,” he added.

Mark Fišel, the winner of the Young IT Scientist Award, received his PhD from the University of Tartu (Institute of Computer Science) in 2011. After that he completed his postdoctoral studies in Zurich. Currently he heads the Chair of Natural Language Processing of the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Tartu.

As an Associate Professor in Natural Language Processing Fišel focuses on neurotranslation, i.e. neural machine translation systems based on artificial neural networks. This field of research is aimed at teaching such systems to learn to translate by way of using a huge mass of translation examples. More specifically, his goal is to reduce the resource-dependence of machine translation systems. In order to do that, he develops methods that neither require linguistic resources nor depend on the amount and quality of translation examples to the extent they do now.

The practical purpose of his work is to make machine translation available to and useful for private and corporate users. “Our research results are available in an online translation system. When we come up with a good method for teaching the machine translation tool to learn or translate better, we add it to the system. Currently the online demo version can translate from Estonian to English and vice versa. Several linguists are using our tool instead of Google Translate. We are planning to add other languages: Finnish, Latvian and Russian. This spring we’ll launch cooperation with a translation agency that will start using our translation system,” said Fišel.

What exactly he would do with the money prize he couldn’t yet say, but he was positive that a part of it would be spent on a nice family holiday. “My family deserves it because they have supported me patiently during a period while I was writing articles all through the night. In that respect my family has contributed heavily to science. As a researcher I’ll continue to pursue the same direction and analyse machine translation systems further.”

The University of Tartu congratulates the two award winners and the Institute of Computer Science where they both work.


Additional information: Office of the President of the Republic, 631 6202, press [ät] vpk.ee


Category: Research
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Postimees awarded the Opinion Leader 2018 title to Mihhail Lotman

1 month 3 weeks ago

At the traditional lunch of opinion leaders, the daily newspaper Postimees declared Mihhail Lotman the Opinion Leader 2018.

The title Opinion Leader of the year and the accompanying sculpture of Johann Voldemar Jannsen, a journalist, poet and leading figure of the Estonian National Awakening movement, is traditionally granted to a person whose role in the Estonian press and society equals Jannsen’s achievements.

According to the Head of the Postimees’ Opinion Department Neeme Korv, Lotman has had a long working relationship with Postimees. The semiotician was a regular columnist of the newspaper’s Opinion Department more than a decade ago, but recently he has been mostly writing in the essay genre. “These days he influences the public opinion through his blog, most of all,” Korv mentioned.

Lotman is the Research Professor of Semiotics at the University of Tartu.


Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Send questions to rector candidates

1 month 3 weeks ago

Until March 28, the University of Tartu is inviting its members’ to ask questions from the rector candidates, Toomas Asser and Margit Sutrop.

All university employees and students can ask questions via the special form (anonymously) or by sending an email to siseinfo [ät] ut.ee. This is an excellent opportunity to hear the rector candidates’ opinions on university life and on the development of the area that interests you most in the University of Tartu.

The Communication Unit will gather the questions and send them to the rector candidates. Questions and the rector candidates’ answers to them will be published on the university’s website and intranet on a rolling basis.

On 5 April at 16:15, the candidates will hold a public debate in the University of Tartu assembly hall. At the debate, simultaneous translation into English is provided.

On 15 March 2017, the election commission registered UT Professor of Practical Philosophy Margit Sutrop and UT Professor of Neurosurgery Toomas Asser as candidates for UT rector. The election meeting takes place on 26 April at 12:00 in the University of Tartu assembly hall.


Contact: Viivika Eljand-Kärp, Head Specialist for Internal Communication, 737 5683, siseinfo [ät] ut.ee

Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Open lecture on the Bible translations' impact on society held in UT

1 month 4 weeks ago

On March 26 at 18.15, UT's College of Foreign Languages and Culture is holding its first research seminar: Professor Marko Pajević is giving an open lecture titled “Poetics’ transformative power. Bible translation and society”.

The lecture discusses how bible translations from different time periods have impacted the wider Christian society. Marko Pajević, the UT's Professor of German Studies, explains that in addition to the influence the Bible has had on Christian culture, the Lutherian translation in specific formed the foundational text for a standardised German language, shaping German and Germany to this day.


“In my contribution, I would like to analyse Franz Rozenzweig and Martin Buber's retranslation in the 20th century, with which the authors attempted to establish space in the Bible for Jewish and Hebrew tradition, creating a closer bond between Christians and Jewish Germans. Although the goal was not accomplished, it was nonetheless a remarkable endeavour to change the language and broaden the reader's views. I will compare the authors' work to the translation and language theory of Henri Meschonnic, which was fundamentally shaped by translating the Bible,” says Pajević regarding his lecture's focus.


The lecture is held in UT's Jakobi 2 building, room 114. Wine and snacks are served and attendance is open to all.


The Research Seminar of the College of Foreign Languages and Cultures is a new, interdisciplinary seminar at the University of Tartu, organized by the professors of the College. It aims to be a forum for scholarly discussion and presentation of ongoing research at the College.


The position of the professor of German Studies is financed by the European Union Regional Development Fund through University of Tartu's ASTRA project “PER ASPERA”.



Contact: Daniel Sävborg, UT's professor of Scandinavian Studies, 737 6250, daniel.savborg [ät] ut.ee

/*-->*/ Category: Research
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Inaugural lecture by Professor Kalle Kisand on relations between immune system and diabetes mellitus

1 month 4 weeks ago

On Tuesday, 27 March at 16:15, the University of Tartu Professor in Laboratory Medicine delivers his inaugural lecture “Immune system and diabetes mellitus” in the White Hall of the University Museum.

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Kalle Kisand discusses the role of immune mechanisms in the development and course of different forms of diabetes mellitus, including complications. As immune mechanism disorders that lead to diabetes may activate years before the clinical picture of diabetes develops, Professor Kisand also explains the important question of how to assess the risk of prediabetes by means of various biomarkers and gene risks.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease, which involves disorders of the glucose metabolism and emerges if the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or if the organism cannot effectively use the produced insulin. Insulin is a hormone without which cells cannot absorb glucose from the bloodstream. As a result, various biochemical processes in the cells are disturbed, including energy production.

The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the world is growing, but its causes are not clear yet. The increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus is believed to be associated with lifestyle changes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is characterised by a higher-than-normal lipid level in blood, elevated blood pressure and low-grade inflammation in the tissues; whereas immune system plays an important role in its development. Type 1 diabetes is even more directly connected with the immune system, because is caused by the body’s own immune cells attacking the cells of the pancreas. The activation of such autoimmune mechanisms destroys insulin-producing pancreas cells and results in insulin deficiency with glucose metabolism disorders.

Kalle Kisand graduated cum laude from Tartu State University in medicine in 1985. After postgraduate studies in Tartu, he defended his dissertation “Development of ELISA for evaluation of autoantibodies of Liver Specific Protein (LSP) in autoimmune liver diseases” in the 2nd Moscow State Medical Institute and was awarded the degree of candidate of medical sciences in allergology and immunology (the third in Estonia). Kalle Kisand has gone through all the stages in a researcher’s career from junior research fellow (1988) to senior research fellow (1994). In spring 2017, he was appointed a professor in laboratory medicine of the University of Tartu.

Professor Kisand has worked on several important research fields in clinical medicine, e.g. infectious diseases, gastroenterology, endocrinology, neurology, rheumatology and orthopaedics. His research topics are closely related with laboratory medicine in order to apply immunological and genetic markers in the diagnostics of diseases, predicting their severity and assessing the risk of their occurrence. Today, Professor Kisand’s research is focused on autoimmune pathogenesis and gene risks of pancreatic disorders and disorders of nervous tissue. In recent years, as a new research topic, he has studied the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis to discover new biomarkers for the early diagnosis of the disease and predict progression risks.  Kalle Kisand also took part in the Helicobacter pylori research led by Professor Kaljo Villako, which received the 1994 annual award of the Ministry of Culture and Education.

Professor Kisand is the founding member of the Estonian Society for Immunology and Allergology and a member of the Estonian Society for Laboratory Medicine. He has more than once been the chair of the Estonian Society for Immunology and president of the Baltic Immunological Society.  Besides research and teaching, Professor Kisand has worked as a coordinator of the Estonian healthcare project led by the Ministry of Social Affairs, and as a World Bank expert in implementing the healthcare project.


Additional information: Kalle Kisand, Professor in Laboratory Medicine of the University of Tartu, 731 9341, kalle.kisand [ät] ut.ee

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


Category: University
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

2018 application round for NGAL® is now open

2 months ago

All UT business-tycoons-to-be have until March 26 to apply for the International business development programme NGAL®.

The intensive hands-on business development programme for early-stage student teams takes place at UT IdeaLab, TTU Mectory and Nebraska Wesleyan University (USA). During the programme, all participants will get to travel, see local start-ups and develop their business idea in 3 different cities: Tartu, Tallinn and Lincoln, with all travel, accommodation and food expenses paid. The best team will be awarded with 3000 dollars of prize money.

This year NGAL® takes place June 4-15. From the University of Tartu, 4 students representing 2 teams with ideas from the tech field will be elected to participate. Once the application is completed and sent, UT IdeaLab will get in touch with participants to schedule an interview. The participants will be announced on April 10.

Last year the winner was team Cody from the University of Tartu, a code-learning platform for primary school students. “The first place surely came as a big surprise for us,” says the leader of Cody, University of Tartu student Kaspar Kuus. “It took us a while to realize that three Estonian teams actually made it to the TOP 3. All the teams had been working really hard and did a great progress during the programme, so it was almost impossible to forecast the winners.”  

NGAL® is an ambitious, high-impact business development programme linking five universities across countries and cultures through student-centred entrepreneurship. The teams are from two Estonian and three US universities: University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology, College of Charleston, The Citadel (Military College of South Carolina) and Nebraska Wesleyan University.

The project is financed by the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation.

Information and application on the UT IdeaLab website.

Contact: Riin Lisett Rei, UT IdeaLab marketing and communication manager, 737 4817, riin.lisett.rei [ät] ut.ee


Category: Entrepreneurship
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

Toomas Asser and Margit Sutrop run for rector of the University of Tartu

2 months ago

On 15 March, the commission formed for the University of Tartu (UT) rector elections registered Professor Toomas Asser and Professor Margit Sutrop as rector candidates.

Professor Toomas Asser was submitted as a candidate by the councils of the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science and Technology. Professor Margit Sutrop was set up as a candidate by the councils of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Science and Technology.

Chair of the election commission, UT Professor of Molecular Plant Biology Hannes Kollist was pleased that the faculties had nominated two renowned professors with extensive management experience as rector candidates. “The candidates can now start to present their election platform to university members,” he added.

Toomas Asser is UT Professor of Neurosurgery, Head of Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, member of the UT council and member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. Professor Margit Sutrop is UT Professor of Practical Philosophy, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Head of the Centre for Ethics, member of the Rector’s Office and member of Academia Europaea.

The rector candidates’ public debate is held in the UT assembly hall on 5 April at 16:15. The council and the senate of the university assume a position regarding the candidates on 9 April.

The election meeting takes place on 26 April at 12:00 in the university assembly hall.

The term of office of the new UT rector starts on 1 August 2018. Until that date, Professor Tõnu Lehtsaar is the acting rector.


Additional information: Hannes Kollist, Chair of Election Commission, 5647 0471, hannes.kollist [ät] ut.ee

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


Category: University
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

Mother Language Day conference “The Language of this Land” on 12 March

2 months 1 week ago

The conference takes place in the University of Tartu main building on 12 March and aims to draw everyone’s attention to the appreciation of the native languages of all people.

The conference is not focused solely on the Estonian language, but the mother languages of all people living in Estonia. At the conference, participants discuss role of the Estonian language in the past and the future, and reflect on the topic of language more generally.

The speakers at the conference include professor Martin Ehala, associate professor emerita Reet Kasik and senior research fellow Tiit Hennoste. Participants are welcome to take part in interesting workshops.

See the schedule and register for workshops on the conference website.

Presentations will be interpreted to English.

Additional information:
Liis Saar
Development and Communication Manager, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
737 6148
liis.saar [ät] ut.ee

Category: University
Mari-Liis Pintson (pintson)

University of Tartu represented with five new subjects in QS subject rankings

2 months 2 weeks ago

At the end of February, the prominent QS World University Rankings published its World University Rankings by Subjects 2018, covering 48 subjects. This year 18 subjects taught at the University of Tartu are represented in the rankings, five more than last year.

To compile the rankings, the international consulting company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) gathers information on 4000 universities all over the world and ranks just a small part of them. The new subjects of the University of Tartu that made it to the rankings are law (251–300), geography (151–200), politics and international studies (151–200), sociology (201–250) and history (151–200). Most of the new entries of the University of Tartu are subjects taught at the Faculty of Social Sciences – three new places in the rankings.

“Skytte Institute has become much more internationalised, especially in recent years, with 25% of our employees coming from other countries and three of four master’s curricula being taught in English. As a result, we have developed an environment in which studies and research in Estonian and English are well combined. Therefore, we are successful in finding foreign funding. But besides the funding, we also consider it important that young Estonian researchers return to Tartu to ensure we have the new generation of researchers in the speciality. All in all, it is an excellent recognition to all our people,” said acting director of J. Skytte Institute of Political Studies Mihkel Solvak, who is in charge of political science and international studies, the highest-ranking subject in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

“It is a pleasant recognition although a place in the rankings is not usually the goal of our work,” said Leho Ainsaar, director of the Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, about the ranking of geography. “One of the main strengths of research and studies at our institute is interdisciplinarity. Our subject perfectly combines in itself environmental sciences, physical natural sciences, social sciences and information technology. I would definitely like to point out the invaluable contribution of our late professor Rein Ahas to making our geography so visible in the world.”

This year QS made a separate ranking in history; earlier it was for history and archaeology. Head of the UT Institute of History and Archaeology Anti Selart finds it encouraging that QS has recognised the University of Tartu equally in both subjects (151–200). “Naturally, it is wonderful news and an encouraging recognition to the entire staff of the institute. We are pleased that the University of Tartu has, against all odds, developed a modern scientific potential in this speciality and that our work and activities have also been noticed outside our university and Estonia,” said Selart.

The University of Tartu was ranked in the following subject rankings this year (place is shown in brackets): archaeology (151–200), English language and literature (201–250), history (151–200), linguistics (101–150), modern languages (251–300), philosophy (101–150), computer science and information systems (351–400), agriculture and forestry (151–200), biological sciences (301–350), medicine (301–350), pharmacy and pharmacology (251–300), chemistry (401–450), geography (151–200), physics and astronomy (451–500), communication and media studies (151–200), law (251–300), politics and international studies (151–200) and sociology (201–250).

This year, Harvard University received again most of the first places in the subject rankings, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked the second. Rankings are available on QS World University Rankings website.


Additional information: Lauri Randveer, UT Senior Specialist for International Cooperation, 737 5510, lauri.randveer [ät] ut.ee

Category: University
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)

ADAPTER now mediates 12 institutions’ R&D services to entrepreneurs

2 months 2 weeks ago

In February, the ADAPTER network signed contracts with two new institutions: Bio CC and Estonian Business School (EBS) joined the list of partners who connect research and business. Through the ADAPTER platform, enterprises can now contact 12 partners who provide research and development services.

“I am very pleased to welcome BioCC and EBS to the ADAPTER network. Each new partner also increases our capacity to offer research solutions tailored specifically for the needs of enterprises operating in various areas of activity,” said the ADAPTER project manager Siim Kinnas.

BioCC LLC carries out research and development and provides services encompassing the whole value chain, from breeding, feeding and keeping animals to creating health-promoting products and doing clinical trials to prove the health-promoting qualities of the products.

BioCC LLC applies innovative biotechnological solutions in research and development to create innovative feed additives, food products and dietary supplements. For better results, BioCC’s and international microbiological, biochemical, genetic, metabolomic, genomic, bioinformatic, physiological and clinical know-how is integrated.

Estonian Business School, founded in 1988 and currently operating in Tallinn and Helsinki, is the oldest business education institution in the Baltic countries. With more than 1500 students, EBS’s goal is to provide enterprising people with academic knowledge at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level, and promote their skills for successful application of the knowledge.

The ADAPTER cooperation network operates under the leadership of the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology with the goal of bringing entrepreneurs and researchers together quickly and easily. With just one click, ADAPTER enables to contact any of the Estonian research and development institutions in the network, find a necessary service among the ones they provide, and find information about funding measures for enterprises.

View a video clip introducing ADAPTER on Youtube.


Additional information: Siim Kinnas, ADAPTER Project Manager, 520 4864, siim.kinnas [ät] ut.ee

Category: Entrepreneurship
Maria Kristiina Prass (b14327)
22.05.2018 - 21:55
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