Researchers, students calling for government to increase research funding ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Slogans written on blown up plastic gloves for a protest in Tartu in May 2019.
Slogans written on blown up plastic gloves for a protest in Tartu in May 2019. "Science is not a hobby", "Science is the future" and "March for Science". Source: Triinu Visnapuu

Estonian researchers, lecturers and students are calling for the government to raise the level of funding allocated towards higher education and research and will hold a public meeting in front of the Riigikogu on Monday.

A petition urging the government to raise the level of funding allocated to higher education to 1.5 percent of GDP with over 1,000 signatures will be handed to the speaker of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas (EKRE).

Last year, the government withdrew from a promise it had made to increase the level of funding of higher education and research to 1 percent.

"We want to maintain a strong national higher education and research system in Estonia and catch up with the Nordic countries with an innovative economy in terms of economic development," the petition says (link in Estonian).

Heiki Lill, chairman of the Estonian University of Life Sciences Trade Union: "Unfortunately, members of the government must be reminded of their own promises. Otherwise, Estonian higher education and science have no future."

Lill added Estonian researchers are already faced with the choice of continuing their activities in Estonia based on patriotism alone or moving abroad.

Last June, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said research funding not to reach 1 percent of GDP in the next three years, despite agreeing to the raise in March.

Rectors of Estonian universities have said the government's decision could lead to the reinstatement of paid higher education in Estonia.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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