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EU Just Transition Fund to support Ida-Viru County higher education research

The University of Tartu's Narva College.
The University of Tartu's Narva College. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

Two higher education institutions in Ida-Viru County will be able to contribute more research activity than they had done, thanks to €35 million in European Union support, funneled via the Just Transition Fund.

The support is being granted to Tallinn University of Technology's (TalTech) Virumaa College, located in Kohtla-Järve, and to the University of Tartu's Narva College.

Mare Roosileht, head of he Just Transition Fund's inter-university consortium, said that the project has an important role in boosting the research capacity at colleges in Ida-Virumaa.

Roosileht told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that: "The biggest deficiency here relates to human competence."

"Inevitably, there would have been no future growth in the research field, while in the past, research activity was not expected from the colleges either, so no attention was paid to that," she continued.

"It might be that in the following years we will have to boost our people's research capacity, as well as find people to join our team. We are planning to involve a lot of PhD students, many of whom will hopefully remain working in Ida-Viru County in the future, as the research capacity we can offer will grow," she added.

The €35 million, six-year project was unveiled at a presentation at Jõhvi concert hall, and forecasts funding and investments across 22 research projects.

The Just Transition Fund is a pillar of the EU's Just Transition Mechanism, which provides support to areas of member states' expected to be the most negatively impacted by the transition towards climate-neutrality, which in Estonia's case is Ida-Viru County, due mainly to the prevalence of the oil shale sector there.

Funding is used among other things in up-skilling the local labor force, installing clean energy, setting up companies and, as here, in research and innovation support.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

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