A research and development programme up to 2020 is being created by the Ministry of the Environment, being in line with the innovation strategy of Estonian research and development activities (TAI) "Knowledge-Based Estonia 2014-2020".
TAI strategy establishes the general directions and aims of research, development and innovation in the state, and points out areas to be primarily developed, which are related to wise specialisation. For enacting such wise specialisation, national programme(s) are formed. More precise aims, directions and budget are to be specified by other development plans or programmes. The programme establishes nationally important research and development themes, their potential sources, schemes and extent of financing.
In organising research and development, the Ministry of the Environment cooperates with Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, Estonian Research Council and research institutions. Cooperation memorandums are concluded with Estonian universities, aiming at agreeing on cooperation. For example, seminars are jointly organised for students, where they get to know what are the interests and areas of activity of the Ministry of the Environment, and they also get a possibility to introduce their research, which could be of interest to the Ministry.
- The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for coordination of its research and development activities, development of research and development programmes, as well as the organisation and financing of them.
- The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for planning and financing of general research and development activities, but area specific programmes, their implementation and coordination has been given to different ministries, who are responsible for setting priorities and implementation in cooperation with the experts and researchers of their field.
Joint initiatives of research programmingThe Ministry of the Environment has joined with three volunteer programmes of the European Research Area (ERA) to jointly plan research, the so-called joint initiatives (joint programming initiative, i.e. JPI).
The main role of the joint initiatives is to shape research policy in questions of common interest, but also to counsel European Commission and other institutions financing research and implementing research results – this also outside the European Union. Co-ordinating scientific research helps to avoid situations in which countries conduct double research. Joint initiatives are in the process of becoming an important political force, which is likely to shape the theme of scientific research of respective areas to a great extent and organise the use of the respective financial resources.
The Ministry of the Environment has joined with Water, Climate, and Ocean Joint Initiatives, which provide Estonian researchers a possibility to participate in solving international research problems of high societal value.
The Joint Initiative Ocean
Estonia joined the initiative Ocean in autumn 2013. By this participation, Estonia has much better access to shaping the marine policy and marine research of the European Union – this both on the level of the Baltic Sea as well as in other seas, in questions of interest for Estonia.
Joint Initiative Climate
The intention of the climate initiative is to increase the relations between climate change studies and societal decisions. For example, emphasis is laid on compiling reliable climate forecasts and adapting to climate change.
Joint Initiative Water
The joint initiative on water focuses on ensuring a normal water circulation, developing safe water systems, protecting ecosystems, and facilitating competition in water economy and water saving in production.