Estonian Academy of Sciences names professorships for Arctic studies

The Estonian Academy of Sciences confirmed two research professorships for Arctic studies for the 2022-2023 period.

The professorships were awarded to research teams led by Professor Lauri Laanisto at the Estonian University of Life Sciences and Aimar Ventsel, Associate Professor of Ethnology at the University of Tartu.

Lauri Laanisto will study the connections between the diversity and productivity of plant communities in Svalbard in the framework of the extensive NutNet research project. The research is important because thanks to particularly rapid climate change there, polar regions are the best source of knowledge about the impact of climate change.

Aimar Ventsel will concentrate on the representative organisations of the indigenous people of the Arctic and their activities. The study will give an overview of the role of scientists in the organisations included in the study, the projects and cooperation formats of the organisations of indigenous peoples and ways in which Estonia could cooperate with these organisations.

Five researchers with their teams took part in the competition for research professorships organised with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to recommendations from the assessment commission of the Academy of Sciences, the Board of the Academy selected two candidates who will be asked to take up the position of a research professor and create a research professorship in their university.

“After a successful competition, I am happy to note that the Arctic is an attractive subject of research for Estonian scientists. The projects submitted to the competition were distinctly future oriented and had a strong international dimension,” Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Märt Volmer said. He congratulated the future research professors of the Academy of Sciences and said he hoped the projects would be launched as soon as possible. “We consider it crucial that this research increases expertise on the Arctic in Estonia, raises Estonia's profile in the Arctic and includes follow-up action.”

“The Academy of Sciences thinks it is important to direct sectoral funding by ministries efficiently and without administrative losses to the excellent researchers who wish and can participate in solving the tasks facing ministries and the Estonian state,” Tarmo Soomere, President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, said. Congratulating the researchers, he added that Aimar Ventsel and Lauri Laanisto were the pioneers of the institution of research professors at the Academy of Sciences. “We hope that in the coming months they will be joined by colleagues who have the courage to take on new challenges with their wealth of knowledge.”

The aim of establishing research professorships is to support the participation of Estonian researches in Arctic studies, increase the expertise of Estonian researchers on the Arctic and contribute to their ability to take part in important international research.

The funding for the Arctic research professorship is €60 000, which covers expenses related to establishing the research group engaged in Arctic studies. The funding is allocated for one year. For the funding, a tripartite agreement is signed between the chosen candidate, the Estonian university or research institution managing the professorship and the Estonian Academy of Sciences.

More information is available on the website of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.