What is the objective of the grant?
What is the grant amount and period?
What are the requirements for the applicant?
What are the requirements for the Centres of Excellence?
How and when does applying take place?
How are applications evaluated?
Application form template
The meeting of the Selection Committee takes place on 30 November.
The budget for the call of Centres of Excellence is 10 million euros (70 million euros for the entire period).
The call opened on May 23: the deadline for applying was September 15, 2023 (17:00 Estonian time).
NB! The information is continuously being updated!
A Centre of Excellence is a scientific consortium which aims to develop the cooperation and joint activities of exceptionally high-level Estonian research groups. The Centre of Excellence focusses on solving high-risk, high-reward research questions based on the needs of Estonia. High-risk, high-reward research leads to a breakthrough research result that significantly affects the current knowledge or practices of one or more fields.
Regulation No. 13 (2023) of the Minister of Education and Research stipulates the conditions and procedure for naming and financing the Centres of Excellence (the document is in Estonian).
The grant period is seven years, and the maximum grant amount is seven million euros for the whole period per Centre of Excellence. The funding period for the Centres of Excellence is 01.01.2024—31.12.2030.
Only a positively evaluated public or state research and development institution (legal status “legal person in private law” or “legal person in public law”) whose research group(s) participate in the application can apply.
In addition to the applicant, at least one other state or public research and development institution must participate in the Centre of Excellence. A Centre of Excellence can be formed by at least three research groups. In addition to mandatory partners, positively evaluated private institutions as well as other research groups from public institutions may also be included in the Centre of Excellence. If necessary, other research and development staff from positively evaluated research and development institutions can be included in the Centre of Excellence, who are not invloved in the group’s ongoing R&D project. Institutions that are not positively evaluated can participate in the activity as partners, but the budget cannot cover their participation costs.
The research groups included in the application must have an ongoing research and development project in 2023 with a total duration of at least two years, and a total funding of 210,000 euros. The PI of the research group must be the PI of the ongoing research and development project. If the research group’s research and development project ends in 2023, the institution must guarantee funding for the research group for 70,000 euros (one-third of the volume of one research and development project) for 2024.
NB! Starting and team grants qualify if the total duration is at least two years and total funding at least 210,000 euros. Although, ETIS does not show the total funding of these projects (amount corresponds to payouts), the Estonian Research Council is aware of the total funding and takes it into account.
The PI of the Centre of Excellence and the PI-s of the research groups included in the application must have a doctorate. They must be at an internationally high level in their field, have experience in conducting research and managing R&D projects, or have corresponding qualifications. Each PI and research group PI can participate in only one application. There are no participation restrictions for other research staff.
Applying and evaluating take place through ETIS (Estonian Research Information System). The language of the application is English.
To begin the application, the applying institution must submit a corresponding statement to ETAG. The statements can be submitted starting from the call’s opening date until (and including) June 30, 2023 to firstname.lastname@example.org. The application will be opened as soon as possible after receiving the statement.
The statement must include the following:
- the initial name of the Centre of Excellence (in Estonian and English),
- the initial summary in English,
- the name of the PI, and participating partners,
- keywords in English (3–6).
The deadline for applying is September 15 (17:00 Estonian time).
The evaluation takes place in four stages:
- Evaluation in the expert panel of foreign experts
- Evaluation in the expert panel of local experts
- Evaluation in the ethics and data management expert panel
- Evaluation and final selection of funded Centres of Excellence in the selection committee
Evaluation in the expert panel of foreign experts and in the expert panel of local experts takes place in parallel. Up to double the total funding amount worth of applications (98 million euros) is forwarded to the ethics and data management expert panel. All applications that are forwarded to the ethics and data management expert panel will also move on to the selection committee.
Funding decisions will be made in December.
Senior adviser (Centres of Excellence and Proof-of-Concept Grant)
Mob +372 5199 7098