Tallinn University of Technology

Estonian Research Projects

Project Leader: Siim Veski

Duration: 01.01.2024−31.12.2030

Additional information in ERIS.

The synergy of Humanities and Natural Sciences allows the Center of Excellence (CoE) to clarify the formation of cultural and genetic diversity in Estonia and neighboring areas. CoE will develop a new transdisciplinary framework for the study of interactions between people, cultures, and environment. CoE focuses on the evolution of peoples and cultures on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea since the first arrivals of people after the Last Glacial Maximum, analyzed in a novel areal and ecological context, allowing to map the impact of abiotic (climate) and biotic (flora, fauna) factors on human cultures and populations. CoE facilitates synergistic approaches in archaeogenetics, palaeoecology, studies of culture and linguistics, enabling detailed syntheses on the development of populations, environment, and culture of this region in the European context.

Project Leader: Andres Trikkel, Coordinator from the Department of Geology: Rutt Hints

Duration: 01.01.2024–31.12.2030

Additional information in ERIS.

This Centre of Excellence (CoE) focuses on fostering innovation in resource efficiency, promoting circular economy practices, utilizing local resources, ensuring safe material circulation, and educating researchers to reduce environmental impacts. It centers around four key areas: Strategic Mineral Resources (SMR), Carbon-Based Resources (CBR), Circular Technologies Upscaling (CTU), and Circular Business Eco-System and Modeling (CBEM). The SMR group maps critical materials in waste streams, including renewables, for extraction and reuse while minimizing hazardous waste. The CBR group develops eco-friendly pathways for essential chemicals and plastics, also assessing their environmental impact. The CTU group pioneers waste reduction and recycling methods for aqueous, and solid waste, incl. water purification. The CBEM group analyzes sustainable business ecosystems and value chains. This CoE's interdisciplinary approach will benefit both Estonia and Europe by advancing circular economy.

Project Leader: Riina Aav, Coordinator from the Department of Geology: Rutt Hints

Duration: 01.10.2023–31.03.2029

Additional information in ERIS.

The project focuses on developing technologies for the separation of valuable components from intermediate products of ore enrichment and used magnets that are supplied to Estonia or potentially supplied. The emphasis is on characterizing the best possible raw materials, intermediates, and products during the development of separation technologies. This includes favoring liquid-assisted mechanochemical processes through the selective formation of metal-organic complexes and adhering to the principles of circular and green chemistry.
The objectives of the project are: a) analysis of samples generated from the recycling of ores and their enriched intermediate products, as well as magnets containing metals; b) development and valorization of separation technologies for rare earth metals, utilizing mechanochemical methods and metal-organic complexes; c) evaluating the sustainability of the developed processes using the metrics of green chemistry

Project Leader: Siim Veski

Duration: 01.01.2024−31.12.2028

Additional information in ERIS.

Climate change is progressing at an alarming rate. Recent modelling warns that climate tipping points are likely to trigger biospheric response cascades. Identification of pivotal points that lead to these events is crucial. Society urgently needs evidence-based quantitative projections of critical thresholds, the speed of ecosystem response, and the mechanism creating resilience or system breakdown. Past lessons can be useful; we will reconstruct the climate and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem composition of postglacial rapid climate change periods at an ultra-high temporal resolution along major climatic gradients. We will determine response patterns of palaeoecosystems to climatic stress, focusing on resilience, degradation, recovery, and regime shifts, producing Dynamic-Ecosystem-Model-simulated predictions of ecosystem sustainability and possible response scenarios to future climate change. We will ascertain pre-human-impact natural baselines for nature conservators.

Project Leader: Olle Hints

Duration: 01.01.2023–31.12.2027

Additional information in ERIS.

Deep-time climate reconstructions help to understand the functioning of the Earth systems and provide insights into the effects of climate changes on the biosphere. This project explores how the Earth transferred from extreme greenhouse climate to icehouse conditions during the Ordovician (443-487 My ago) and how this influenced the diversification of marine life in the Baltica palaeocontinent. We reconstruct regional palaeotemperature trends using oxygen isotope records from conodont phosphate and carbonate rocks, clumped isotope thermometry and sedimentological evidence based on well-preserved archives from the East Baltic. Combining paleotemperature trends with other proxy indicators and biodiversity dynamics of selected fossil groups allows testing the links between climate change and regional biotic turnovers in different ecospaces. The project will advance component-based and in-situ analytical techniques and provide new information on the mineral resources of Estonia.

Project Leader: Urmas Lips, Coordinator from the Department of Geology: Atko Heinsalu

Duration: 22.06.2023–10.06.2025

Additional information in ERIS.

The aim of the project is to estimate the release of nutrients (primarily phosphorus compounds) from seabed sediments into the water column and the share of nutrient flows (internal load) released from bottom sediments in the nutrient balance of the Estonian sea area and its sub-basins. For this purpose, the intensity of release of nutrients is evaluated in different conditions (both hydrographical and physico-chemical conditions, as well as due to different sediment types); the maximum allowed total loads of nutrients (N-general, P-general) are evaluated by coastal water bodies; the maximum anthropogenic nutrient load amounts at which it is possible to achieve a good environmental status with regard to nutrients in coastal water bodies and to prevent the deterioration of the condition class are pointed out; measures or activities are proposed to control the internal load, where it is technically and economically possible and appropriate. The obtained results are the basis for managing pollution loads in the Estonian sea area and for planning and implementing measures in relation to the most important sources of nutrient load.

European Projects

Project Leader: Veiko Karu

Duration: 19.10.2023-18.10.2027

Additional information in ERIS.

The extraction of minerals and metals from the Earth's crust is as old as humankind. Increasing attention is being paid to the closure and post-closure management of mines, as residues left in the environment, such as tailings, waste dumps, subsidences and contaminated water resulting from unsatisfactory environmental protection measures at mining sites in the past, affect many regions in Europe and around the world. All European countries are facing these problems and many of the countries are lacking funds and capabilities in managing these old mine sites. The Cost Action REMINDNET network comprises 74 researchers and practitioners from more than 60 organizations in 28 EU countries. The network focuses on legislation, the management and governance of mining heritage, financing, and restoration and monitoring techniques to improve the implementation of modern methods to minimize the impact of post-closure mining legacies on the natural environment. REMINDNET will establish a European mining legacy database, compare the present legal frameworks, governance structures and management approaches, provide input to mining authorities, regulators and financial institutions on a socially balanced and environmental-friendly management of mine legacies, harmonise the best practices, standards and lessons learnt for a comprehensive and sustainable management of raw materials’ extraction legacies and disseminate the results to the public through an open access visualisation platform. The network pools experts from currently separated fields (e.g., geologists, economists, engineers, environmental and social scientists, metallurgists, legal representatives, etc.) to consolidate knowledge and foster mutual exchange of knowledge between researchers.

Project Leader: Veiko Karu

Duration: 01.01.2024-31.12.2026

Additional information in ERIS.

“EPICENTRE” PhD winter/summer school on LCA/LCC and new business development address the lack of understanding and communication regarding LCA/LCC analysis and promotes sustainable practices in the Raw Materials sector to support the EU Green Deal. It will be implemented through a comprehensive and dynamic educational platform combining e-learning, simulations and workshops to provide an innovative and engaging learning experience for candidates from industry and academia.

Project Leader: Veiko Karu

Duration: 01.01.2023–31.12.2025

Additional information in ERIS.

ADMA3 promotes training of PhD students in academia and industry in the EIT RM field of Sustainable discovery and supply of mineral resources. It tackles challenges in mining industry caused by e.g., energy transition and climate change mitigation. ADMA3 educates experts to industry and academia, gives models and skills to establish enterprises, and helps to foster sustainable development (SD) and businesses, think up innovations, and handle ethics related problem-solving.

Project Leader: Veiko Karu

Duration: 06.03.2023-31.12.2025

Additional information in ERIS.

EIT RawMaterials RIS Hub Baltic main partners are Riga Technical University (Latvia), Kaunas Technical University (Lietuva) and Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia).

EIT RawMaterials RIS Hub is a “physical hub”, established by the KIC and forming part of its structure, in a Member State or in an associated country targeted by the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme. The RIS Hub serves as the focal point for the KIC’s activities and for the mobilisation and involvement of local knowledge triangle actors in the activities of the KIC. KIC's RIS Hubs form the backbone of the EIT RIS’ “place-based” innovation approach and, have the core mission of contributing to the EIT’s objectives and KPIs, especially those directly related to the EIT RIS while also rationalising the EIT Community’s on the-ground presence. EIT RawMaterials RIS Hubs are the ambassadors of EIT RawMaterials KIC (with appropriate connections) in specific regions that are of strategic importance for the KIC.

Project Leader: Veiko Karu

Duration: 01.08.2022–31.07.2025

Additional information in ERIS.

New environmental, economic and societal requirements in the EU’s transition to a low-carbon and digital economy call for innovative methods, technologies and techniques to be developed and applied in mineral exploration. To unlock the CRM potential in Europe, AGEMERA will conduct local state-of-art geological and geophysical surveys over a total of ~4,700 km2 in order to detailly map CRM resources in 6 EU countries and 1 third country (Zambia). The geophysical field trial surveys will demonstrate three novel non-invasive survey methods (at up to a TRL5) based on remote sensing and related data analysis: 1) passive seismic methods, 2) multi-sensing drone system combining magnetic, radiometric and electromagnetic sensing, and 3) muon-based multidetector density detection system. The project will use data from open-access databases (e.g., European Geological Data Infrastructure, EGDI), the data collected from the field by project geoscientists, and various geophysical survey methods to refine and improve the genetic mineral system models of the various deposit types known to contain lithium, cobalt, molybdenum, vanadium, PGMs, niobium, tantalum, bauxite and REE. The project will introduce the existing guidance for the application of UNFC for mineral resources to the partner countries through stakeholders, courses and public events. The project will survey citizens in the project countries, create a CRM educational package targeting schools and universities, publish an online CRM serious game, organise public events, as well as online news flashes, with the aim to reach 5,000,000 citizens by 2030. The project will create an open-access SoftGIS analysis and database on people’s social, cultural, environmental and economic concerns related to mining and mineral exploration. These data enable the creation of socio-economic potential maps to be used in parallel with the geological potential maps, consequently ensuring a basis for socially accepted and sustainable exploration and mining.

Project Leader: Veiko Karu

Duration: 01.01.2023–30.06.2025

Additional information in ERIS.

The latest tendency in academia shows that being a successful PhD student is not always related to publishing. Throughout graduate studies, it is important to consider not only the growing importance of research and obtained findings but also to identify the needs of modern society and implement the practical use and commercialization aspect of the dissertation project. The project "PhD BalticTeach" will organise activities for PhD students in order to identify the PhD students in the Baltic States in cooperation with supporting partners from RIS regions. After the project activities, PhD students will increase their knowledge and experience, improve their networking in-between academic fields and industry on how to bring the research results to the market and do the commercialization and upscaling. This project will make a direct impact on RIS regions by improving academic excellence, career opportunities, and qualification for PhD students by using a system thinking and challenge-related based learning approach in cooperation with industry partners.

Project Leader: Alla Shogenova

Duration: 01.09.2022–28.02.2025

Additional information in ERIS.

The overarching goal of CCUS ZEN is the accelerated deployment of CCUS throughout Europe, which will be achieved by:

• Sharing knowledge and disseminating information important for stakeholders to make informed decisions on CCUS;

• Developing specific and actionable plans for the development of CCUS value chains.

As CCUS developments around the North Sea (NS) region are relatively mature, CCUS ZEN will leverage these developments as best practices for the development of new CCUS value chains in the currently underdeveloped Baltic Sea (BS) and the Mediterranean Sea (MS) Regions. While CCUS value chains, i.e., the entire pathway from CO2 capture to transport to its eventual storage or utilization, can today be realized, the industry is still in its infancy and many issues must be addressed to achieve the rapid deployment required.

The consortium, consisting of 15 partners, including 2 associations with over 400 members in total, brings together entities with leading expertise on all aspects of CCUS value chains. 40 organisations, representing industry, RTOs, associations, clusters, ports and municipalities involved in the development and deployment of CCUS value chains, will contribute their expertise as networking partners. Starting from an analysis of the technical and non-technical state-of-play in the BS and MS regions, CCUS ZEN will select at least eight value chains (four in each region) for detailed study and comparison with successful value chains from the NS region. One value chain from each analysed region will then be selected as most promising, with a detailed plan for further development.

Through its knowledge-sharing activities and transfer of best practices from the NS region, CCUS ZEN will provide an information basis for the future CCUS value chains, including policy recommendations and a blueprint for CCUS value chain development, including easily accessible technology and CO2 source mapping, generic technical frameworks and business plan models.

Project Leader: Veiko Karu

Duration: 01.01.2022-31.12.2024

Additional information in ERIS.

Overall objective of the project is to implement a Sustainable and structured RIS Internship Programme for East European (RIS) and EIT-RM- labelled MSc students, thus increasing students' entrepreneurial and business skills, broadening the University-Business Cooperation activities in the RIS region, boosting the employment of the RM graduates within the hosting organizations and leveraging the regional brain drain.

RIS Internship programme runs as an approved EIT RM KAVA project from the 1st of January 2022 until the end of 2024. The territorial coverage includes the initial pilot region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia) and the newcoming East European RIS countries:  Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Other RIS countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Italy (southern part), Ukraine, Turkey and Cyprus are eligible as well. More about the project: https://www.ris-internship.eu/


Project Leader: Rein Vaikmäe

Duration: 01.10.2020−30.09.2024

Additional information in ERIS and on the Project's webpage.

EU-PolarNet 2 will provide a coordination platform to co-develop strategies to advance the European Polar Research action and its contribution to the policy-making processes. It will operate as such a platform for the 4-years of the project´s lifetime. Once EU-PolarNet 2 ends, the gained experience, the established network and the developed tools to facilitate better coordination and co-design of Polar research actions will be transferred to the European Polar Coordination Office to be sustained.

Participants from the Department of Geology: Rein Vaikmäe ja Enn Kaup.

Projekti juht: Rein Vaikmäe

Kestus: 01.03.2020−31.12.2023

Lisainfo ETISes.

Under the new IAEA 4-years IAEA Technical Cooperation project RER7013, 38 institutions from 27 countries in the Europe and Central Asia region grouped together into 7 case studies with different geographic and thematic focuses to enhance cooperation in the field of water and isotope hydrology in the region, support the development of new technical capacities and competencies, as well as help clarify persisting issues in the region related to the sustainable management of transboundary water resources.

These case studies cover several regional and transboundary problems, including the impact of climate change on karst aquifers and groundwater/surface water interactions in the Western Balkans, investigating groundwater nitrate contamination in Eastern Europe and Caucuses, reviewing the vulnerability of stratified transboundary aquifers to over-abstraction and pollution, as well as contamination problems of selected Europe’s coastal aquifers.

Applied Projects

Project Leader: Sergei Preis (Department of Materials and Environmental Technology), Coordinator from the Department of Geology: Veiko Karu

Duration: 01.04.2023–31.03.2026

Additional information in ERIS.

For each Baltic Sea country, the quality of the Baltic Sea is of fundamental economic, environmental and recreational importance. Contaminated stormwater generated both in coastal areas of the Baltic Sea and the leaching from inland waters produces a risk that should not go unnoticed. However, it is often still overlooked and requires solutions. At the same time, old buildings are demolished in Baltic cities, creating huge amounts of construction and demolition waste (CDW) which is difficult to recycle and often ends up in landfills. However, CDW may be used as stormwater filtering material, with very low cost. The StoPWa project develops and tests multilayer stormwater filtration systems using CDW. The filters will be made of waste fractions perfectly meeting the criteria ideal for stormwater purification.

The filtration system will be expedient, cost-efficient and sustainable. The filters will be tested both in laboratory environments and in field tests where full-scale stormwater filters will be constructed in Lahti (Finland) and in Harju County (Estonia). The result of the StoPWa project is a tested solution for using CDW in stormwater filters. This type of filter has not been applied before, so the mindset and solution are novel. The new filter will benefit SMEs across borders in creating a business idea and opportunities, as well as cities and municipalities with a new, climate-friendly solution to stormwater treatment. To be replicable in different cities from local CDW, waste-based filters in their design and implementation require cross-border cooperation between municipalities and researchers in the Baltic Sea region. The project partnership is: City of Lahti, LUT University, University of Helsinki, Tallinn University of Technology, Union of Harju County Municipalities and Smiltene municipality.