Tallinn University of Technology

Major ongoing projects

The key component of the BEACON project is to build awareness, trust and understanding of the necessity of biological effects tools in the monitoring, assessment and management of the Baltic Sea marine environment. BEACON will target stakeholders at multiple levels within the management structure, including private, municipal, national and regional actors. The aim of the project is not only to promote the establishing of a structured and harmonised regional approach (e.g., an “early warning” system for mixture effects of contaminants) but to also to build links across the life/management cycle of environmental contaminants, a process valuable in improving cooperation nationally and support the work under the 2021 BSAP.


CLAIM focuses on the development of innovative cleaning technologies and approaches, targeting the prevention and in situ management of visible and invisible marine litter in the Mediterranean and Baltic Sea. Two innovative technological cleaning methods will be developed. An innovative floating boom for collecting visible litter and a method to measure microlitter on board ships (Ferrybox) will be developed. Effectiveness of developed devices and methods will be demonstrated under real conditions. Innovative modeling tools to assess the marine visible and invisible plastic pollution at the basin and regional scales will be developed. An ecosystems approach will be followed to evaluate the potential benefit from proposed litter cleaning methods to ecosystem services.

The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) delivers regular and systematic reference information on the physical state and dynamics of the ocean and marine ecosystems for the Global Ocean and the European regional seas. This capacity encompasses the description of the current situation (analysis), the prediction of the situation a few days ahead (forecast), and the provision of consistent retrospective data records for recent years (multi-year products). The CMEMS provides a sustainable response to European user needs in application areas such as marine safety, marine resources, the marine and coastal environment and climate and meteorological forecasting. It is user driven, validated by its users and responsive to their requests and promotes and supports its user uptake. The CMEMS is a core service, which delivers generic and reliable global and European numerical information, derived from space and in-situ observations and from models, with clear boundaries with the downstream sector using this information to provide services to their own users as value-added services delivered by national institutions and private companies. Baltic Monitoring and Forecasting Centre (BAL MFC) is responsible in delivering ocean forecast and reanalysis products for the Baltic Sea area. BAL MFC has five partners: Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH), Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Department of Marine Systems, Tallinn University of Technology (MSI) and Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). Main duties of the MSI within BAL MFC is development and application of Ocean Monitoring Indicators, quality control of the products and develpment of numerical models (curculation, waves, biogeochemistry).

The overall objective of the project is the adaptation and implementation of uniform innovative biological indicators for prediction and control of environmental quality in the eastern Gulf of Finland. The project facilitates international collaboration in data sharing and knowledge exchange between project partners. The project results include internationally recognised techniques for monitoring and assessment of the impacts of selected hazardous substances in the eastern Gulf of Finland, also applicable in other regions of the Gulf.

  • Finance program: HORIZON 2020
  • Principal investigator : Urmas Lips
  • ERIS

The main aim of the project is to facilitate open access to European research vessel fleet and other marine research infrastructure, to provide training and education activities for future marine scientists and to develop a sustainable development strategy of the European marine research infrastructure.

The main aim of the H2020 project EuroSea is to strengthen the European and Global Ocean Observing System (EOOS and GOOS) and support its partners, increase the technology readiness levels (TRL) of critical components of ocean observations systems and tools, coordinate international observation systems (in-situ and remote), to demonstrate the usefulness of a coordinated observation system for operational oceanography, marine environmental assessment and climate research, and to develop related services. TalTech will be a part of work package WP6 that will integrate efforts from BOOS and HELCOM monitoring networks, resulting in a more fit for purpose operational oceanography system and enhanced environmental assessments in the Baltic Sea, including the development of a periodic extreme events assessment system.

  • Finance program: INTERREG programme
  • Principal investigator : Urmas Lips
  • ERIS

The main objective of the project is to develop a holistic and inclusive approach in the planning process, through involving stakeholders of different interests and together create sustainable marine and coastal zone plans. New methods and strategies will be developed and evaluated to visualize different values and interests and to improve local participation in order to make them more efficient and sustainable. Environmental, social and economic impact of following activities/plans/changes will be analyzed: construction on wind parks on the coast and in the coastal sea, construction of ports, establishing public beaches, herding livestock on the coast, sustainable solutions for reed cutting, ascertainment of local economic environment (tourism, recreation, hobby fishing, coastal fishing, aquaculture, etc.) at coastal areas, dam/bridge between Muhu and Saaremaa, waste water treatment and discharge, treatment of stormwater, sea level changes.

Estonian project objectives

Estonian project partners are Saaremaa Municipality planning experts and Tallinn University of Technology marine scientists.

In the project, the main aim is to generate valuable input material for the Saaremaa Municipality general plan regarding coastal area region. The idea is to involve in the coastal area planning local expert knowledge, local community wishes and marine experts’ knowhow to get the best possible results.

Saaremaa municipality experts give input regarding their local situation and needs for the future, they provide information about the current situation. TUT marine scientists are involved in the project to help gathering the input materials, to interpret data in the coastal area, to visualise and compare different future development scenarios in the coastal area based on modelling and expert knowledge.

In the following are described main points of what we are planning to do in the project:

-          Identifying current ecological status, cultural, social and other values of Saaremaa municipality with the emphases on the coastal area; identifying municipalities main focal points and future visions for the coastal area;

-          Gathering data (GIS layers, numerical data, other available input for interpretation) through which necessary values can be described and visualized;

-          Gathering info from local community regarding their visions for coastal area – Generating a web-based info gathering online portal for local people to get their input and visions for the future use of the coastal areas; making face to face meetings in the community to introduce current situation and gather input for future plans;

-          Renewing existing GIS layers and generating new GIS layers based on new ideas and possible use of the land (making visual scenarios based on available data);

-          Carrying out modelling to identify possible conflict areas in scenarios of different activities and future developments (for example possible co-existence of beaches and coastal grazing, etc, scenarios will be worked out as one phase and based on the local need of the Saaremaa municipality).

Regarding coastal area planning, Saaremaa has listed their specific key interests, which will remain as the focal points of the projects activities:

-          construction on wind parks on the coast and in the coastal sea,

-          construction of permanent structures on the coastal area, including small ports,

-          establishing public beaches and widening the existing ones,

-          herding livestock on the coast and construction of fences into the sea,

-          sustainable solutions for reed cutting,

-          ascertainment of local economic environment (impact assessment of tourism, recreation, hobby fishing, aquaculture, coastal fishing etc.) at coastal areas

-          environmental and socio-economic impact scenario models to handle certain coastal area issues (e.g., dam of the VäikeVäin) sustainably

-          biological treatment of waste water and directing the treated water into the sea,

-          treatment of storm water and directing it into the sea from urban areas,

-          modelling waterline front and determine its changes over period of time.

These main objectives will be achieved via the activities under the Coast4us work packages as follows:

WPT1 – gathering information on ecological status, cultural, social and other values; renewing existing GIS layers and generating new GIS layers; generating a web-based info gathering online portal.

WPT2 – identifying main stakeholders and focal points; generating future visions for the coastal area development; arranging face to face meetings in the community to introduce current situation and input for future plans; identifying possible conflict areas in scenarios of different activities and future developments; carrying out modelling to assess the scenarios and solve the possible conflicts.

WPT3 – dissemination of the outcomes, e.g., planning tools, communication experience with stakeholders, modelling outputs, etc.; participation in conferences and development of guidelines / handbook.

TalTech Department of Marine systems activities in Coast4us project can be seen here.

Project outcome

The Coast4us project added new data and tools to the municipalities’ spatial planning practices. Online GIS planning portals developed in the project make it possible for planning authorities to share and update data for the planning process. This makes it easier to analyse management options and consider important ecosystem services and nature values when constructing plans, making sustainable development possible. The new data and visualization methods developed in Coast4us help communities better understand and evaluate how different development strategies will impact their area. Transfer of knowledge between the project partners of data sources, GIS layers, values, and the use of data and tools has created better understanding of different approaches that can improve sustainable and holistic planning. Examples of new GIS layers and data produced in our pilot areas are cultural historic buildings, flooding areas, infrastructure, socio-economic analysis, local water management plans, underwater vegetation, fish reproduction, water quality, ecosystem services, and how people move through the areas.

The project has discussed sustainable solutions for problems affecting values of coastal area through participatory and planning processes by using a holistic approach and combining technical tools. The main results are eight sustainable development plans by eight municipalities, pilot areas. In these areas, different methods and tools have been tested to map different social, economic, cultural and ecological values, to activate inhabitants and to increase local participation in areas with conflicting interests. This more inclusive method, together with additional knowledge and data provided, made a holistic and proactive planning process possible.

Main results and more information about the project can be found here, www.coast4us.com.


SeaDataCloud aims at considerably advancing SeaDataNet services and increasing their usage, adopting cloud and HPC technology for better performance. SeaDataCloud will improve services to users and data providers, optimise connecting data centres and streams, and interoperate with other European and international networks.

JERICO-RI: Joint European Research Infrastructure of Coastal Observatories – a system of systems strengthening the European network of coastal observatories providing a powerful and structured European Research Infrastructure (RI) dedicated to observe and monitor the complex marine coastal seas and to: (i) provide services for the delivery of high quality environmental data, (ii) access to solutions and facilities as services for researchers and users, (iii) create product prototypes for EU marine core services and users, (iv) support excellence in marine coastal research to better answer societal and policy needs.

  • Finance program: BONUS programm
  • Principal investigator : Inga Lips
  • ERIS

The focus of the project will be on the multilevel impacts of microplastics (MP) themselves, of associated pollutants and of attached biofilms on the ecosystem Baltic Sea. The hazard potential and impacts of these substances will be determined by i) detecting the recent status regarding MP in the Baltic Sea (abundance, composition, sources, sinks), ii) exploring the vector function of MP for associated pollutants and biofilms, and iii) in situ and laboratory experiments, exposing marine organisms from different trophic levels (pro- as well as eukaryotic) to defined levels and size classes of MP and POPs. The gained knowledge will enable us to create spatio-temporal scenarios and simulations for MP transfer and circulation, which will help to understand the mitigation processes of MP and associated pollutants/biofilms in the Baltic Sea.

  • Finance program: Operational Programmes adopted by the European Commission
  • Co-founded: Enviromental investment center
  • Principal investigator : Urmas Lips
  • www.coast4us.com
  • ERIS

The HELCOM ACTION project is designed to support EU Member States in updating and implementing MSFD Programme of Measures and to contribute to the update of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021. The effectiveness of existing measures with regard to by-catch of mammals and birds, impacts on the seabed, marine protected areas, and eutrophication. The topics have been chosen based on the priorities as well as the main pressures on the Baltic Sea ecosystem as identified in the ‘State of the Baltic Sea’ report (2018). In addition, the project will analyse the natural conditions that influence achievement of GES in the Baltic Sea region, including impacts of projected changes in the climate.