Tallinn University of Technology

Tallinn University of Technology is preparing for external evaluation, which is carried out to assess the activities of the university as a whole (institutional accreditation), the level of research and development activities (evaluation), and the compliance of programmes with the requirements (quality assessment of the study programme group). We asked TalTech employees, students, alumni and partners, where the university is headed to in their opinion.

Tiit Land: what matters most is the individual

Tiit Land

I wish to thank our people, our staff for the enormous amount of work we have managed to get done together over the last year. Today we have a new Strategic Plan, we have drafted a self-evaluation report for the external assessment. 

The underpinning word in both is "quality", quality in everything we do. What we want to say is that we want to be good at what we do, we do not have to do more than we need to. Let’s rather undertake less but do it well.

New and important activities in our Strategic Plan are the green transition and digital transition. On those two we wish to take the lead, be a research- and evidence-based expert, show to both Estonia and the world what the green transition is all about, what are the actions we should be taking to reach the objectives that have been set. And what may be even more important when it comes to the green transition is to be able to distinguish between green transition and greenwashing. Coming back to quality and the question how to achieve it, we shall achieve it with the help of our people. People are our greatest asset.

In the current period we need to focus more on the organisational culture, on noticing and recognizing people as well as their inclusion in decision making. 

I dare to say that for the first time we have paid more attention in our Strategic Plan on people – our greatest asset. We have several key performance indicators concerning people. For example, gender based professional integration, the visibility of the university, satisfaction. These are the topics that we need to work on hardest in the future. And I am convinced this will result in high quality.

Maarja Kruusmaa: we have three focal areas for research

Maarja Kruusmaa

We have three focal areas for research: research quality, the succession of researchers and supporting researchers’ initiative.

Research quality means that we try to conduct the best, most relevant and innovative research – no matter how we measure it. We should not dwell too much on how to measure it as long as we try to be better at it today than we were yesterday and even better tomorrow. 

Supporting the succession of researchers means that young researchers enjoy working at the university, they feel welcome and supported in developing their careers. No matter whether they wish to stay with the university or take up jobs in business or the public sector or elsewhere, but they have good skills for solving complex real-life problems using scientific methods. 

Supporting initiative means that we support those who support themselves. We are keen to see scientists raising issues of societal importance, helping to raise funds to that end. We try to provide support for this and mitigate the risks in the case they do not succeed in this. 

We are already moving in all of those directions. The quality of our research has gone up in recent years, no matter the yardstick we use to measure it. Let us keep it up - trying to do better today than we did yesterday and even better than today tomorrow.

Hendrik Voll: more academic weddings!

Hendrik Voll

To date we have had more academic funerals than academic weddings at TalTech. By "academic funeral" I mean the situation whereby a student is exmatriculated before reaching graduation. By ’academic wedding’ I mean successful graduation within nominal study time.

The rate of graduation within nominal time in TalTech was only 38% as recently as five years ago. Last year we reached 50% meaning that we have as many funerals as we have weddings. But TalTech wants more. We want more academic weddings than funerals. The ambition in our Strategic Plan is to have the rate of graduation within nominal time reach 60% by 2025 at the latest. In 2021, I can assure you that we are on the right path. This year we already had more weddings than funerals.

But how to achieve more weddings than funerals? It is simple! Teaching staff have to be motivating, inspiring, innovative and always be there for the students. What can the university do in order to have more teachers like that? Already this autumn we shall launch centres for didactics. These will provide support to all teaching staff members, who themselves wish to become motivating, inspiring, innovative and use state-of-the-art teaching equipment.

In order to recognise faculty members committed to teaching, TalTech has updated its career management system. Already this autumn we shall welcome among us the first Associate Professors on the teaching path. These are people who enjoy teaching, who deliver quantity and quality in supervision, who are well known within as well as outside the university, known and recognized in their field and professional associations. 

The biggest task for the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs is to make sure that the best years of the 18+ year olds studying at TalTech would be those spent at the university.

Helen Sooväli Sepping: we wish to be a trailblazer!

Helen Sooväli-Sepping

TalTech has clearly stated in its new Strategic Plan that through sustainable development we wish to contribute to making the Estonian society more sustainable and less wasteful. For instance by developing the sustainable development concept as well as setting the indicators the university wishes to contribute to and be a trendsetter for the Estonian society on this.

Similarly, we intend to develop a strategy for circular economy in cooperation with staff and research groups. For our campus, we plan to come up with strategies for climate, biodiversity and mobility.

These are only a few small steps that shall, when combined, form a large whole. This whole is a sustainable university that can set an example for all members of the Estonian society. 

In the future we also wish to contribute to curriculum development and do it in the near future. Activities to this end will start already at the end of this year. We plan to develop a framework for curricula which shall allow for the integration of circular economy and sustainable development topics into curricula. Through these activities we contribute to achieving the UN sustainable development goals and therethrough also to the strategy "Estonia 2035".

The green transition is a mindset. Real changes begin with ourselves.

Sven Illing: research outcomes into start-ups!

Sven Illing

In the Strategic Plan we set as objectives increasing the number of industry contracts, increasing the number of start-ups emanating from the university, increased amount of technology patents and licencing. In order to support researchers in increasing the volume of industry contracts the university has recruited experienced project writers and technology transfer experts. Already this semester we offer entrepreneurship seminars and mentorship events for researchers wishing to take their research findings to start-ups. 

Furthermore, a development grant aiming at supporting researchers/doctoral students in the preparation for the commercialisation of their research outcomes, including feasibility studies, prototyping and drawing up of business plans, is under development.

A seven-year support project for companies with a budget of 14 million euros is also being launched. The objective being enabling access to the newest robotics and AI solutions. The participants from TalTech include the Engineering and IT faculties.

Since this spring the university staff includes a scholarships and donations specialist. The objective is to scale up in the coming years the scholarship amounts, currently amounting to 150 000 euros annually.

We intend to persuade individuals and companies to donate more funds to the university. We intend to gather suggestions from staff and students on how to best collect donations and to what ends. Likewise, everyone is invited to join in on making these ideas happen.

Check out our website taltech.ee/en/crowdsourcing.

Tea Trahov: our university is a flagship employer

Tea Trahov

This year has been somewhat different. We have analysed our activities extensively, soul-searched, weighed our strengths and weaknesses. While doing this, we have managed to make good use of the data that is generated at the university. We have been smart enough to keep it and able to process it and we have the skills to present it in ways that it can be used as a basis for decision making. This is a clear step forward. This is for sure something we shall keep on doing. 

There are two topics that we need to put more focus on than we have to date. First one being employer branding, backed by the positive trend in our reputation as a university as well as improving working conditions year-on-year. Our university is a flagship employer – so why not communicate this to the public at large. 

The other topic is equal treatment. It exists on paper, most of us deem it necessary, subscribe to it in our minds. But how much do we actually do in order for men and women to be equal, have equal opportunities? There is definitely room for improvement: how to make something that exists on paper and in our minds tangible? 

I also wish for all our support services to become user-friendly, easy to use, transparent, so that everyone would know who does what and where to turn to if they need something. And as a human resources manager at heart, I hope that all of the above might raise satisfaction with our university. It is important to feel good here and for us to love where we work.   

Tiina Randma-Liiv: real life problems are interdisciplinary

Tiina Randma-Liiv

The biggest asset of a university is its people. Looking from the outside, we see very many outstandingly smart, dedicated and development-oriented people at TalTech, who at the same time are able to adapt to new circumstances, new knowledge that they acquire from research or from problems that the society is facing. 

TalTech is the most international university in Estonia. Our family includes representatives from more than 100 countries. This creates a unique context where we operate. We have the opportunity to embrace experiences and knowledge from a wide range of countries, from scores of experts and from disciplines that might not even be taught in Estonia.

I would like to mention TalTech’s relationship with the Estonian society. Whereas it is normally expected from universities that they meet the needs and challenges of the society, TalTech has demonstrated that we can also proactively steer how particular topics are handled within the entire Estonian society. Partly this is due to the context of a small country, where 
a lot of knowledge has accumulated into universities and in other institutions whether public or private, there are not so many think tanks or centres of excellence which might attract the top-quality research and knowledge. The green transition is a particularly good example here. TalTech has ample opportunities for steering the discussions within the Estonian society, helping to explain it, frame it, offering alternatives, allowing all our faculties to contribute. showing what the green transition means to each and every one of us.

I would also like to highlight a unique trait stemming from our motto "Mente et Manu". On the one hand we really are a Humboldtian university, where research-based learning and teaching, academic freedom, creative and critical thinking are pivotal, on the other hand we are also characterized by an entrepreneurial and practical mindset. Combining these two is key at TalTech. 

Mart Saarma: more patents!

Mart Saarma

If I compare TalTech to universities of technology from Scandinavia for example, even though the budget is far smaller, the proportion in the budget of revenue from cooperation with domestic industry, is impressive. This sends a very positive message.

Despite the progress made by TalTech, without a doubt there is plenty of room for improvement. If we compare TalTech to leading European universities of technology, i.e., ETH Zurich, Imperial College London or the Scandinavian universities of technology, then there is a lot to be done regarding research quality and even more regarding industry cooperation. If I compare these universities to TalTech, then the TalTech patent portfolio, if I may say so, is a bit light.

I wish to highlight that today’s high-tech industry, that the Estonian society also has high hopes for, is not possible without patents. The lack of patents also impedes significant licencing agreements, there is a lot to be done in this area. Cooperation with European high-tech companies could probably also be improved. This would also provide opportunities for raising more funding for TalTech. That is a huge resource.  

Engel-Mari Mölder: our great advantage is the student life!

Engel-Mari Mölder

TalTech students have so many advantages compared to students from other universities. At our university you can study on study programmes that will be in demand on the labour market not only 5 years but also 10 or 15 years from now. The university has set its sights on the future and students can likewise come here in order to jump and fly even higher. 

TalTech also sees sustainability as a part of our future. The university’s Strategic Plan states that by 2035 we intend to be climate neutral. This means that the students are immersed in an environment, which shall shape their views on the future, and they shall learn to appreciate things that really matter.

Without any doubt, the student life at TalTech is a major advantage. There are 32 student organisations with more than 1000 members at our university. This means that on a daily basis scores of students contribute to the social life by investing their spare time but also seeing the benefits for themselves. 

I think that TalTech can support making the student life even more attractive, contribute and inspire so that we would become even more numerous, over 5000 instead of the 1000+...

Georg Kõivumägi: we will be looked at as aces!

Georg Kõivumägi

TalTech is unique because it has an awesome and compact campus. We build genuine student formulas here. We have everything we need starting from the composites’ lab, strength testing lab, welding lab, up to being able to manufacture fine mechanical components on the campus.

What is also cool is that because everything is so compact and covered, some folks hardly manage to leave the campus during busy production periods. They live in the student accommodation, study here and do their shopping across the street – you can literally find everything here. This is an excellent, compact environment for spending the student years. 

The education provided by TalTech is truly universal. It opens the doors of businesses to us in Estonia and enables fostering cooperation with other educational institutions. But what is awesome is that it is held in high regard in Europe. When we were touring Europe for competitions with the student formula car in 2019, we visited the University of Munich. We are both now in the EuroTeQ Alliance. Meaning that a document from the peripheral Estonia carries equal weight at the heart of the European automotive industry.      

It is cool that at TalTech there is a tradition of engineering education going back for decades. When coming across experienced engineers and the topic of university comes up, they call it TPI, we call it TalTech, but what we have in common is that throughout history, strong engineering education has been acquired here. This makes the previous generations see us, today’s students, as aces too!

Gert Jervan: it is important to serve the society

Gert Jervan

TalTech has historically been very tightly connected to Estonian industry. There were a lot of industrial innovations already back in the 1960s and 1970s. Inspired from the same ideas and trends, already a few years ago we at the IT faculty set as an objective to be a good partner to the private as well as the public sector in Estonia. A good few years ago, we launched the first industry cooperations financed through various measures targeted at clusters.

The support measures for smart specialization in recent years have only strengthened this cooperation. We see very clearly that Estonian companies may not have the investment capability to engage in R&D using their own resources, but thanks to the top-up financing schemes we have reached the point where businesses have big interest in and need for more complex projects that they work on daily. 

We have several interesting examples of this. We can mention the smart workwear project from a few years ago, but also the more recent cross-border customs declarations filing project. These have all had very practical applications. Businesses have seen that they are not able to take this on alone, but in cooperation with universities, where the universities are strong partners for the company, and not development partners, but first and foremost knowledge bearers. I think that as a university we have helped such businesses a lot. 

At the same time, we must not forget that being a development partner, engaging in implementing everyday projects is not the core business of a university. Our main strength lies in consultancy that we provide to businesses, sharing the knowledge that has been accumulated at the university over the years. This is where our role lies. 

We are keen to see businesses also as partners in the development of work force of the future and in trainings. Long-term cooperation with Telia is a good example of this – they finance the studies of several PhD students, thus reinforcing a specific research area – a professorship – in this case on 5G. We have similar examples among other companies, which contribute to keeping learning and teaching as well as development at the university state-of-the-art and all the latest technologies represented.

At TalTech we try to integrate different disciplines. Whether we succeed better or worse, we are determined not to get stuck in our silos. The School of Information Technologies is a good example of this: we combine electronics on the one hand, health on the other, topped up by data. Based on these we are creating both captivating study programmes and R&D projects. Different disciplines collaborating – this also reflects the global trend. The question being who can accomplish this best?

At TalTech we put a lot of emphasis on developing a modern urban environment. This brings together a range of technologies. IT, engineering, logistics, economics, architecture etc. As we speak, we are building a model small town combining various services and platforms on our campus. For the School of Information Technologies what is fascinating is that we shall also create our own private 5G network here, which shall act as a testing platform for anyone developing urban services in the future. Here they can develop exactly the same kinds of services that will be in the future be deployed wherever in a different environment. 

One of our strengths is our links with hospitals. We cooperate with the North Estonia Medical Centre, East-Tallinn Central Hospital, Ida-Viru Central Hospital. Pärnu Hospital has shown great interest. All this brings together doctors, technology experts, why not economists here at the university. And as a result of this, new interesting solutions emerge starting from e-health to intelligent orthoses as well as scores of examples from cardiology, nephrology and other fields.

I think this is one of the obvious strengths of TalTech – we contribute to maintaining the health of the society, but equally to the society as a whole. Service to society is one of the roles of a university. And we try to be as good at it as we can.

Renno Veinthal: we have an historic relationship with entrepreneurship

Renno Veinthal

TalTech, compared to some other universities in Estonia, stands out for our academic career management system supporting the self-development of our people. 

The financing of higher education has not increased over the last ten years, despite this, TalTech has managed to keep and even improve our strategic standing.

The TalTech Council comprises a large proportion of members elected from outside TalTech. This determines to a significant degree how open, how receptive we are to signals from the external environment. What I mean are the global challenges such as the green transition, energy transition, digitalisation. Precicely this management model supports us best, allows us to understand the trends and to move quickly in the direction that the society expects and needs from us.

The demand for our graduates on the labour market is worth highlighting. It is no secret that our graduates’ earnings are above the national average right after graduation. Our graduates are in great demand on the labour market and this is something that we can be very proud of. As an important initiative, TalTech has launched the industry PhD studies. Now, three or four years after it was launched, we are seeing the first fruits. PhD dissertations are defended, that offer solutions to specific problems faced by businesses or deemed important by the public sector. I personally believe that industry PhDs constitute an influential tool that we should use even more widely in the future. 

Jarek Kurnitski: we are a large university of technology of a small country

Jarek Kurnitski

TalTech is the only university of technology in Estonia. We could say that we are a large university of technology of a small country, and this means that the responsibility that comes with it is enormous. We cannot only undertake things that interest our researchers, we must engage in what benefits the society and the economy. This is for sure a unique position we’re at.

TalTech fosters extraordinary levels of cooperation with our towns, ministries and public bodies as well as businesses. If some regulations or amendments are being prepared in Estonia, it is very common that when it comes to engineering disciplines, TalTech scientists are involved. Be it ways for moving in our streets, constructing buildings, or urban planning, waste management or water supply or anything to do with Internet coverage in Estonia – this is characterized by the heavy involvement of TalTech staff members.

One of the leading focus areas for TalTech is energy transition towards climate neutral construction. On energy efficiency of buildings, we have had our say on the EU wide definition of nearly-zero-energy buildings, how much energy these buildings are allowed to consume, the requirements for the internal climate, how much energy they need to produce.

In this field, we have become one of the leading countries in Europe, we are the holders of a so-called world record by having the "super-ministry" building, a class A nearly-zero-energy building used by five ministries.

There are great examples at TalTech too – we have a student accommodation building that has been renovated into a nearly-zero-energy building, recently the reconstruction into a nearly-zero-energy building of the Construction Building was completed. These are great accomplishments, and our students can have first-hand experience of how modern construction should happen.

In addition to new buildings, our strengths also include holistic renovating. In renovating of apartment buildings in Estonia that has been ongoing since 2010, we are also among pioneers in Europe and have attracted attention for the comprehensive renovations ensuring good internal climate and long exploitation period. Today we have approximately 1500 apartment buildings that have undergone such renovation.   

Maarja Grossberg: I am happy about the green transformation

Maarja Grossberg

For me TalTech is a really youthful and entrepreneurial university and without a doubt a future oriented university. We have a lot of energy and readiness to take on challenges that the society is facing.

This is supported by our environment, the campus which allows to concentrate all the energy that we have here. What better breeding ground for new ideas and cooperation projects could we hope for? Looking from the students’ perspective – when adding an inspiring mentor or mentors to the mix, we get great student projects such as the student formula or the self-driving car, which allow the students to gain experience that they would not learn at lectures. This is all supported by the university’s excellent research infrastructure. 

TalTech has taken the role of being the pioneer for the green transition in Estonia, be it as an education provider, trainer of experts or developer of new technologies. Moreover, we have also committed ourselves to setting an example through changes in the working environment and working culture, to become more environment friendly. 

I was recalling before that while delivering an anniversary speech last year I posed the question whether the university would take on the challenges of the green transition. I am now extremely glad to see that the university has done exactly that. And what is even better – a new Vice-Rector for Green Transformation has taken office a week ago, whose leadership shall help focus the activities even better and help get even better results.

Pirjo Spuul: we are open to new ideas and approaches

Pirjo Spuul

The focus areas chosen by the university have facilitated a lot of interdisciplinarity, close cooperation among our scientists. This has contributed to new and exciting ideas and solutions getting to the society. Clearly us being very international, collaborating with universities in Estonia and abroad, is also important.

I would like to highlight that we have a well-established organisational culture that supports our students, staff and cooperation partners. The university has been committed to staff self-enhancement, offering excellent support and the best trainings.

I have always appreciated the fact that we have been given the opportunity to develop ourselves in various roles. Being a researcher, I have had the opportunity to also teach, but also to engage in the development of learning and teaching i.e., as a project manager for a doctoral school. My colleagues, for example, have managed various study programmes. 

TalTech is very open to new approaches, ideas, but also learning and teaching methods. I would like to give an example from among my courses – a virtual practical lab tutorial, which allows the students to perform experiments in a virtual environment and use the same environment for tackling problems. At the same time, they can internalize the theory they have already covered during prior classes. Students have enjoyed this novel approach very much. 

At TalTech research and learning and teaching are very tightly linked. Our students are taught by outstanding researchers. Students can present their ideas and put these into practice in our research labs. Students can thus access top research, top researchers and specialists from outside the university can help them in implementing these ideas. 

Erkki Karo: no green capital without the university

Erkki Karo

TalTech in my opinion is unique among other things because we are a university located in a small country on the one hand, but in a big city on the other hand. This provides us with numerous opportunities for collaborating with different partners, be it businesses or the city itself. On the other hand, the relationship with these partners is close and productive.

The small and large scale make for an interesting combination. This leads to us having a range of research projects, student projects starting from student formula cars and self-driving buses where collaboration and problem solving will quite quickly take us onto the market or into mainstream use.

This is something that more easily eludes other universities. We are sandwiched between the science park Tehnopol, where the university, the city and the state work together on a daily basis to develop the innovation eco-system and where on the other side we are located now, Tallinn and the Smart City initiative.

The university should even take some pride in Tallinn becoming a green capital. Without the university Tallinn would probably not become a green capital: let us think about the smart city professorships, smart city projects that we have launched – these are important and give a good indication of our ability to contribute to societal development. 

If we look inside the university, I find TalTech to be quite a flexible organisation. We have managed to put together intriguing research cooperation teams that combine members from several faculties, from diverse disciplines. People speaking different languages coming together in order to solve a common problem, a shared challenge.

The launching and implementation of such projects require a good organizational culture. But if we are successful in our endeavours – then we must have it!

Juri Belikov: people create the university

Juri Belikov

The measure of the strength and vigour of an academic institution have always been its people. We need people who believe in science and for whom learning is a way of life.  We also need courageous people, who have the insight to face up to the challenges of an ever-changing world, as well as the obstacles presented by everyday life.

At TalTech we have such people. It has been an honour and a privilege to work with them.

The world is constantly changing. The university has a great opportunity to go beyond its core role. In recent years for example we have successfully taken advantage of our strengths and implemented numerous applied and research projects. This however would not have been possible without a solid foundation established by several generations of successful scientists from among our academic community. And here we see again that people are the be all end all.

Ago Luberg: we initiate, the university supports

Ago Luberg

I would like to start by the IT Academy’s nationally conceived grant programme that has given many opportunities in the IT field to have a broader perspective on things.

What this has led to is earmarked funding for study programmes – the programme manager has funds for developing the programme. 

We have taken advantage of this in various ways – we have implemented a wide range of projects, for instance a project where we provide mentorship to students. We particularly monitor students during the first semester – we know in the IT faculty that this is the time when the drop-out rate is the highest. We put an extra effort on them, we organise events outside the university for them to tighten the links between students and the university. 

TalTech has developed a lot of courses outside the university. The popular Elements of AI, which also had international participation, is just one of them. We also have cyber security programmes for example one called the CyberSpike for school pupils. 

This autumn I offered a fundamentals of programming course for secondary school students, to which almost 300 students have enrolled as of today. This gives pupils an idea of whether this speciality might suit them already prior to enrolment at university. We have partner schools that have spread the word among students about this. Thanks to this we have had roughly 300 pupils enrolling already, but considering that we started only two weeks ago, I expect this figure to rise. This project was developed in cooperation with the Network of Estonian Teachers of Informatics and Computer Science.

From perspective of the university, I would like to mention that I personally have received a lot of support from the university for delivering a range of study programmes and training courses. If I have an idea, the university supports that. I find it easy to make my ideas happen and the university has been a good source of support. 

The entire Moodle project that we have today: moodle.taltech.ee, partially evolved from one of my courses. I had an idea, I received support from the university and the idea was implemented: now we have a single Moodle environment for the entire university.

All the courses that we offer to pupils, be it the national examination course taken by thousands of pupils, contributed – especially given the circumstances – to the success at national examinations. Likewise, the programming or Elements of IA courses have taken teaching outside the university. TalTech is more broadly on the radar than just for those who become our students! This is a good thing and gives us an advantage: pupils already know which university they might choose.

Without doubt one important aspect is our colleagues. I myself work in excellent company – everyone working on the study programme or at the institute, are fans of their job. When we need to work on new exciting projects, everyone contributes, nobody complains. The working environment is brilliant. I would like to emphasize this, and the university has made this possible - we have fun, and we support each other. 

Birgy Lorenz: we want to be the spokesperson of ethics

Birgy Lorenz

The TalTech Academic Ethics Committee has been established in order to support finding solutions to ethical challenges at the university. We act in cooperation with the whistle-blower hotline. We provide needs based expert advice in settlement proceedings, situations of conflict of interests, matters of equal treatment. Academic fraud issues are usually resolved within faculties. 

The Academic Ethics Committee includes representatives from all faculties, strengthened by extra members from among the academic community, both junior and experienced, men and women. We also have the opportunity of involving experts from within the university to the committee’s work.  

As of this year our tasks also include providing ethical expert opinions on research projects – anyone is welcome to seek advice. For example, several Horizon projects require ethical assessments. 

At TalTech we consider it very important that everyone is informed about and adheres to agreements, good practices and legislation. As scientists we promote research in the society, freedom of thought, researchers working for the benefit of the mankind, we prepare young people, the future generation for the world of science and we are accountable for what we publish. At TalTech we are building foundations for becoming the leaders in engineering sciences.   

People most often feel challenged by their inner moral compass and ethical requirements stemming from their role. Whether you are a a teacher or researcher, the way you solve problems may differ or depending on whether you are scientist or a representative of the university at a board.

We at our Committee have set raising awareness about ethics and creating supporting materials as our objectives. Everyone should understand their role and contribute to the enhancement of ethics within the university. 

You can find information about the Academic Ethics Committee on the Intranet as well as the university website under the section ’Management’.  

Nicolae Spalatu: digital economy is the future

Nicolae Spalatu

When we are talking about TalTech, then there are many special things we can say. One thing I can really point out, and I like this a lot, the way, how the university is structured. Having lots of departments, lots of possibilities for students and the researchers. They come here, choose their field, and can perform in this chosen field.

Another important thing I really like here in TalTech, is being a part of digital economy in our days. TalTech has really followed this approach.  And this is a good thing to go with. Because digital economy is the future.

I am coming from the department of material environmental technology. Our mission there is to develop new materials for solar energy conversation. And of course when talking about research, it`s always costly. And one thing I like, in TalTech is, that they putting a lot of effort in finding funds and resources for different projects, European projects, so that we`ll have all the possibilities in our department, to have fully equipped labs so we can succeed in our research.

Sadok Ben Yahia: I appreciate the data-driven approach

Sadok Ben Yahia

Actually I came here in 2019 with very long experience in the former University of Tunesia. And I think it`s really noteworthy, all this research development and infrastructure offered by TalTech in terms of high performance computing. It has allowed me to speed up the pace of my performances in terms of publication, and development.

In addition to that I think the fact is that TalTech is open to the ecosystem in terms of research to development, and in terms of transferring the technologies to industrial partners is very important not only to TalTech but to Estonia too.

When I applied for the position here, and I was later chosen, I discovered, what I have opportunity widen the scope my expertise end know-how. Especially it is the infrastructure in terms of research and development which is offered in TalTech is really noteworthy. Especially that it allows me to widen the scope of my expertise and to even help my colleagues and my former colleagues and for my exchange student.

In addition to that TalTech is really putting the focus on transfer of know-how from the university to the industrial departments, trough this collaboration with industrial.

I am working as a data science professor, it means in TalTech I see TalTech being avant-garde in terms of development of what we call data-driven approach, it means that now we are collecting data, very big data, very different data and witch is having very high velocity it means that we would like to look and then within this data and to find these nuggets of knowledge, and these nuggets of knowledge would be very useful.

And the most important, last but not least this know-how would work sustainably driven- it is no wonder that Tallinn was chosen the green city in 2023. So TalTech is working and we are really working hard- how can we help Tallinn to better sustain, to provide better system, better tools that would really preserve the planet and stick with the European goal to be carbon neutral continent by 2050.

I see that TalTech would really be avant-garde in terms of development of data driven approach would like to be able to use and exploit the leverage of all this data in order to extract the approach and the tools that would help Tallinn - to make it more sustainable and more smart and one thing what is important is the existence of this finest thing what is… what is monitored by TalTech and the idea that we´ll help Tallinn to be the leader in terms of sticking with the requirements of the European Commission in terms of carbon-neutrality by 2050

Sandor Liive: knowledge becomes obsolete, skills acquired from the university remain

Sandor Liive

I for sure expect from my university that they be vocal on all topics relevant to the society, it goes without saying that within its expertise. 

Without a doubt TalTech offers very good academic education, providing students with contacts for life. But looking from the outside as an alumnus I certainly expect from TalTech to be, on the basis of knowledge and research, vocal and influence the functioning and trends of the Estonian society even more. 

To today’s students I recommend taking the most out of your university studies. And I do not only mean knowledge brought to you by teachers. I also mean the discussions you have among yourselves. The contacts, the network you build during your studies. For sure these remain assets for life: the network of contacts and ability to discuss matters. You acquire knowledge, but that becomes obsolete, but the ability to learn, solve problems, forge relationships, find solutions through discussions and group work – this will remain for life. 

The success of a university is defined likewise by the proportion of research projects conducted at the university that get put into practical use in the economy. If the ideas are applied, including by start-ups co-founded by researchers themselves that grow into big businesses, and ideas that are applied in practice. That is why I expect from TalTech and its researchers a mindset that their ideas and work should grow into real life applications on the Estonian economic landscape and they might spread internationally or even on a global scale.  

Hanno Tomberg: age sets no limits for learning

Hanno Tomberg

TalTech, according to its Strategic Plan, contributes to society through research, education and innovation. Continuing education plays a crucial role in education.

TalTech disciplines are first and foremost connected with engineering. This gives us a competitive edge compared to other universities and continuing education providers. 

We offer a wide range of continuing education programmes. We offer roughly 400 continuing education curricula and around 800 courses per year. The School of Business and Governance of TalTech, IT College and Virumaa College have been very productive. But I see for certain here that if we develop a curriculum for continuing education learners, we are able to offer it to a wide target group.  

In the future, the Engineering Academy shall provide more opportunities. We shall use it create synergies between basic and secondary education, formal training and continuing education for those people having graduated from formal education but coming to TalTech to top up their education. Naturally I am thinking first and foremost of our alumni. Age sets no limits for learning – you can learn at any age. We are aware that the needs of the labour market are changing at a very rapid pace. Which means that a specialist would have to learn new skills every three to five years in order to stay competitive on the labour market. 

In autumn 2021 we piloted almost 20 micro degree programmes, where on the basis of the formal education courses we offer, a brand-new set of future-oriented knowledge, that will be expected in the future from someone entering the labour market as well as someone who is already employed. I see our micro degree programmes becoming university-wide and international in the future. 

Since TalTech is fostering active collaborations under EuroTeQ, why not study one course at TalTech, a second one at the Munich University of Technology and another at Eindhoven in two- or three-years’ time. This is what ensures the best education for the future specialist.

Offering elective courses and developing elective modules for upper secondary school pupils constitute the focus of TalTech’s activities aimed at school pupils. So that secondary school leavers might find enrolment at TalTech easier. Our focal areas continue to be technology, materials sciences, as well as mechanics, electronics and energy, but also IA law. If the fundamentals are already acquired at school, it will be easier for the future specialist to pass them at Bachelor or Master level. 

Anne Muldme: the reputation and fame of the university is growing

Anne Muldme

Tallinn University of Technology should be proud of our growing reputation and fame. Growing particularly among a cohort that is very important for the university – young people making their university and educational choices, but also those young people who are choosing where to acquire their second or third degree. 

Surveys show what Estonian young people see as the university’s strengths, which are rational like the quality of learning and teaching as well as research, but also emotional agreeableness. These are all on the increase.

I suppose this is one of the key factors for young people, do I like the institution where I would like to study or does it leave me indifferent. This is where we demonstrate nice and strong progress. 

One thing that makes TalTech truly different and stand out is that we have so many high-level artistic collectives: choirs, dance groups and orchestras. And secondly, we have very high-level sports, even at the highest competition level. We have all participated in and shared these experiences together and I think this makes TalTech a very unique university for studying, working and returning to as alumni. 

Estonia, thanks to its small size, speediness and strong initiative has every chance of becoming a global success story. And I think that TalTech today, at the end of this development period and in the future shall be a super-awesome university of the digital future, leading the way for the rest of the world.