Tallinn University of Technology

The Vice-rector of the Tallinn University of Technology, professor of biorobotics and academician Maarja Kruusmaa was elected as one of seven advisors to the European Commission. She is the first Estonian to hold the given position.

The European Commission’s elite group of seven chief scientific advisors provides timely and impartial advice on European science policy. Current topics facing the European Commission are the pandemic response, cyber defense, an aging European population, health and the environmental risks caused by microplastics and climate change.

Maarja Kruusmaa believes that science-driven policies cannot only help to directly address these challenges, but in doing so, will also increase European competitiveness: "Science is not capable of offering final solutions. Science is a tool to analyse, refine and bring the best knowledge available to decision makers. It is our responsibility as scientists to ensure that policy decisions are based on the best, most truthful information we have.”

Tarmo Soomere, president of the the Estonian Academy of Sciences recommended Prof. Maarja Kruusmaa as chief scientific advisor and believes that her appointment represents one of the greatest achievements of Estonian science diplomacy.

Tiit Land, Rector of the Tallinn University of Technology adds: “This is recognition for the level of science at Estonian universities.”

The European Commission’s main criteria for the position of scientific advisor is outstanding competency in research, trustworthiness, experience, leadership, interdisciplinary knowledge, and belonging to a new generation of scientific leaders.

Maarja Kruusmaa is an internationally recognised researcher in IT, whose range of research topics extend from underwater robotics to complex algorithm development and artic exploration. Her contributions to the popularization of Estonian science has been recognised by the Estonian Association of Science Journalists, which award her with the Ökul prize. She also received the Estonian National Science Prize, as well as the Order of the White Star IV class. Recently, she started the voluntary online teaching program ReaalAbi, which helped hundreds of Estonian students during the corona crisis with their science lessons and homework.

Kruusmaa has 9 patented inventions, has graduated 13 PhDs and published over 130 scientific articles in the peer-reviewed literature.