Tallinn University of Technology

Before the Independence Day of the Republic of Estonia, Tallinn University of Technology recognised the best works of the year. The third place in the Development Work of the Year was taken by “The Development and Realisation of the Concept of Virumaa Innovation Centre of Digitalisation and Green Technologies”, the aim of which was to support the region in the implementation of the digital and green transitions.


Mare Roosileht, Director of Virumaa College and head of the research group, elaborated that the aim of the development work was to develop a new innovation model that would support the just transition of Ida-Viru County, while meeting the needs of the green and digital transformation of the industry. "In cooperation with TalTech's various research groups, the new ViDRIK centre will help create modern, efficient and sustainable solutions necessary for companies in the field of engineering and IT." 

In the coming years, both current and new companies in Virumaa will need support in the areas of digitalisation, automation and robotisation of industry and the implementation of new green technologies. There is also a crucial need for the retraining, continuing education and formal education of the workers. Thus, VIDRIK focuses on all the key areas in Ida-Viru County: smart industry, renewable energy and energy smart grids, circular economy and environmental protection, smart living environment and transport, smart occupational health and rehabilitation.

The development work showed that dreams really do come true

Mare Roosileht experienced many beautiful moments during the development work. "Once again, I was assured that anything is possible if you really want it, strongly believe in it and just go for it.” It was clear that companies and local governments in Ida-Viru County needed a regional R&D institution that would serve as a link between them and both Estonian and foreign universities. Virumaa College alone would not be able to meet this expectation." 

According to Roosileht, the biggest challenge was the involvement of experts from different fields at TalTech's headquarters, in order to map out and analyse the resources and cooperation opportunities available in TalTech's research groups. It was also difficult to staff ViDRIK when human and financial resources were limited. "Most gratifying was the formation of a curious and cooperative team that contributed to the development of the ViDRIK concept, while also involving various industrial companies," Roosileht noted. "It is impressive that in less than a year, ViDRIK's activities have managed to attract attention both within the university and in Ida-Viru County. Many, many thanks to the whole team!" 

The current effective work of R&D will continue in the new activities that will be launched in 2022 in the implementation agreements of the Just Transition Fund measure. The main developments can also be found on the website: vidrik.taltech.ee. 

Who belonged to the development team? 

In addition to Mare Roosileht, the team of “The Development and Realisation of the Concept of Virumaa Innovation Centre of Digitalisation and Green Technologies” consisted of research scientist Vladimir Kuts, professor Tauno Otto and professor Fjodor Sergejev (Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering), Senior Research Scientist Alar Kuusik (Thomas Johann Seebeck Department of Electronics), professor Allan Niidu, PhD student and junior researcher Karle Nutonen, lecturer Sergei Pavlov, Head of the Centre Heiko Põdersalu (Virumaa College), professor Anton Rassõlkin, professor Argo Rosin and professor Toomas Vaimann (Department of Electrical Power Engineering and Mechatronics).

What's next?

The impact of the development work is the most significant in Ida-Viru County, where the oil shale industry is intertwined with the general economic activities of the region. The key investment needs of ViDRIK include the construction of a mini-training facility for process manufacturing, a training facility for hydrogen technologies, infrastructure for energy smart grids and hydrogen technologies, and the completion of a robotics training class for discrete manufacturing. The budget for the investment plans for the next decade is estimated at €20 million, using both EU funds (including JTF) and entrepreneurial finance.

Tallinn University of Technology recognised the most outstanding scientists, research articles, and projects of the past year at a ceremony held on 22 February in celebration of the anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.