This information is prepared for students interested in applying for the PhD programme in Information Society Technologies at the School of Digital Technologies at Tallinn University.

Admissions

You must check the official admission pages for admission dates. Usually, there are two admission periods, in Summer and Winter.

These are the important dates for the next period of admission: 

  • The current round of admissions for one Junior Research Fellow position the academic year 2023/2024 opens on December 6 
  • The application deadline is December 20
  • The admission interview takes place on January 4
  • Studies start on the 5th of February 2024

Admission process

The admission process involves two parallel processes: the general admission process and the process of finding a research topic and a supervisor. It would be best to start these processes early because both will take some time.  

  1. The Admissions Office deals with the general admission process at Tallinn University:

  1. Finding a research topic and a supervisor is dealt with by the School of Digital Technologies.

  • When you apply for a PhD, you will be required to submit a research proposal endorsed by a potential supervisor. Below you will find information about this process.  

Admission criteria

The admission criteria are:

  • General motivation (10 points)

  • Academic excellence (20 points)

  • Originality and independence (20 points)

  • Communication skills (20 points)

  • Preparedness for doctoral studies (30 points)

Finding a research topic and a supervisor

There are project-based and open research topics:

  • Project-based research topics are well-identified and usually have predefined supervisors.
  • Open research topics relate to the broad research areas within the School of Digital Technologies.

You can find additional information about both kinds of research topics below. Once a topic and a potential supervisor, You can use this template to write your research proposal.

 

Project-based research topics

Project-based research topics are announced yearly. The description of the project-based research topics available for the academic year 2023/2024 are availale below.

To apply with a project-based research topic, you will need to contact the proponent of the topic, your prospective supervisor, to get her or his agreement to go forward with the application.

Usually, the supervisor will ask for your curriculum vitae as well as a motivation letter. Please make sure these emphasize how your previous experience allows you to address the proposed research topic. Usually, there will be several meetings with the proponent before the application is accepted and submitted.

Digital Transformation

Project: Digital Transformation and Life Long Learning

Contact: Peeter Normak (peeter.normak@tlu.ee)

Position: Junior Research Fellow (fluency in Estonian language is required)

Topic: Dynamic alignment of strategic, tactical and operational approaches in the realization of the digital transformation

The inadequacy of the classical hierarchical top-down approach to strategic management has become increasingly clear, where a strategy is created based on the objectives, based on which the projects and activities aimed at the implementation of the strategy are planned. In a context of rapid and sometimes unpredictable change in society, it is essential that objectives, strategies and activities are subject to dynamic, interdependent change. This is particularly important in fast-evolving areas such as IT. The urgency of this issue has become especially evident with the COVID-19 outbreak, forcing companies and organizations to rethink not only their business models and strategies but also their core operating mechanisms. Driven by COVID-19, a large number of studies on the functioning of the institutions have been carried out since 2020. For example, according to Gartner research, in 2019, 78% of employees had their main workplace in the premises of a company/institution, while in 2020, about 70% of employees already worked remotely.

However, there is no known research that would deal with strategic, tactical and operational management of IT in a sufficiently complex way, which takes into account the state of the institution, the development potential resulting from the application of technology and the possible effects of the external environment. For example, version 2.1 of the Business Development Capability Maturity Model, launched in February 2021, is based on a version of the model already developed in 2005 and updated in 2007, which divides organizations into five so-called maturity levels according to the processes described.

At the same time, the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the functioning of companies and institutions offers an excellent opportunity to identify the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful institutions in the new situation and to develop a framework for the successful functioning of the institution. This would allow organizations to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and thus gain a competitive advantage over those who are less able to adapt.

Universities also need expertise in digital transformation, especially in teaching and research and development related to IT management. At present, the number of academic staff in this field at universities is clearly insufficient.

Movement and Computational Creativity

Project: MODINA

Contact: Nuno Correia (nuno@tlu.ee)

Position: Junior Research Fellow

Topic: Movement and Computational Creativity

The aim of the research is to expand the creative possibilities for contemporary dance performances and augment the experience for the audience using digital technology – with an emphasis on exploring artificial intelligence (AI) and audience interaction, on-site and online. This aim has two interconnected approaches. The first approach is to build capacity for dance artists and media artists regarding new digital and AI-based approaches in dance – for preparing, performing, distributing and re-purposing dance works (including online) – by assisting in the design and development of creativity-support tools (CSTs). The second approach is to enable audiences to engage with performances in an augmented way: enhancing the stage context with technology; using audience interaction strategies; through online channels (e.g., VR, Metaverse); or a combination of these. Additionally, the research will explore the applicability of the results from these two approaches to related fields beyond dance (e.g., health, well-being, sports, games, and entertainment).

Open research topics

Open research topics are related to the broad research areas within the School of Digital Technologies:

It is critical that your topic is aligned with existing or planned areas of research. It is, therefore, essential to identify your potential supervisor and to determine your research topic as early as possible.

Usually, the supervisor will ask for your curriculum vitae as well as a motivation letter. Please ensure these emphasize your previous experience and how it allows you to address your topics of interest. Usually, there will be several meetings with the potential supervisor before the application is deemed ready to be submitted.

If you have had no previous contact with possible supervisors, send your curriculum vitae and motivation letter to the head of the curriculum, David Lamas (david.lamas@tlu.ee), so that he can help you identify a prospective supervisor.  

Information on the main topics of interest for this year's intake can be found below:

Learning Analytics

Contact: Danial Hooshyar (danial.hooshyar@tlu.ee)

Position: Doctoral Student or Junior Research Fellow

Topic: Intelligent Learning Analytics Dashboard to Support Middle School Teachers in Teaching Algebra

This research aims to develop a novel learning analytics method (benefiting from state-of-the-art AI techniques) that includes all four steps of learning analytics, namely descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive. The proposed method interprets the internal of the predictive learning analytics models to explain predictions and accordingly translate the predictions into actionable insights. Additionally, it models teachers to provide adaptive recommendations and guidance while using the dashboard. This enables educators to identify, explore, and use appropriate interventions for students.

Affective Computing

Contact: Mati Mõttus (mati.mottus@tlu.ee)

Position: Doctoral Student or Junior Research Fellow

Topic: Affective computing

The usability of daily pragmatic interactions with technology, such as using a phone or computer applications, controlling TV and audio equipment, or making withdrawal on an ATM, is well optimized. Usability evaluation tools often propose benchmarks, and designers take usability as naturally granted when buying a product. Pleasure is not expected to be granted, but it makes the difference when the user has a choice. Optimizing the products for pleasure is a field in HCI that requires further contribution on top of existing research. This vision is not targeting a specific application area, but rather pleasure-enabled interactions in general.