Research in Tallinn University has become increasingly international. This is illustrated by an increasing number of international publications and international research projects and by the large percentage of international research and academic staff among the university personnel. 

In 2017, projects financed from international funds made up 36,7% of the university’s total research and development projects budget. 

Throughout the last decade, the university’s international research financing has increased steadily. In 2017, projects financed from international funds made up 36,7% of the university’s total research and development projects budget. 

Tallinn University researchers participate in the work of editors' panels of many reputable science journals, they are valued presenters at academic conferences, public events and media. 

Research networks and EU Framework projects

Tallinn University has participated successfully in the EU Framework Programmes (FP), taking part in four FP5, ten FP6 and fourteen FP7 projects. As of 2018, fourteen Horizon 2020 projects are conducted in Tallinn University, in four of these projects we are the coordinators.

The Institute of International Social Studies coordinates the Horizon 2020 project EXCEPT - Social Exclusion of Youth in Europe: Cumulative Disadvantage, Coping Strategies, Effective Policies and Transfer, the aim of this interdisciplinary and internationally comparative project is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the consequences of youth labour market vulnerability for risks of social exclusion in Europe. The principal investigator of the project is professor Marge Unt.

The Professor for Learning Analytics and Educational Innovation Tobias Ley conducts an European Research Area Chair (ERA-Chair) project “Cross-Border Educational Innovation through Technology-Enhanced Research (CEITER)” .  Latest developments in cognitive and developmental psychology enhanced by the innovations in the ICT sector show a strong potential for scalable applications to flexible and personalized approach to teaching. Current project together with the new ERA Chair holder specifically addresses the move towards implementing formative assessment method in schools, which in practice aims at supporting individual learning and development curve of the learner by evaluating personal progress.

Tallinn University's first European Research Council project "Between the Times”: Embattled Temporalities and Political Imagination in Interwar Europe" begins in June 2018 and is led by School of Humanities Senior Research Fellow Liisi Keedus. Project offers a new, pan-European intellectual history of the political imagination in the interwar period that places the demise of historicism and progressivism – and the emerging anti-teleological visions of time – at the center of some of its most innovative ethical, political and methodological pursuits..

Twinning project "Human rights – mutually raising excellence” will decisively expand the world-class research area of human rights in Europe. Tallinn University Law School will develop research excellence of human rights and become involved in global research and regional dissemination networks through specific activities of an outstanding consortium, where two other partners are premier global academic institutions in the field of human rights – the Danish Institute for Human Rights and Walther Schücking Institute of International Law (Kiel University, Germany). Their rennomee which is a guarantee that Tallinn University Law School will develop capacity to i) become a leader in the Baltic region of participating in state-of-the art research of human and fundamental rights, ii) initiate new research and development project of European magnitude exploring the changing nature of human rights in the contemporary society; iii) build bridges between Estonian/Baltic/Russian human rights research and activist communities. Project is led by School of Governance, Law and Society Professor of Human Rights Law Mart Susi.

Another successful ERA-Chair project application proposed in 2017 is “Cultural Data Analytics”. This Chair is going to be led by three schools - Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School, School of Humanities and School of Digital Technologies. The project is led by Indrek Ibrus until the research fellow is chosen.

University takes part in 22 COST networks.

Additionally Tallinn University is a partner in three core infrastructure projects: Estonian e-Repository and Conservation of Collections (e-varamu), Estonian Environmental Observatory (KKobs) and Natural History Archives and Information Network (NATARC). All three core infrastructures are simultaneously a part of Estonian research infrastructure roadmap. In addition the University takes part of two research infrastructure roadmap consortiums: Infotechnological Mobility Observatory (IMO) and Estonia in the European Social Survey (ESS). The European Social Survey project is also European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) infrastructure roadmap object.

TU Estonian Instutute for Population Studies is leading institution for the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, for which the European Research Infrastructure Consortium SHARE-ERIC was called into action. SHARE-ERIC is also one of the objects for the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) roadmap.

Regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea area

A strong orientation towards the Nordic and Baltic countries has prevailed. 

The university takes part in regional research and development programmes such as Interreg Baltic Sea Region and Interreg Central Baltic and Interreg Estonia-Latvia programme. In addition, university has several bilateral cooperation projects with research institutions throughout the region. University is an active partner in the Bonus programme. In October 2017 university hosted a BONUS project symposium „Science Delivery for Sustainable Use of the Baltic Sea Living Resources“ regarding the Estonian Presidency of the EU Council.

International conferences

Tallinn University is a renowned international centre of competence and has hosted several high-ranking international conferences.

In 2017 Tallinn University hosted a conference "MyData 2017: Advancing human centric personal data“ which was held in cooperation with Aalto University, Open Knowledge and French digital society think tank FIND. In addition, university hosted European Conference on Technology-Enchanced Learning (EC-TEL 2017) and ACCOMPLISH Co-creation and Social Innovation Summit (ACSIS 2017).

In 2017, regarding the Estonian Presidency of the EU Council there were two high scale international conferences: migration conference „The EU in the Global Race for Talents: Challenges and Solutions in Strenghtening the EU’s Competitiveness“ which was led by European Migration Network National contact point for Estonia in cooperation with Ministry of the Interior and European Commission; and conference “Nature-based Solutions: From Innovation to Common-use” which was organised in cooperation with Ministry of the Environment and European Commission. 

Research mobility

During the last ten years, the university has advanced greatly in promoting international mobility. Programmes such as DoRaMobilitasERMOSErasmus and many others support this process.

With the help of the above-mentioned programmes, Tallinn University hosts four DoRa long-term professors, one Mobilitas high-level researcher and one postdoc. In addition, two acknowledged researchers have returned to Estonia using returning researcher grant. 

Cooperation in advancing doctoral studies

Tallinn University develops doctoral studies in close cooperation with several international research networks. 

On the European scale, the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) is one of the key actors in the area, who offers high-level speciality training and organises annual conferences. In addition, TU is a long time participant in trainings organized by the Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA) and a partner in the European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme project PRIDE (Professionals in Doctoral Education), which connects administrative staff dealing with doctoral studies.