Ongoing research and innovation projects
COSMOLOCALISM - Design Global, Manufacture Local: Assessing the Practices, Innovation, and Sustainability Potential of an Emerging Mode of Production
Project type: European Research Council (ERC) funded Starting Grant, 2019-2022, total: ca 1 MEUR
Principal Investigator: Prof. Vasileios Kostakis
Short Abstract: COSMOLOCALISM will document, analyze, test, evaluate, and create awareness of an emerging mode of production, based on the confluence of the digital commons (e.g., open knowledge and design) with local manufacturing and automation technologies (from 3D printing and CNC machines to low-tech tools and crafts). This convergence could catalyze the transition to new inclusive and circular production models, such as the “design global, manufacture local” (DGML) model. DGML describes the processes through which design is developed as a global digital commons, whereas the manufacturing takes place locally, through shared infrastructures and with local biophysical conditions in check. DGML seems to form economies of scope that promote sustainability and open innovation while celebrating new ways of cooperation. However, such claims rest on thin conceptual and empirical foundations.COSMOLOCALISM is a pilot-driven investigation of the DGML phenomenon that seeks to understand relevant organizational models, their evolution, and their broader political economy/ecology and policy implications. Through the lens of diverse case studies and participatory action research, the conditions under which the DGML model thrives will be explored.COSMOLOCALISM has three concurrent modules: democratization; innovation; and sustainability. First, DGML governance practices will be studied, patterns will be recognized, and their form, function, cultural values, and structure will be determined. Second, the relevant open innovation ecosystems and their potential to reorient design and manufacturing practices will be examined. Third, selected DGML products will be evaluated from an environmental sustainability perspective, involving both qualitative and quantitative methods. The interdisciplinary nature of COSMOLOCALISM will explore new horizons to substantively improve our understanding of how to create sustainable economies through the commons.
TOOP - The Once-Only Principle Project
Project type: European Commission H2020 funded R&I project, 2017-2020, total: ca 8MEUR
Principal investigator: Prof. Robert Krimmer
Short summary: The “Once-Only” Principle Project (TOOP) is an innovation action which explores and demonstrates the implementation of the “once-only” principle on a cross-border scale with the aim to reduce the administrative burden for businesses and public administrations and contribute to the EU digital single market. The “once-only” principle assumes that businesses should provide any information to public bodies only once, and public organisations should share and reuse any data that already exists in public databases. TOOP aims to explore and demonstrate the “once-only” principle (OOP) on a cross-border pan-European scale by developing a generic federated architecture that is able to connect registries and e-government architectures in different countries. This architecture is tested and refined through pilot projects in three domains: 1) cross-border e-services for business mobility; 2) connected company data; 3) online ship and crew certificates. TOOP pilots are unique in their ambition and scale, involving 60 information systems in 20 EU Member States and associated countries. The overall project coordinator is TTÜ Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance (RND). Next to management, RND is involved in the identification of the barriers related to cross-border data exchange, and impact assessment. TTÜ’s Department of Software Science leads the task of IT architecture development.
TROPICO- Transforming into Open, Innovative and Collaborative Governments
Project type: European Commission funded R&D project, 2017-2021, total: 245000 EUR
Principal investigator: Prof. Tiina Randma-Liiv
Short summary: The TROPICO project aims to comparatively examine how public administrations are transformed to enhance collaboration in policy design and service delivery, advancing the participation of public, private and societal actors. It will analyse collaboration in and by governments, with a special emphasis on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), and its consequences. Assessing the institutional conditions and individual drivers and barriers is crucial for understanding the transformation of governments towards greater collaboration. The state structures and administrative traditions provide different 'starting points' of the public sectors in Europe. Likewise, individual attitudes, skills, and expertise of officials play a decisive role in understanding this transformation. Subsequently, TROPICO will examine collaboration practices within governments (internal) and between public, private and societal actors (external), across a variety of policy sectors. The project will address the actors and means of innovative collaboration, including ICT, and how they are interlinked. Lastly, assessing the effects of collaboration for legitimacy, accountability and government efficiency is essential to provide a comprehensive analysis of the transformation towards open, innovative, and collaborative governments. This multidisciplinary project will follow a truly comparative approach, examining ten countries representing the five administrative traditions in Europe: Nordic (Norway, Denmark), Central and Eastern European (Estonia, Hungary), Continental (Netherlands, Germany), Napoleonic (France, Spain; Belgium (mixed)), and Anglo-Saxon (United Kingdom). The project will combine rigorous quantitative and qualitative research methods. TROPICO puts a strong emphasis on the inclusion of stakeholders and users throughout the project to test and reflect upon the applicability of findings and policy recommendations.
Challenges to state modernization in 21st century Europe: Theoretical developments and future scenarios
Project type: Estonian Research Council funded Institutional Grant, 2014-2019, total: 768000 EUR
Principal investigator: Prof. Wolfgang Drechsler
Short summary: The current research project studies the challenges to the ‘modernization’ of Continental European public administration (PA) systems. We concentrate on several key socio-economic variables that have so far been neglected in PA research on state modernization and PA reforms. We distinguish between ‘broader’ or longer-term institutional drivers – technological change, growing importance of non-Western perspectives on globalization, state, and PA – and more immediate institutional factors – financialization and the financial crisis – that may affect both what is the accepted role for the state and PA in society (‘policy space’) and what are the policy and managerial tools (‘policy capacity’) available for PA in this context. The project pursues both theoretical research on the impact of these variables on state modernization processes and empirical research to provide policy-relevant input to future-oriented strategy- and scenario-building efforts by state institutions in Europe.
BIO-ADDVAL - Analysis of the economic situation and perspective of the Estonia`s bioeconomy and its sectors
Project type: Estonian Research Council funded R&D project, 2018-2021, total: 297000 EUR
Principal investigator: Prof. Erkki Karo
Short summary: The aim of research is to analyse the status and development potential of value chains and the use of bioresources to increase the competitiveness of Estonian bioeconomy by taking into account the principles of sustainable development. The mapping of the current state of Estonian bioeconomy is based on the analysis of six value chains: food and feed; cellulose, paper products, products and constructing from wood; textile and clothes; biofuels and bioenergy; biomaterials, chemicals, pharmacy and plastic products; and ecosystem services in bioeconomy. The applicability of the best available technologies to valorise existing bioresources and to develop scenarios for Estonian bioeconomy will be studied. In pre-selected fields, new business models will be developed, and their environmental and socio-economic impact will be analysed. Companies and public sector decision-makers can use the bioeconomy scenarios and business models in their strategic planning and policy making processes. Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance coordinated the activities of scenario building and policy analysis and recommendations
SOHJOA – Baltic Sea Region transition to eco-friendly autonomous last mile public transportation
Project type: INTERREG funded R&I project, 2017-2020, total: 237000 EUR
Principal investigator: Dr. Ralf-Martin Soe
Short summary: Sohjoa Baltic project aims at promoting the usage of urban public transportation including automated electric minibuses (robot buses) as part of the public transport chain especially for first/last mile trips. Through pilots and demonstrations, the project brings institutionalized knowledge and competence on organizing environmentally friendly and smart autonomous public transport solutions as well as providing guidelines on the organizational setup needed for running such a service in an efficient way. The project seeks to enhance environmentally friendly transport systems in urban areas by increasing capacity of BSR urban transport actors, by working out a joint vision, policy and business recommendations as well as short-, medium-, and long term Action Plan (“Road Map”) on removing existing barriers and facilitating public transport. During the project periood, three pilots (6-9 months) will be conducted in Helsinki, Tallinn and Kongsberg and three demonstrations (1 month) in Vejle, Gdansk and Zemgale.
Coordination instruments at the center of government: opportunities and limitations of temporary task forces
Project type: Estonian Research Council funded Personal Research Grant, 2017-2020, total: 201000 EUR
Principal investigator: Dr. Külli Sarapuu
Short summary: The aim of the research project is to advance the international discussion on public sector coordination from the perspective of CoG capacity to bring about coordination in dealing with complex policy issues. To fulfill this aim, the functioning of CoG in Estonia is studied, the case of temporary inter-ministerial task forces is analyzed, and an in-depth analysis of three thematic task forces dealing with complex horizontal policy issues (digitalization of the health sector, public sector innovation, and higher education and research) is undertaken. The project will contribute both to the international academic and practical policy debates by advancing the theoretical framework for analyzing coordination instruments and the CoG coordination capacity, and by providing detailed lessons on using and managing task forces for public sector practitioners. Keywords: center of government, coordination, task forces, horizontal policies, complex policy issues.
Internet Voting as Additional Channel for Legally Binding Elections: Challenges to Voting Processes Re-engineering
Project type: Estonian Research Council funded Personal Research Grant, 2017-2020, total: 199000 EUR
Principal investigator: Prof. Robert Krimmer
Short summary: With the general decline of voter turnout in established democracies around the world, a number of countries have started to look into adding alternative means of voting, including Internet and postal voting resulting in complex multi-channel elections. However, research into the governance thereof remains limited. The aim of this project is to conduct empirical research into the why such offerings are being undertaken and how they influence and change the voting process and governance thereof, as well as answering the question how the adding/removing of Internet voting and other channels impacts overall costs thereof. To answer these questions an exploratory case study on the basis of an interdisciplinary theoretical framework incl. (1) election administration, (2) business process reengineering and (3) activity-based costing, will be conducted. The novel approach will result in a new understanding how elections with Internet voting are being run and how it affects their costs.
Developments in the Fiscal Governance of European Countries: Impacts of the Crisis and Future Prospects
Project type: Estonian Research Council funded Personal Research Grant, 2016-2019, total: 192000 EUR
Principal investigator: Prof. Ringa Raudla
Short summary: Increased scarcity of budgetary resources and the need to undertake cutbacks are likely to lead to changes in fiscal governance arrangements and public budgeting practices. There are, however, only few studies that have examined how exactly shifts in fiscal governance take place and which factors drive these changes. The proposed project will draw upon and synthesize insights from three different streams of literature – fiscal governance, Europeanization and public financial management reform – in order to explore post-crisis developments in fiscal governance and budgeting practices of European countries. The project will focus on the following questions: Has the crisis brought about more centralized modes of fiscal governance? How have the crisis and shifts in fiscal governance influenced the use of various public management instruments? How have the reforms of fiscal governance at the EU level (e.g. the Fiscal Compact) influenced budgetary decision-making in the member states?
CAP4CITY - Strengthening Governance Capacity for Smart Sustainable Cities
Project type: European Commission funded education innovation project, 2018-2021, total: 96000 EUR
Principal investigator: Prof. Robert Krimmer
Short summary: Smart Sustainable Cities (SSC) represent a progression of how cities apply digital technology to serve their populations, pursue sustainable socio-economic development, and transform themselves. The urban development that leads SSC reguires a growing number of roles and competencies to work together in order to plan, desing, implement and manage the ongiong transformations of the city, enabled by technological innovation. Given the increasing number of competences needed and its interdisciplinary characteristic, the skills for SSC can be built upon areas such as Busines Administration, Information and Communication Technologies, Computer Science, Engineering, Architecture and Urbanism, Urban Planning, Political Science, among others. Although is a concept that has gained great attention in Latin America, there is still a need for improving and developing new teaching and learning tools, as well as new curricula in all levels of education process in the field of SSC.
CATCHAIN - Catching-Up along the global value chain: business models, determinants and policy implications in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Project type: European Commission H2020 funded R&D project, 2018-2022, total: 162000 EUR
Principal investigator: Dr. Tarmo Kalvet
Short summary: Catching-Up along the global value chain: business models, determinants and policy implications in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a project built on a multidisciplinary and multi-sectorial exchange program focused on unravelling the process of Catching-Up from different sectorial perspectives at a country level. It analyses the role of business models (BMs) in entering, learning and upgrading the Global Value Chain (GVC), aiming at recognising the determinants and challenges faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in tackling the process of upgrading in a globalising economy. The outcome of the project will be the definition of policy tools and frameworks to support effective policy-making actions in the implementation of Research and Innovation Smart Specialization Strategy (RIS3), with respect to the new agenda of Europe 2020, mainly for low-income EU countries.
Navigating the Storm: The Challenges of Small States in Europe
Project type: European Commission funded Jean Monnet Network, 2017-2020, total: 21500 EUR
Principal investigator: Dr. Külli Sarapuu
Short summary: The EU, and the international system at large, has entered a new era of unpredictability. The central objectives of the project are in this context: to examine the 'coping strategies' of small states in the current political turmoil, to consolidate and expand the current network of European HEI’s focusing on small state studies, to produce advances in knowledge that will facilitate the development of teaching in small state studies in relation to EU studies and to raise awareness and influence policy and practice on the challenges of small states in Europe. The research will focus on four interlinked research clusters that together engender a new research paradigm within small state studies to address the contemporary challenges of small states in Europe.
Selected prior research and innovation projects
Our research and innovation projects have been previously funded by the European Commission’s Framework Programmes (FP7 and H2020), e.g.:
Open Government Intelligence - Fostering Innovation and Creativity in Europe through Public Administration Modernization towards Supplying and Exploiting Linked Open Statistical Data, 2016-2019 (PI: Prof. Robert Krimmer), see more:
LIPSE - Learning from innovation in Public Sector Environments (LIPSE), 2013-2016 (PI: Prof. Rainer Kattel), see more:
FESSUD - Financialisation, economy, society and sustainable development, 2011-2015 (PI: Prof. Rainer Kattel), see more:
COCOPS - Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future, 2011-2015 (PI: Prof. Tiina Randma-Liiv), see more:
In addition to the EU Framework Programmes, our research has been funded also by ohter International funders, e.g.
- Innovation and the state: How should government finance and implement innovation policy?, Institute of New Economic Thinking research grant, 2014-2015 (PI: Prof. Rainer Kattel)
- Understanding policy change: Financial and fiscal bureaucracy in the Baltic Sea Region, Norway-Estonia Research Cooperation Programme, 2014-2017 (PI: Prof. Ringa Raudla)
In Estonia, our research and development activities have been funded by
- Estonian Research Council – prior ETAG and ETF personal grants and applied research projects on Estonian research and innovation systems carried out in the framework of the RITA programme, see more here
- Ministry of Education and Research – targeted financing, Innovation Policy Monitoring Programme (TIPS) 2011-2015 (), procurements to evaluate the Estonian research and innovatsioon strategies
- Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications – public procurements to assess the innovation and smart specialization dynamics in Estonia
Information on all R&D projects implemented at RND can be found in the Estonian Research Information System.