Prof. Maarja Kruusmaa resigns from her position as Vice Rector for Research on February 13 and the new Vice Rector, senior researcher of the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology Dr. Tiit Lukk, takes office. Maarja Kruusmaa will continue to work at Tallinn University of Technology as a tenured professor.
"I have achieved the main goals I set myself at the beginning of my tenure and I want to devote more time to my research and my research group," she says.
Rector Tiit Land thanks Maarja for her time in the office, especially emphasizing her achievements in improving research quality of the university. “As Vice Rector for Research, Kruusmaa set herself three main goals: to improve the quality of research, to support young researchers and to support researchers' own initiative, especially in applying for research funding.”, he notes.
To achieve the first objective, a new system for evaluating the quality of research publications was developed and linked to the KPIs of the strategic plan. The number of high-quality publications (Q1) per academic researcher has increased by 15% compared to 2020. In addition, 40% of all publications currently belong to the first, Q1 quartile, whereas in 2019 only 25% of publications were classified as such.
New doctoral programmes have been developed and implemented to support young researchers. A grant fund for young researchers and a "Grant Accelerator" training network have been set up to help them apply for grants. The number of doctoral theses defended in TalTech has increased from 55 in 2020 to 74 in 2022.
To achieve the third objective, support services for grant writing have been strengthened. The number of grant applications submitted has increased by 7%, creating favourable conditions for increased research funding during the next financing period of the European Structural Funds. A detailed overview of the results can be found here.
"During my term in office, I have had the opportunity to meet many researchers with interesting ideas and motivation to do outstanding research. We have a good chance of catching up with the research quality of leading European universities if each researcher understands their role and responsibility in achieving this goal," says Prof. Kruusmaa.
Maarja Kruusmaa will continue as the next President of NORDTEK, the network of more than 30 Nordic and Baltic universities. She will also continue as Chief Scientific Advisor to the European Commission.
This article was first published on 30 January by TalTech.