About the Institute

Welcome! We are happy to greet you on this webpage.

Estonia, in North-Eastern Europe, is home to the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu. The institute itself is located in the heart of Estonia's second largest town, Tartu, which is home to around one hundred thousand people. The town's long university traditions and academically oriented environment laid the foundation for the strong principles of the Skytte Institute.

The institute’s BA, MA, and PhD programs have been created in order to develop students’ academic competence and personal growth. To achieve this, our international team is focused on knowledge based research, quality education, and active learning. Every day we deal with different societal topics and challenges, but our main focus is on the most important natural resource - people. Professors, lecturers, students, and partners – they are our most valuable asset.

To achieve a better and deeper understanding of society, the Skytte Institute hosts the Center for EU – Russia Studies, the Centre for Applied Social Sciences, and various additional research units where every day we try to understand, give meaning to, and offer solutions to actual problems. Professors, analysts, and students sit down together and attempt to find answers to truly important questions: How can we move forward? Why so and where to?

We value both the process and the result. The destination is important, but it is no more important than the journey itself – what you see, learn and experience. We adapt every day, and we strive to instill in our partners and students an ideology that encourages, supports, and appreciates initiative, as well as the search for solutions and new ways of thinking.

While having the honor to carry the name of Johan Skytte (1577-1645), our institute is pursuing the same values and legacy that this true statesman embodied. During his life, he managed to be the Governor-General, President of the Appeal Court, and Chancellor of two universities while being also the founding father of the University of Tartu. Skytte’s heritage is not just important for our institute but for the whole of Estonia and its neighborhood.


Institute council members:      

  • Kristiina Tõnnisson, Head of Institute
  • Piret Ehin, Professor of Comparative Politics
  • Mihkel Solvak, Associate Professor of Technology Research     
  • Maili Vilson, Deputy Head for Academic Affairs
  • Stefano Braghiroli, Associate Professor of European Studies      
  • Eiki Berg, Professor of International Relations Theory 
  • Vincentius Martinus Franciscus Homburg, Professor of E-governance      
  • Eva Piirimäe, Associate Professor of Political Theory
  • Alar Kilp, Lecturer in Comparative Politics      
  • Heiko Pääbo, Lecturer in Politics of Baltic Sea Region Countries
  • Martin Mölder, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Veiko Sepp, Senior Analyst of Centre for Applied Social Sciences

Student representatives:

  • Riin Selart, BA students      
  • Yurii Kondratyk, MA students      
  • Karl Lembit Laane, PhD students

Institute Council Secretary: Uta Kührt (uta.kuhrt@ut.ee)


Call for Applications: 1st Skytte REPAIR Graduate Conference


New Estonian-French project on disinformation supported by NATO

Democracy and Autocracy in the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood

Join our new MOOC “Democracy and Autocracy in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood”