Author:
Andero Kalju

Development Projects

International collaboration and development are the key dimensions of the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies activities.

We participate in various educational consortia and international projects aimed at research, teaching, international partnerships, mobility of the students and lecturers, and cooperation between universities and society. The Institute has a variety of international partners among universities and research institutions. The cooperation is based on agreements to foster student and staff mobility, research, and higher education cooperation.

The staff of the Institute is involved in several professional networks, both in the form of institutional and individual membership. Co-operation networks aim to represent the shared interests of their members and to serve as forums for exchanging ideas on matters related to higher education and research.

  • Timeframe: 2023-2024 
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    BEst4ME
  • Funding:  Estonian Centre for International Development (ESTDEV)  
  • Coordinator: Stefano Braghiroli  
  • Partner: University of Tartu (coordinator), Moldova State University

The aim of the Best4ME project is to:

  1. Build teaching competencies and expand the portfolio of innovative learning experiences at Moldovan HEIs to strengthen educational capacity and apply innovative teaching methods in European Studies by university teaching staff;
  2. Enhance students’ knowledge and interest in European Studies to motivate them to specialise and gain knowledge and skills to prepare them for future EU-related careers or public sector jobs, furthering Moldova’s Europeanisation process.

As a result of the project, teaching staff from MSU will benefit from trainings designed to expand the portfolio of modern pedagogical approaches for teaching European Studies and innovative techniques for digital education offered in Moldovan universities. Students of international relations, political science, and public administration in Moldova will have the opportunity to participate in online and in-person specialist courses on topics related to European Studies at UT, attend a study trip to Tallinn to experience EU institutions in action, and apply for a scholarship to conduct an independent MA thesis research project on an EU-related topic with mentorship by UT staff. At the end of the project, the project findings will be disseminated in a strategy report drafted by UT and MSU to relevant stakeholders in Moldova.

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EL
  • Timeframe: 2020-2023
  • Funding: Jean Monnet Module (Erasmus+)
  • Coordinators: Stefano Braghiroli, Anna Beitane
  • Partners: the University of Tartu and partnering experts from Albania, Armenia, Finland, Montenegro and Poland 

The proposed module aims to create new knowledge, tools, and resources related to Europeanization towards the European Union’s Eastern neighbourhood, candidate countries, and - more in general - wider Europe. The context that requires such effort is one in which the ‘expansive’ potential of European integration is increasingly unsettled and challenged by alternative models of regionalism.

This Jean Monnet action is functional to creating and supporting a new “European Union –Russia Studies” module within the framework of the master’s programme in “International relations and regional studies” at the J. Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu. Within the module's framework, emphasis will be given to coherently and synergically integrated innovative teaching methods, bi-directional interactivity, blended learning, and open educational resource (OER) material. The module offers a multi-disciplinary and diverse methodological perspective on the process of European integration, the EU’s relations with its Eastern neighbourhood and Russia and with different alternative models of regionalism in Europe and Eurasia. The offer of in-class and online courses as well as the other activities developed with the framework of the module has been attentively crafted to ensure the best balance of multi-disciplinary and methodological diversity.

Project website

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EU
  • Timeframe: 2022-2025
  • Funding:  Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships
  • Coordinator: Anna Beitane
  • Partner: Istanbul University; the University of Tartu, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore), University of Ljubljana, Istanbul Commerce University, University of Bucharest 

The objective of DD-Tech is to develop a “Digital Diplomacy Module” that enables our students to develop skills to carry out digital diplomacy culture, apply it in innovation processes and improve their technological response/solutions capacities. This project aims to develop a digital-based standard curriculum among European countries within the scope of a Digital Diplomacy course for a future-based education model, the use of digital education and communication tools, training of “future diplomats” who can comprehend the global trends to create joint projects, to increase collective design capabilities, to promote a culture of collaboration.

Project website

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REPAIR: Rejuvenating Democracy in the EU
  • Timeframe: 2023-2026
  • Funding: 100 000 EUR
  • Coordinator: Piret Ehin, Varje Kuut

The Rejuvenating Democracy in the EU (REPAIR) Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence will improve teaching and research in the area of EU Studies by analysing and seeking solutions to a wide range of contemporary challenges to democratic politics and governance in the European Union. This includes citizens’ growing dissatisfaction with the performance of democratic regimes, diminished trust in political institutions, eroding support for democratic principles, low electoral turnout, the rise of populist, extremist and Eurosceptic parties and movements, political polarization and radicalization, party system instability, and growing refusal of various political actors to play by democratic rules and accept the results of democratic elections. Given its geographical location in Tartu, Estonia, the Centre will pay particular attention to developments in the Baltic region and Central and Eastern Europe more broadly; it will also focus on democratic and authoritarian tendencies in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. REPAIR will foster dialogue between the academic world, the public sector, civil society and different levels of education and media by modernizing and expanding EU-focused curricula and courses at the University of Tartu, generating new policy-relevant knowledge about contemporary threats to democracy as well as viable solutions, and launching a comprehensive training program for civics teachers in Estonian schools.

Project website

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Baltics4UA
  • Timeframe: 2023-2025
  • Funding: Cooperation partnerships in higher education (Erasmus+)
  • Coordinators: Fidan Vali, Anna Beitane
  • Partners: Tallinn University; Kaunas Technical University, Web2Learn, University of Latvia, Lviv Polytechnic National University

Since the beginning of the Russian aggression on Ukraine, numerous Ukrainian citizens have been forced to leave their homes in order to seek refuge in safer spaces. According to the United Nations, millions of people have fled their homes since then. Since February 2022, the Baltic states have become a safe haven for Ukrainians. This harsh reality has motivated partners of the Baltics4UA project to engage in social actions for the benefit of Ukrainians in need. There is an urgent need to upskill HE staff and strengthen Baltic HEIs’ capacity building in crisis response. Baltics4UA project stimulates innovative educational practice and staff upskilling at Baltic HEIs through cross-cultural dialogue, citizen engagement, business-academia cooperation.

Baltics4UA project will place emphasis on integrating the values of human dignity, human rights and solidarity in Baltic societies.

Project website

  • Timeframe: 2023-2024
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    Nordplus
  • Funding: Nordplus higher education (development project)
  • Coordinator: Anna Beitane
  • Partners: University of Tartu, University of Helsinki, Uppsala University and Vilnius University

The EnVision network brings together four innovation-oriented universities in the Nordic-Baltic region (University of Tartu, Vilnius University, Uppsala University, and University of Helsinki) with a range of experiences in designing and running Virtual Exchanges (VEs) in order to 1) facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best-practices and 2) co-design VEs course scenarios and produce shared guidelines for implementing VEs. The network will strengthen regional cooperation channels, creating a hub of excellence in innovative digital teaching methods and VEs.

The network addresses the need of social sciences departments to 1) expand the scope of international and intercultural opportunities offered to students to create competitive, inclusive, and diverse study environments and 2) integrate digital competencies and transferrable skills (intercultural communication, critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork) into course curricula to enhance graduate employability.

In order to achieve these goals, the members of the network will execute the following work packages: WP1 project management; WP2 Virtual Exchange Seminars and Scenario Design; WP3 Virtual Exchange Toolkit.

Project website

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Nordplus
  • Timeframe: 2022-2023
  • Funding:  Nordplus (Higher Education)
  • Coordinators: Anna Beitane, Andrey Makarychev, Alexandra Yatsyk 
  • Partners: the University of Helsinki, University of Tartu, University of Latvia, Vilnius University 

The Baltic-Nordic Network for the Advancement of Methodology in Area Studies (BAMSE) promotes state-of-the-art research and education in area studies in the Baltic-Nordic area by concentrating on the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of area studies. The network is a meeting point for ideas and people aiming to reevaluate and advance area studies theories and methodologies. BAMSE is a collaboration of teachers, researchers, students, and stakeholders from various partner institutions.

One of the key activities of the BAMSE is organising an intensive course for advanced bachelor’s students and master’s students in Vilnius (2021), Tartu (2022), and Riga (2023). 

The joint courses highlight area studies' significance and embedded potential in understanding transnational challenges regarding underlying changes in power structures/relations, identity constructions, communication, symbolic politics, and culture.

Project website

  • Timeframe: 2020-2023
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    CEESEU
  • Funding: Horizon 2020 (European Commission)
  • Coordinators: Hector Pagan, Elis Vollmer, Lenard Milich, Hanna Laius, Mariia Chebotareva
  • Partners: University of Tartu and partnering experts from Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia,  Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia

Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, in collaboration with Tartu Regional Energy Agency, is leading the “Central and Eastern European Sustainable Energy Union” (CEESEU) project, funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 program. CEESEU is a 3-year project, ending in 2023.

In the CEESEU project, we are demonstrating the entire strategic process of the green transition for municipal governments, from preparing a climate strategy to acquiring the necessary funds, to evaluating results, by creating examples of at least 60 successful cities in the region.

The main object of CEESEU is to increase the Central and Eastern European municipal governments’ and policymakers’ capabilities of working out sustainable energy and climate action plans (SECAP) and better resilience to climate change, which are important factors in achieving the EU climate goals. Several reasons explain why Central and Eastern European municipal governments are falling behind in developing SECAPs. Some of these reasons may include little knowledge or interest towards the strategic planning process, low municipal capability or lack of access to resources, or little experience in including interest groups effectively.

Additionally, the project supports the strengthening and development of the Central and Eastern European Sustainable Energy Network (CEESEN) to further advance the goals of EU’s climate politics, increase local communities’ energy security, and resilience to climate change. The Network is becoming a successful figure in protecting the Central and Eastern European interests at the EU level, and is helping topical European associations (e.g., Covenant of Mayors) be more mindful of the unique circumstances of Central and Eastern Europe.

Project’s consortium had set the following goals for the project’s duration: 

  • 650 GWh of energy savings
  • Advancing the skills and capability of at least 530 municipality government workers in Central and Eastern European municipalities 
  • Better alignment of national and regional development plans with SECAPs in the CEESEU region and improved national and regional sustainable energy and energy efficiency policies 
  • At least 25 million euros of additional investments to sustainable energy and climate change adaptation  

Though there is still time until the project’s deadline, it is already clear that all aforementioned goals are not only met but surpassed, which speaks volumes about the commitment of the included municipalities. 

Final project results will be introduced at CEESEN’s fall conference in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept 8-9, 2023. 

Project website
ETIS link

REPAIR

Call for Applications: 1st Skytte REPAIR Graduate Conference

Jakub Isański

Open lecture about Ukrainian forced migrants

hackathon2024

DIGI-GREEN HACKATHON: Unleashing Digital Expertise for a Sustainable Tomorrow