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President of Republic's Academic Council discussed scientific and development activities and innovation policy

President Arnold Rüütel chaired a session of the President of the Republic's Academic Council at Kadriorg today.

The main presentation was made by the Vice-President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences Academician Jüri Engelbrecht, which dealt with Estonia's strategy of scientific and development activities "Knowledge-Based Estonia II (2007-2013)". According to the Academician Engelbrecht Estonia's vision with regards to this issue should be a prospect of becoming a knowledge-based society, where generation of new knowledge, the ability of accepting and implementing of knowledge and skills constitute a significant source for the improvement of the quality of life. In the opinion of the Academician Estonia's principal problem is the deficit of human resources. During the period in question, Engelbrecht finds, the total expenditures on scientific and development activities should increase from 1.5% to 3% of the gross domestic product.

The second report was delivered by the head of Enterprise Estonia (EAS) Mr. Alar Kolk, who reviewed the Estonian innovation policy, gave an overview of the activities of EAS within the respective field, and of the positions of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications regarding the points of departure of the innovation policy for the period of 2007 - 2013. Alar Kolk emphasised the need to increase the awareness and positive attitude of the public sector towards innovation; in order to achieve this it is intended to launch technology monitoring and cluster studies on the basis of the Estonian Development fund, currently in the process of being established, to offer much more detailed information on the Estonian economy and global trends.

After discussions dealing with the report the President of the Republic's Academic Council decided to support the continued development of the balanced science, development and innovation strategy, that values erudition, high-level scientific research and more intensive use of results of this research with a view to creating a sustainable Estonian State and society.

The Council also discussed financing of the national programmes of the Estonian language, folklore and literary studies, as an issue initiated during the session by the director of the Institute of the Estonian Language Mr. Urmas Sutrop, and the Council decided to communicate the relevant positions to the Cultural Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu and the Ministry of Education and Research.

Furthermore, the Council discussed a potential establishment of an oil-shale mine in the Viru county, which is opposed by many locals. Academician Dimitri Kaljo, a geology specialist, provided an overview of the current situation with the issue, and - in brief - stated that the situation is stable. The head of the Environmental Management and Technology Department of the Ministry of the Environment, Mr. Rein Raudsep addressed the issue of environmental impact assessment programmes, which are carried out as a mandatory precondition for initiating any mining activity planning. Juhan Aare gave an overview of the address of the Viru county local government officials to the President of the Republic and the Academic Council.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, September 29, 2005

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