The Estonian government is to provide annual support of three million euros to finance research and development activities in the field of information and communications technology in the Tallinn University of Technology and the University of Tartu in order to facilitate the creation of innovative and knowledge-based solutions as well as their implementation in as many areas of life as possible.

According to Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps, the new ITC research support measure is a good example of how the state injects additional funds into the development of research areas of strategic importance. "World-class ICT research will benefit the whole of society and result in new innovative products or convenient and secure e-services, for example. Integration of science and education is equally important in order to foster a new generation of scientists and help promising students to reach the top."

The support measure that is to be implemented over five years is part of the IT Academy ( programme established in cooperation with the Estonian government, universities and ICT companies in 2012. The programme activities will be coordinated by the Information Technology Foundation for Education.

According to IT Academy adviser and coordinator of the research measure Indrek Ots, six key ICT areas have been selected to benefit from the measure. "These will be developed under the leadership of and in cooperation with the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology, as they are responsible for providing higher education in ICT in Estonia," Ots said.

These areas are: artificial intelligence and machine learning; data science and big data; human-robot interaction and the Internet of Things in industrial processes; software reliability; the Internet of Smart Things; and hardware and system security and reliability.

The research areas were selected by the IT Academy Steering Committee, which consists of representatives of the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and ICT companies.

The measure is financed from the state budget and will run from 2018-2022.