Top researcher grant


What is the objective for the top researcher grant?

In order for Estonia to produce new world-class research groups and provide for the next generation of top researchers, researchers of that calibre already need to be brought to Estonia now to create new groups and supervise young researchers. In order for top researchers to take an interest in coming to Estonia and for their stay here to be effective, favourable conditions need to be created and reliable funding needs to be secured for them in the longer term. In this way, we will be able to compete with other similar international grants and incentivise top researchers to choose Estonia as the location for pursuing their research.

In this respect, cross-sectoral collaboration, including collaboration with the private sector, is particularly welcome. It is also important for the conducted research to have innovation potential (for example, linked to the strategic framework for smart specialisation).

As a result of the activity, Estonian students, specifically doctoral students, will have broader opportunities to work in international research groups, the efficiency of doctoral studies will improve, and the international competitiveness of the relevant sector will grow. The objective is for researchers who have received top researcher grants to be supervising 30 doctoral students.

What is the amount of the grant?

The cap on the grant amount is 150 000 euros per annum, and the grant is provided for a maximum of five years. The final recipient (host institution) of the grant is subject to an own contribution requirement of 17%.

The research grant of a top researcher can include:

Salary of the top researcher, including all state taxes and statutory benefits for full-time work, up to the amount of €80,280 per year;
Salaries of the members of the research group, including all state taxes and statutory benefits;
Travel costs of the top researcher for a return travel to the country of origin once a year (includes flight, train, ferry and bus tickets);
Research expenses (incl. travel expenses) of the top researcher and the research group;
Overhead costs amounting to 15% of direct personnel expenses.

How long is the period of the grant?

The minimum grant period is 36 months and the maximum period is 60 months.

Implementation of the top researcher project should commence within one year after the decision to grant the application, unless a different agreement has been negotiated with good reason. The grant period will commence on the date specified in the grant agreement.

More specific information: Estonian Research Council webpage