The structure and basis of operation of Estonia’s research and development (R&D) system are established in the Research and Development Organisation Act. The directions for the development of research and development and innovation (RDI) are determined in Estonian Research and Development and Innovation Strategy „Knowledge-based Estonia 2014-2020“.
Research and development is carried out by universities and other public and private sector education and research institutions Additionally, the Estonian Academy of Sciences, as an independent and high level association of researchers, contributes to solving problems related to Estonian research and issues of social and economic development.
The R&D programme design and evaluation is enforced by the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and other ministries too. Under their supervision, the Estonian Research Council funds research, and Enterprise Estonia funds innovation.
The policy makers are the parliament and the government, who are advised by the Research and Development Council. The policies themselves are prepared by and implemented by the ministries. The Ministry of Education and Research is advised by the Research Policy Committee, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is advised by the Innovation Policy Committee.
The government develops research policy, prepares sectoral development plans and coordinates inter-ministerial cooperation. The research council provides technical advice to the government as needed. Parliament approves the overall research strategy, based on the Research and Development Organisation Act, and once a year considers the Prime Minister’s report on the execution of that strategy, as well as the state budget for research.