Meet the University of Tartu – partner of the CEESEN-BENDER project

The University of Tartu is Estonia’s leading institution for education and research, and it’s recognized globally for its contributions. Known for its broad expertise in managing European projects and researching energy transitions, the university combines its scholarly achievements with a practical approach towards sustainable development. This approach reflects a commitment to making a meaningful impact on the green transition in the CEE region through collaboration and knowledge exchange with CEESEN.

University of Tartu (UTARTU) is Estonia’s leading center of research, teaching, and training and the oldest university in the region. UTARTU is a multidisciplinary university and it belongs to the top 1% of the world’s best universities (out of 20,000). The University of Tartu belongs to the top 1% of the world’s best universities by ranking 358th in the QS World University Rankings 2022 and within the 201–250 range in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2022.

Experts from the University of Tartu have contributed to several CEESEN projects while leading the CEESEU-DIGIT project and participating as expert in CEESEN-BENDER project.

Developing solutions for tackling energy poverty and renovating Soviet-era buildings

From September 2023 to 2026, the University of Tartu is one of the experts in the EU-funded CEESEN-BENDER project that empowers and supports vulnerable homeowners and renters living in Soviet-era multiapartment buildings in 5 CEE countries: Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Poland, and Romania. The project will help them through the renovation process by identifying the main obstacles and creating trustworthy support services that include homeowners, their associations, and building managers.

In this project, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu will be responsible for coordinating the work package that aims to tackle the barriers hindering buildings-related interventions in vulnerable districts. To do that, partner countries will analyse the building renovation barriers in the regulatory framework as well as barriers of technical and economic aspects in 5 pilot countries as well as in CEE in general. In addition, a survey will be among 400 respondents from Tartu, both from renovated as well as not yet renovated buildings, providing insight regarding energy consumption, energy needs, and behaviours of energy-poor homeowners. 

Also, the University of Tartu will be responsible for designing and testing a digital tool to prioritise buildings for renovations. The tool will use available digital socioeconomic data to generate rankings of buildings that are the least energy-efficient and have occupants most likely to suffer from high levels of energy poverty. Within the project, the digital tool prototype will be created and run using data collected by partners to generate scores for 150 selected buildings across 5 targeted countries. In Estonia, the test will be conducted based on the Annelinn and Karlova areas in Tartu.

Read more about CEESEN-BENDER project >>

In CEESEN-BENDER, the University of Tartu is represented by:

  • Hector Charles Pagan, project manager and head of the international projects team at the Centre for Applied Social Sciences
  • Helena Maripuu, project coordinator
  • Elis Vollmer, expert
  • Mariia Chebotareva, analyst
  • Riin Teugijas, financial manager

University of Tartu has also participated in other CEESEN-related projects (PANEL2050, CEESEU etc) and is currently leading CEESEU-DIGIT project.

Leading a change in green transition

University’s team involved in CEESEN projects has large experience in European project management and conducting research in the energy transition field, with a specific focus on SSH aspects of energy transitions. University of Tartu and, in particular, the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies and the Institute of Social Sciences that are involved in CEESEN projects, have worked closely with Estonian ministries (the Ministry of Communications and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Social Affairs, Environmental Agency, etc.), local authorities and city governments, routinely providing evidence and input for decision-making, initiating creation of new policies and strategies in the field of smart city development and supporting vulnerable groups and civic activity.

In addition, the university maintains close connections with Estonian businesses and the energy industry, unions and associations active in the energy field, local municipalities, as well as with environmental movements and start-ups focusing on energy-transition solutions.

The guidebook “Advocating for the Sustainable Energy in Central and Eastern Europe” published in 2019 has gained good feedback among local and international target groups: NGO activists, researchers, specialists in public institutions, and EU public bodies. The University of Tartu works in close collaboration with the City of Tartu in various fields and supports the City’s development into a healthy and smart city by providing input for research-based decision-making and we bring those experiences to our CEESEN projects’ activities.

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