Tartu ranked tops in research

  • 2010-08-04
  • By Ella Karapetyan

TALLINN - In the overview of the Essential Science Indicators (ESI) database of the ISI Web of Knowledge published in the beginning of July, the University of Tartu is ranked among the top 1 percent of global research centers in materials science. Similar recognition has previously been won by researchers at Tartu University working in five other research areas.
According to Indrek Ots, head of the Tartu University Office of Research and Development, the fact that the University of Tartu has made it to the top in materials science shows that the university’s long-term efforts in systematic research are starting to pay off.

“In materials science, the top percent includes slightly more than 600 research centers – the total figure for the entire world is at least 60,000,” Ots said. “We’re speaking of a quality label that recognizes the high standard work performed by our materials scientists. This will give them an advantage in applying for research funding.”

According to Alvo Aabloo, professor of polymer materials technology at Tartu University, the time was ripe for the breakthrough in materials science, since opportunities for developing the field have improved considerably. “The availability of funding has increased and more people get the chance to implement their research projects properly,” he said.
Aabloo added that researchers at the University of Tartu have achieved remarkable results in investigating electroactive polymer materials that can, for instance, be used to make artificial muscles.

A new trend at the university is involvement in the research of new materials required for space technology. “In the near future we will start a big European-scale project that focuses on the structure and modeling of certain materials used in nuclear reactors.”

The impact of a research center in the ESI database is assessed by counting the number of articles published by its researchers and the number of citations of those articles. The database is updated on a bimonthly basis.
Previously, the University of Tartu has reached the top one percent of research institutions in chemistry, clinical medicine, animal and plant science, environmental science and ecology and social science.