Development plan of the Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sci-ences at Estonian University of Life Sciences 2007-2015
Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences (IVMAS) of the Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMÜ) is the only centre in Estonia integrating academic studies and research in the fields of veterinary medicine, animal science and food science. Study, development activities and continuing education are based on research.
Specialities offered by IVMAS cover different aspects of health and welfare of livestock and pets, production and processing chain of animal products and follow generally accepted principle ‘from farm to fork’. Through that, the study, research and development activities are directly affecting human and animal health, also the food quality and safety of the Estonian population.
Activities of IVMAS follow the Development Plan 2007-2015 adopted by the Council of EMÜ.
2. A short overview of the history of the Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences at the Estonian University of Life Sciences
Veterinary education has been given in Tartu since 1848 when Tartu Veterinary School was founded. From 1873 to 1918 its name was Tartu Veterinary Institute. In 1919, the Veterinary Institute was incorporated into the Tartu University as Faculty of Veterinary Medicine where the teaching language was Estonian. In the same year the Faculty of Agriculture at the Tartu University began to provide higher education in animal science in mother tongue. In Estonia, higher education in dairy science was given in the Faculty of Agriculture at the Tartu University since 1930, in meat since it was given in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine since 1937. In 1947, the Estonian Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science (ELVI) – an institution dealing with applied animal research – was established and incorporated in the Academy of Sciences. In 1951 the Estonian Agricultural Academy (EPA) was founded on the basis of the Faculties of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine of the Tartu University. In 1960 Department of Meat and Dairy Technology was incorporated into the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the EPA. In 1994, the Estonian Research Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine and the Faculty of Zootechnics of the Estonian Agricultural University were merged into the Institute of Animal Science − a research and development establishment of the Estonian Agricultural University. The Departments of Veterinary Medicine and Reproductive Biology of the ELVI were merged into the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. In 2005, the Institute of Animal Science, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Estonian Agricultural University and the Estonian Agrobiocentre were merged into the IVMAS of the EMÜ.
3. Present situation
The IVMAS comprises of the following departments: Department of Aquaculture, Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding, Department of Animal Health and Environment, Department of Morphology, Department of Infectious Diseases, Department of Therapy, Department of Food Science and Hygiene, Department of Reproductive Biology and Department of Animal Nutrition and Animal Products Quality. Animal Clinic is attached to the Department of Therapy and Laboratory of Mycobacteriosis to the Department of Infectious Diseases. The Institute also includes the Pharmacy of EMÜ. The faculties of the Institute are located in six different buildings which complicates communication between the units and does not allow getting the most benefit from the synergy expected from their mergence. At present the IVMAS has no experimental farm meeting the contemporary requirements, yet a new modern farm at Märja near Tartu is being projected. Contractual relationships with several agricultural and industrial enterprises enable to arrange study and research at the required level. In 2004, Zoomedicum was opened, in which animal surgeons are being trained in contemporary studying environment at the level corresponding to international requirements.
In academic year 2006/2007, the total number of employees in IVMAS was 205, including 128 lecturers and researchers. The majority of researchers are involved in teaching at all academic levels. 90 persons have a scientific degree (78% of the academic staff).
Curriculum of veterinary medicine was evaluated by the Committee of the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE) in 2004. Due to weaknesses found during the evaluation the training of veterinary surgeons in IVMAS has not been totally accredited by the EAEVE. Due to this, Estonian Higher Education Quality Assessment Council has accredited the curriculum of veterinary medicine conditionally.
Suggestions made by the evaluation committee of the EAEVE for improving the curriculum and study process have been taken into account in recent years. The role of practical training in the fields of clinical veterinary medicine and food hygiene have significantly increased, requiring increase in the number of lecturers.
Accreditation of curricula in aquaculture, meat- and dairy technology and animal science will take place in 2007.
In 2006, expenditure on research and development projects of IVMAS reached to 18 million EEK, which is nearly 50% of the income of the Institute. One third of the expenditure was financed by the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture, a quarter by target financing, about 15% by the grants of Estonian Science Foundation and the projects of the Technology Competence Centre. More than 80% of the research financing was covered by the state budget. The percentage of international projects in total research budget is too small − only 1.5%.
Considering the wide range of international connections, the Institute should be involved in co-operation networks which enable to take part in international research projects.
An uneven level of research in different responsibility areas and consequently unequal funding is another problem. Although in 2006 average research money per an academic employee was about 170,000 EEK, the number of lecturers who does not participate in any research project is quite high.
Thus they have no money for carrying out research. In 2001 to 2005, the departments of veterinary medicine were supplied with new equipment with the support of PHARE projects. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee a high-quality research. Due to the shortage of compe-tent staff, modern laboratory apparatus has been used under capacity.
The equipment of research laboratories of the food- and animal sciences has to be renovated. Establishment of modern laboratory complexes for developing these fields is an important objective of the Institute.
The mission of the Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the EMÜ is to ensure continuous and high-quality academic education and lifelong continuous education, considering contemporary development tendencies and needs of the society; and a high-level research and development activities in the fields of veterinary medicine, animal science and food science.
The Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the EMÜ is an internationally recognised education and research centre, and a competence centre advocating in its responsibility areas the development of Estonia.
- To ensure continuing international recognition of curricula of the Institute.
- To integrate the IVMAS into the international network of higher education establishments and research centres dealing with veterinary medicine, animal and food sciences, as a recognised centre of academic education and research in the Baltic Sea region.
- To ensure the competitiveness of graduates on the international job market through researchbased academic education.
- To provide good working conditions and motivation for successful work of the teaching staff, researchers and academic offspring through competent management, well organised system of study and research, efficient use of finances and internal competitiveness.
- To create a system of lifelong researchbased learning for practicians working in the responsibility areas of the Institute.
- To systemise, unify and develop the Estonian-language terminology in collaboration with state institutions and professional societies.
- To popularise and introduce consistently the research results of the Institute and to assist their application in practice.
7. Development objectives
7.1. Research and development activities
- Planning of research work is based on varied development activities and tight connection between basic and applied research, which enables to apply for financing facilities from different sources in Estonia as well as abroad.
- To use EU research and development programmes for developing the research areas.
- Priority should be given to modernisation of facilities and equipment for research and development activities, ensuring the optimal use of finance, staff, infrastructure and research equipment, and merging the efforts of various small research units.
- In research design two principles should be considered: strengthening of classical research directions that are important from the aspects of stable development of the Institute as a whole and the teaching quality, and elaborating new research directions which consider future demands.
- To develop more intensive and effective interdisciplinary co-operation and collaboration between universities.
- To integrate PhD and MSc students and undergraduates into the work of research groups in order to provide them with necessary practical experiences, knowledge in research planning and arrangement, and high-quality supervision. To motivate students as future academic staff.
- To popularise and introduce publicity with research results and to motivate the research and teaching staff to do that.
- To create tighter connection between researchers and entrepreneurs, and to advocate contractual collaboration in application of research results.
- Studies are based on contemporary research.
- Improving the quality of studying environment is a continuous process.
2.1 To elaborate the infrastructure of the Institute in order to create contemporary working and studying environment both for the teaching staff and students. To guarantee intensive and efficient operation of the lecture-, seminar- and practice rooms.
2.2. Curricula should be attractive, meet contemporary requirements, regard further needs and be accredited.
2.3. In study process modern study methods and all existing technical equipment should be used.
2.4. Quality control system should guarantee continuous analysis and improvement of the curricula and study process.
2.5. To analyse possibilities for starting tuition in English and gradually begin with it.
2.6. To start with postgraduate specialist training in veterinary medicine.
- Teaching staff
3.1 The number and qualification of the teaching staff of the Institute must meet the standards of EAEVE and Estonian higher education.
3.2 Lecturers from abroad and from Estonia, as well as highly qualified practicing specialists from different research areas will be regularly involved in the teaching- and research activities.
3.3. The Institute aims at involving the researchers in teaching at all levels of higher education.
3.4. To create motivation system of the lecturers and researchers.
3.5. To offer systematic in-service education for the teaching staff, to enable once in five years a free semester (sabbatical) for training at other universities.
3.6. To arrange regularly in-service training in the fields of pedagogic, psychology, communication and professional qualification.
- Doctoral study
4.1. PhD study shall guarantee the continuity of academic staff and ensure the need of the society for the specialists with doctoral degree. It is important to improve the quality and efficiency of PhD study so that 75% of the students would defend the PhD thesis. To create prerequisites for completing doctoral studies within nominal time.
4.2. PhD study shall be based on internationalization which includes the increase of mobility and number of foreign post-graduate students, arrangement of doctoral courses, and fulfilment of collaboration projects and involvement of foreign supervisors.
- Postgraduate training and continuing education.
5.1. The Institute shall provide regular high-quality training to veterinary surgeons, specialists of animal science and food processing industries and others who are interested in it.
5.2 Continuing education courses shall be planned in co-operation with state institutions of animal husbandry, veterinary and food institutions, and with professional societies.
5.3 To involve lectors from abroad into continuing education courses.
5.4 To use maximally the opportunities for e-learning.
7.3. Institute and the society
- To follow in tuition and research the main principles of sustainable development, healthy food, welfare and protection of animals, environmental protection; and to develop the corresponding attitudes in students.
- To strengthen co-operation with state institutions, professional societies, producers and graduates, also with the other Estonian higher education institutions, vocational schools and research institutions in order to develop research and advisory activities.
- To participate actively in scientific analysis and solution of issues important to the society, in the fields of veterinary medicine, animal husbandry and food science, and react flexibly and rapidly to national needs.
- To reflect consistently the activities of the Institute in the media, thus advocating development of knowledge-based society and the reputation of such occupations as veterinary surgeon, animal scientists and food technologist.
7.4. International and domestic relationships and integration
- Main principle of the sustainable development of the Institute is its openness − readiness to improve intra-institute and intra-university collaboration, strengthen cooperation with other Estonian higher education institutions, enterprises and partners abroad.
- Participation of the Institute in the activities of EAEVE is important. In order to become an acknowledged part of the European veterinary education system, new possibilities and forms of collaboration shall be found to intensify activities in international networks of co-operation.
- To strengthen co-operation with partner faculties in the Baltic Sea region and develop common curricula which provide the best possible education for the students.
- To use maximally the mobility programmes of researchers and lecturers in order to strengthen co-operation with education institutions and research centres abroad.
- To create favourable conditions for receiving foreign students, researchers and lecturers, and for participation of our researchers and lecturers in the research programmes of top research centres abroad.
- To strengthen collaboration with the Estonian higher education establishments, professional societies and associations, and state institutions.
- To develop relationship with producers and companies operating in the agricultural sector in order to increase the number and volume of contracts made with advisory service, training and development.
- To be actively involved in joint development of infrastructure components both in the scientific environment of The city of Tartu and Estonia.
Approved by University Council 28 June 2007