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Development Plan

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Development Plans 2018–2025

Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences

Development Plan 2018-2025

The Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences is a provider of education and research in the area of veterinary medicine, animal sciences, aquaculture, and food technology.

The Institute offers up-to-date internationally accredited study programmes, including that of veterinary medicine accredited by the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education, which meet the needs of the diverse labour market. The Institute’s chairs and research units/groups undertake research in a wide range of areas and subjects that cover virtually the entire ‘farm-to-table’ food supply chain.

The Institute is located on the campus of the University. Over the past ten years, the Institute’s main building (Zoomedicum) has been largely renovated, including the research and teaching infrastructure as well as the animal clinic.

A veterinary programme taught in English has been launched. The number of foreign students, lecturers, researchers, and visiting students has increased. The Master’s programmes in food technology and animal sciences offer a part-time option in addition to full-time studies.

Since 2017, the academic structure of the Institute consists of seven chairs, each with a defined area of responsibility:

  • Chair of Veterinary Bio- and Population Medicine
  • Chair of Clinical Veterinary Medicine
  • Chair of Food Hygiene and Veterinary Public Health
  • Chair of Food Science and Technology
  • Chair of Animal Breeding and Biotechnology
  • Chair of Animal Nutrition
  • Chair of Aquaculture

The Chair of Clinical Veterinary Medicine comprises the Animal Clinic and the Pharmacy of the University. The Märja Dairy Research Farm operated by Eerika Farm OÜ is used as a teaching and research facility by the students and researchers in relevant areas.

Between 2018 and 2025, more attention will be paid on the personal development of staff members and promoting collaborative action within the University to ensure academic sustainability and professional competitiveness in all areas of responsibility of the Institute.

Infrastructure development priorities involve:

  • completion of the renovation of the Zoomedicum building to create modern workplace environment in compliance with contemporary biosecurity measures;
  • modernization of the research and teaching infrastructure of the Chairs of Food Science and Technology, Food Hygiene, and Aquaculture;
  • relocation of the facilities of the Chair of Animal Nutrition, and the Chair of Animal Breeding and Biotechnology currently located in off-campus premises, to the Zoomedicum

To ensure sustainable development of research and teaching in its areas of responsibility, the Institute will cooperate with other research and development institutions to initiate interdisciplinary project applications and improve relevant infrastructure.


We create and disseminate knowledge and practical skills in the area of veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, aquaculture, and food science for the betterment of animals and humans.


The Institute is a nationally and internationally recognised research and teaching institution providing high-quality education in the areas of veterinary medicine, animal science, aquaculture, and food science.

The staff and students of the Institute are guided by a shared set of values: reliability, openness, creativity, academic freedom, and preservation of the Estonian language and culture. The Institute strives to provide high-quality scientific research and education, and contribute to sustainable development of the Estonian society.

We are committed to staff and student wellbeing, and continued collaboration with our partners. The Institute recognises and values its staff.

Strategic objectives

The strategic objectives of the Institute are outlined in the development plan under five categories:

  • Research
  • Teaching and learning
  • Staff
  • Public engagement and partnerships
  • Working and learning environment, and


The Institute’s main tasks include providing science-based education, conducting scientific research, and transferring knowledge to society.

The Institute’s expertise in the issues relevant to the entire ‘farm-to-table’ food supply chain as well as our key role in the One Health field, provide incentives for innovation and collaboration. Initiatives include support for establishing partnerships with industry and commercialising discoveries. Research priorities include veterinary aspects of public health, zoonoses, food safety and quality, and human and animal welfare. These topics are of social importance and will contribute to the fulfilment of the objectives of the University related to promoting research into the value chains in bioeconomy.

The Institute seeks to increase the success of its research groups in applying for research grants, and funding for innovation and applied projects. There will also be a strong emphasis on the academic advancement of young scholars, including promoting learning mobility (student exchange).

Teaching and learning

The Institute will offer education that meets international standards, and equips students with knowledge and skills that enable them to make a positive contribution to the society. We will provide students with an up-to-date learning environment. Study programmes will be offered at all three levels of higher education. Flexible part-time programmes in animal sciences and food technology provide an opportunity to pursue a degree alongside a full-time career. Besides the veterinary programme that is currently offered in the English language, programmes in animal sciences and food science taught in English will also be launched.

As the development of practical skills is an essential part of the programmes offered by the Institute, we will improve the University’s practical training facilities and support partnering with industry.

We will take measures to improve the effectiveness of teaching. These include introducing a more efficient organisation of teaching, use of modern teaching methods, improvement of the learning environment, and enhancing curriculum development. Our study programmes will meet the requirements set for international accreditation.


The Institute will ensure that the best staff available are recruited, employed, and retained via democratic decision- making processes. This will rely on the professionalism, motivation and responsibility of the Institute’s leadership.

Heads of the chairs, professors, and senior research fellows will be reputable opinion leaders in their fields. Our human resources policies will support transparency, personal and professional development, and effectiveness. We remain committed to preserving our traditions.

Public engagement and partnership

The Institute will be engaged in public outreach and providing life-long learning opportunities in its areas of expertise. We will organise specialist conferences and other public events. The Institute will work in partnership with government agencies as well as businesses, industry, and other external organisations by carrying out research, delivering scientific advice and risk assessments, and preparing relevant legislation and other documents. We will be committed to working in partnerships to increase societal and economic impact at both local and national level.

The Institute will pay attention to media coverage and participating in social media. Publishing in the Estonian language popular scientific journals will also be considered.

Working environment and infrastructure

The Institute will upgrade its research and teaching infrastructure in light of the international accreditation requirements for study programmes. We will ensure that all biosafety and biosecurity requirements are fulfilled. Laboratories will be made available for joint use to our partners. The chairs currently located off the campus will be relocated to the campus area (Zoomedicum building and Food building).

Goals, objectives and actions until 2025






World-class research.

Improved international standing and competitiveness.

Seek to increase international cooperation:

  • research and innovation;
  • joint publications;
  • patents;
  • foreign postdoctoral researchers;
  • postdoctoral researchers;
  • residents, European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS) Diplomates of the European College;
  • foreign researchers and lecturers.

Number of publications per academic staff member per year. (WoS and Scopus publications counted separately).

Number of patents, postdoctoral researchers, foreign postdoctoral researchers, residents, foreign researchers and lecturers.

Organise international conferences and/or bring conferences to Estonia.

Number of international conferences organised or co-organised by the Institute.

Promote international mobility.

Proportion of foreign researchers in total academic staff.

International mobility of the academic staff.


Bid for international research funding, and engage in international research projects.

Number and financial volume of research projects.

Supporting early career researchers.

Offer postdoctoral positions to promote capacity building of early career researchers.

The total number of young researchers funded.

Increased total revenue per academic staff member.

Develop services based on the Institute’s areas of expertise.

Research revenue per academic staff member.

Introduce the research facilities and resources to other institutes, industry, and businesses as potential partners, to promote relevant cooperation, including:

  • applied research projects;
  • innovation programmes;
  • technology development centres;
  • competence centres;
  • innovation clusters;
  • provision of counselling services and expert advice;
  • patents.

Number of projects.

Research and innovation income (three-year moving average)

Number of interdisciplinary collaborative projects.


Teaching and learning





High-ranking education; high graduate employability.

Internationally recognised provider of education..

Develop and implement a teaching quality control system as an integral part of the education process.

Student satisfaction with programmes. Student feedback on course quality based on the average score in the Study Information System. Employers’ feedback on job performance of graduates.

Develop study programmes; update programme offerings and structure; improve teaching infrastructure (food science and aquaculture).

Student satisfaction with programmes. Student feedback on course quality based on the average score in the Study Information System.

Ensure that traditional teaching approaches are complemented with greater use of modern educational technology.

Student satisfaction with the quality of teaching; Student feedback on course quality based on the average score in the Study Information System.

Provide higher education didactics training for lecturers and researchers.

Number of participants in the trainings.

Establish business partnerships, interact with alumni, and engage practitioners in:

  • programme development
  • teaching
  • refresher training programmes
  • expanding partnerships for practical training placements and developing relevant documentation.

Number of practitioners engaged.

Number of new partnerships for practical training placements.

Number of in-service training programmes.

Optimize teaching load allocation. Involve researchers in teaching.

Academic workloads are allocated fairly and transparently in line with the job description.

Increase the number of residents.

The share of specialists among teaching veterinarians who have undertaken a residency.

Advance clinical training; ensure adoption of needs-based funding.

EAEVE accreditation. Sufficient resource allocation.

Offer veterinary internship programmes.

Number of interns who have undertaken internships.

Improve student satisfaction with the quality of teaching.

Decreased dropout rates after the first year.

Involve students in research.

The number of students graduating with dissertation.

Motivate students to pursue a Master’s degree.

The number of Master’s graduates.

Develop programmes taught in English; ensure the high quality of these programmes.

The share of foreign students among the total number of students, including international guest/visiting students.

Develop modules taught in English (animal welfare, food technology, aquaculture).

Number of modules taught in English.

Increase the number of in-service training/personal development programmes. Provide flexible teaching and learning opportunities (block system, e-learning, evening courses, part-time studies, etc.)

Number of attendees in in-service training programmes.

The effectiveness of doctoral programmes is as high as the university’s average.

Engage in inter-university doctoral schools.

Proportion of PhD students undergoing training in inter- university doctoral schools.

Enhance the effectiveness of doctoral education/training.

The share of PhD students graduating within the standard period of study.

Improve the quality of doctoral supervision.

The share of supervisors engaging in supervisor training.

Increase the number of postdoctoral positions.

Promote the programmes offered by the Institute to high school students.

Organize workshops to high school students and other public audience.

Number of postdoctoral researchers.

Increase in admission competition.

Number of participants.







Development- oriented and motivated staff, sharing common goals.

The heads of the academic subject areas and working groups are internationally renowned lecturers and scholars.

Ensure international competition for major academic staff.

Develop career models and paths; establish a performance-based and development- oriented human resources policy.

Academic posts are filled through open international competition.

All staff engage in professional development.

Regularly participate in refresher and further training programmes/continuous education (courses, conferences, workshops).

The share of academic staff members who have attended training programmes, including personal development abroad.

Update the existing employee reward and recognition system.


Shape new traditions and maintain existing ones (e.g., holding the Baltic Animal Breeding Conference).

Develop and implement a pay structure appropriate to the goals of the Institute.

Average salary levels by occupation/position.

Ensure succession planning.

Offer degree studies abroad to doctoral students in the fields where young talent is

needed the most.

Students admitted to PhD programmes in all subject areas.


Service to society





The Institute is the driving force behind developments in its focus areas. The Institute is committed to making meaningful contributions to societal, economic and cultural issues.

Doing science in the Estonian language.

Develop scientific terminology in the field.

Publication of subject-area glossaries in Estonian.

Disseminate Master’s theses and PhD dissertations to a wider audience.


Developing and publishing teaching materials in Estonian.

Publishing (scientist-to- practitioner) popular science articles and surveys in Estonian.

Dedication to the provision of lifelong learning opportunities.

Organise conferences, information days, workshops, and seminars in subject areas.

Develop collaboration with public agencies and ministries.

Number of seminars, information days, and conferences organised per year.

Participation in work groups, committees, and professional associations; number of applied research projects.

Organise in-service courses for veterinary, animal husbandry, and food industry professionals.

Total number of participants.

Collaboration with industry.

Enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with partners.

Total number of partnerships (industry partners).

Market the Institute to prospective external partners, e.g., by using social media networks.

There are recognised spokespersons and forward- thinking leaders among our partners.

Number of relevant media reports.


Promote the fields and related professions; engage alumni in marketing efforts.



Working environment and physical infrastructure




The organisational structure contributes to the core academic mission of the Institute.


Effective and attractive learning and working environment.

Efficient and functional infrastructure.

Seek to refurbish the Food building, including the teaching and research infrastructure of the Chair of Food Science and Technology; build the food safety training laboratory.

Ensure that the construction works of the extension to the Zoomedicum building will be completed; relocate the teaching and research functions of the Chair of Animal Nutrition to the Zoomedicum building.

Modernize the research and teaching infrastructure of the Chair of Aquaculture.

Upgrade the laboratories of food chromatography and genetics.

Modernise the laboratory of microbiology at the Zoomedicum building.

Renovate the facade of the Wing A of the Zoomedicum building and install a ventilation system.

Build changing rooms for students in the Zoomedicum.

Improve and upgrade the research and teaching facilities of the experimental dairy unit at Märja.

Improve learning and work environment. Ensure improved biosafety and biosecurity measures and safe handling of pharmaceuticals.

Upgraded teaching and research infrastructure.

Optimal academic staff composition.

Realign the academic staff structure to meet the requirements of the subject areas of the Chairs.


SWOT Analysis

1. Strengths

Interdisciplinary integration of teaching and research in the areas of veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, food science, and aquaculture.

2. Weaknesses

2.1. Shortage and uneven distribution of competitive and internationally experienced academic staff across the fields.

2.2. Inadequate working and learning environment and poor indoor climate in some facilities (teaching laboratories, staff break rooms, on-campus eateries, student changing rooms).

2.3. Insufficient marketing of the study programmes offered by the Institute.

3. Opportunities

3.1. The profile of the Institute is in line with the EU’s priorities regarding research and innovation.

3.2. Access to international collaboration partners, the market for education and research, and international funding.

3.3. The unmet demand for veterinary training in Europe offered in English.

3.4. An increasing need for science-based information in both public and private sectors.

3.5. Stable, secure and environmentally sustainable living environment.

4. Threats

4.1. The (national) policy for research and higher education does not support the involvement of private sector resources.

4.2. Insufficient state funding and project-based approach to research and innovation activities.

4.3. A gap in state funding for universities, including clinical training in veterinary medicine.

4.4. The funds required for EAEVE accreditation are not included in the University’s budget.

4.5. The impact of demographic changes on student population, including decrease in the number of enrolments.

4.6. Decreased attractiveness of rural lifestyle and interest in pursuing a career in agriculture.

4.7. University’s mediocre reputation.