Process of the Implementation of Knowledge Triangle in Estonia


  • Aksel Kirch Tallinn University of Technology


Knowledge Triangle, Lisbon Strategy on Growth and Jobs, knowledge-based economy, European competitiveness, European innovation scoreboard.


The aim of the article is to highlight a recent development related to the knowledge triangle concept and the effectiveness of actors in education, research, and innovation concerning the Estonian situation of financial and economic crisis. The author of the article analyses the implementation of the Lisbon agenda in Estonia (in 2000-2009) and tries to evaluate Estonia’s perspectives in post-Lisbon strategy (in 2010-2020). The research problem in this article is: implementation of Lisbon strategy (EU-Strategy 2020) in changed financial and economic circumstances.Since 2000, the European Commission has been measuring the innovation performance of countries with the help of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) which is the instrument developed by the European Commission, under the Lisbon strategy, to provide a comparative assessment of the innovation performance of EU Member States annually. Estonia’s innovation performance has been increasing over the past five years in relation to the EU average, taking the lead in the moderate innovators’ group in 2008 and in the Innovation followers’ group in 2009 Estonia is reaching the EU mean level according to summary innovation index and has a relatively high growth rate for its level. However, elaborated analysis shows some relevant problems. According to the prognosis made in the strategy of Knowledge Based Estonia, employment in 2007-2013 in the high technology sector will grow about 19,800 employees, diminishing at the same time employment by the same amount in other sectors. This means that actually there is an acute need for highly qualified specialists (with doctorate degrees) for the Estonian high technology sector. First of all this indicates a need for additional investments in higher educational institutions. In Knowledge Triangle conception two main tendencies of the development are related: innovative rearrangements in economy and in higher educational sphere and, second, the increase of Estonian economic competitiveness. Today in Estonia modernisation of universities is a key element for enhancing competitiveness. At the same time there is some backwardness in higher educational sphere compared with EU neighbour countries. Other aspects of the knowledge triangle concern the creation of new economic mechanisms (concrete business solutions) and a new structure of institutions to carry out a new comprehensive and dynamic innovation model.In the process of globalisation, where Europe will need a new understanding of financial and economic integration concerning all EU member states and their own mission, Estonia must focus on the challenge of small country being more flexible economically and taking a chance in quick rearrangements of the higher education system.

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