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Estonia finalising the EU funded Dora Pluss programme for higher education

The Dora Pluss programme (2016-2023) aimed to improve Estonia’s visibility and attractiveness as a destination for study and research, and to enhance the global competitiveness of the Estonian higher education sector. The programme was implemented with the support of the EU Regional Development Fund with the total budget of EUR 22 million.

"Internationalisation has a lot of components - understanding other people and other countries are some of them. In a small country like Estonia we know that we cannot manage alone," stressed Margus Haidak, Head of the Higher Education, Vocational Education and Training Policy and Lifelong Learning Department.

The programme focused on supporting the study and research mobility of young researchers and Master’s students and also promoting Estonian universities abroad under the "Study in Estonia" national initiative. Over seven years more than 4000 study visits and long-term mobility scholarships were funded through the Dora Plus programme, offering an opportunity to students to study in more than 90 countries in the world.

The programme also helped to make the Estonian higher education sector visible all over the world under the "Study in Estonia" initiative. The number of international students studying in Estonia increased by 50% from 3000 to 5000 since the start of the programme. "Studying abroad provides significant added value to the student's learning journey, broadens the worldview of young people and brings fresh ideas and knowledge to Estonia. However, international students arriving in Estonia make an important contribution to internationalisation at home," commented Carmen Raudsepp, the Head of the Scholarships and Grants Office.

The next programming period will cover priorities such as increased support to universities for internationalisation and doctoral studies, international marketing and institutional cooperation, as well as Erasmus+ and Kristjan Jaak scholarship opportunities. "International cooperation is an everyday part of learning and teaching at a higher education institution - it makes an important contribution to the quality of higher education. When it comes to the development of Estonia's economy and society, it is important that we receive motivated students from all over the world," explained Eero Loonurm, head of the Higher Education International Marketing.

On 13 April 2023, the Estonian Education and Youth Board (HARNO) organised a conference dedicated to the Dora Pluss programme. The event broght together approx. 100 participants representing Estonian universities, the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, the Estonian State Shared Service Centre, and other national stakeholders such as the Estonian Police and the Border Guard Board, the Estonian Research Council, as well as the Erasmus+ and Estonian Education Quality Assurance departments.