By 2020, Estonia aims to reach 80% of the EU average productivity level. In many countries of the world, the smart use of natural resources such as minerals, timber and agricultural products has been a significant source of economic growth in a way that provides the highest possible added value. So far, the potential of valorising natural resources has not been sufficiently exploited in Estonia. Valorising natural resources requires large investments and research and development (R&D) activities, which in turn requires a highly qualified workforce for businesses as well as the development of R&D capabilities.

Several studies have pointed out that Estonian R&D institutions do not provide companies with sufficient skills and sufficient support to valorise natural resources. In the interest of the development of the Estonian economy, the development of research fields contributing to the field of valorisation of natural resources must be supported and developed, taking into account the trends and needs of the companies operating in the field. As one of the support measures, the Ministry of Education and Research is planning to launch a resource valorisation program.

The aim of the study is to identify major shortcomings in the capabilities of R&D institutions that hinder the cooperation with companies in valorising resources. On this basis, recommendations should be made to improve the situation. The study focuses on the fields of mineral resources (oil shale, peat, limestone and dolomite), wood and food industries.

In co-operation with Ernst & Young Baltic AS, we map the capabilities and needs of R&D companies in the selected focus areas, identify the scope and level of R&D in the focus areas in Estonian R&D institutions, and map existing co-operation between companies and R&D institutions.