Research financing must be more transparent

4/24/2003 | 12:00 AM

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TALLINN, 24 April 2003 - The SAO audited the allocation of funds in the Ministry of Education and Research and at research institutions for financing education and research activities from the state budget.

The audit showed that the activity of the Ministry and the Scientific Competence Council in making decisions about financing research topics has not been transparent. This opinion is justified by the fact that research institutions were not fully informed of the decision-making rules. At the same time, the SAO points out that interested parties have always withdrawn themselves from decision-making, thereby avoiding a conflict of interest.

The SAO also observes that research units have not received money on the basis of their actual needs. Considering the profitability of such use of funds, the SAO disapproves that applications were approved only partially, which makes it impossible to ensure regular research activities at research institutions and researchers’ basic salaries. For example, in some cases the allocated sum ensured wages to only one researcher. It is clear that in this case, the whole research project suffers.

The SAO recommended the Ministry of Education and Research cooperate with the Scientific Competence Council to prepare a strategic development plan for targeted financing of research, and improve the targeted financing mechanism, including principles of the state orders for research. The SAO also recommends that the amounts remaining below the minimum rate of research financing should not be approved.

In the interest of transparency, the applicants must be offered explanations on all decisions concerning reduction in funds, or refusal to give money. To date, the Ministry has sent these explanations also to the research and development institutions, but not all institutions have forwarded the explanations to their topic leaders. The Ministry promised to draw the institutions’ attention to the necessity that they should always send the information also to the applicant. The Ministry agreed that information about decisions should reach the institutions in a more effective way, and promised to take steps on its behalf to improve the situation.

The Ministry of Education and Research promised to take into account all the proposals of the SAO.

Sven Soiver
Press Representative of State Audit Office
Telephone: (372) 640 0787
GSM: (372) 53 414464

  • Posted: 4/24/2003 12:00 AM
  • Last Update: 10/2/2015 5:59 PM
  • Last Review: 10/2/2015 5:59 PM

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