ERA Chair hired

World-leading e-governance expert Robert Krimmer elected as Professor of the University of Tartu.

The senate of the University of Tartu elected Robert Krimmer, one of the most influential e-governance experts in the world, as Professor of E-governance of the University of Tartu. Professor Krimmer will lead the established ERA Chair research group at the university to bring research in the field of e-governance and public e-services to international excellence and foster the development of e-governance in Estonia.

Professor Krimmer’s research is focused on digital transformation, cross-border e-services, electronic participation and democracy, as well as electronic voting, and other issues further developing a digital society. In 2019, Robert Krimmer was mentioned as one of the top 16 academics within the list of 100 most influential experts in the field of digital government.

The research group formed around the professor of e-governance will analyse and develop e governance and public e-services. The group will closely collaborate with the Center of IT Impact Studies (CITIS) of the University of Tartu and, building on the existing IT, social, economic and legal knowledge as well as big data, support the government in shaping next-generation e-services.

Mihkel Solvak, Senior Research Fellow in Technology Research at the University of Tartu and ERA Chair Project Manager, says that Robert Krimmer is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of electronic voting. “His joining the University of Tartu and the new research group will give us the capacity to have a say in the digital transformation of governance in Estonia and Europe,” Solvak said. He pointed out that, for example, by skilfully applying machine learning and artificial intelligence, Estonia could be the first country in the world to work out the next generation of e-services, which are based on user experience and can predict the future needs of users.

At the University of Tartu, Professor Krimmer plans to make use of the vast opportunities provided by the available data about Estonian e-government. “The big data research infrastructure of the University of Tartu allows to produce great insights into the adoption process of e-governance. I consider it very important to continue to study the benefits of the digital transformation of government, while minimizing the associated risks and ensuring security, privacy and equal access,” Professor Krimmer explained his research plans.

The new research group is funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under the European Research Area Chairs (ERA Chair) action. The goal of this action is to create equal conditions for research and innovation in the European research area, bringing outstanding scientists to universities and research institutions with potential for research excellence.

Robert Krimmer

  • has advised a number of international organisations, e.g. the Council of Europe, OSCE, UNESCO, European Commission, WHO, as an expert in matters regarding digital transformation;
  • is an associate editor of the international scientific journal Government Information Quarterly, and an author and/or editor of tens of books and special issues of scientific journals;
  • has lectured at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in Hagenberg, Danube University Krems, and Tallinn University of Technology;
  • has authored about 200 international scientific articles and has been cited over 1300 times.

Robert Krimmer was elected as Professor of E-governance of the University of Tartu from among 31 candidates in an international open competition. All candidates to the position were evaluated pursuant to the bylaws of the University of Tartu and the terms and conditions of the open competition for the e-governance professorship. The seven best candidates were also reviewed by four external experts in the field.

Further information: Mihkel Solvak, UT Senior Research Fellow in Technology Research, ERA Chair Project Manager, +372 5667 0611, mihkel.solvak@ut.ee

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