The Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu is looking for a highly qualified candidate to build a top-level research team capable of conducting cutting-edge research on e-governance as part of the Horizon 2020 ERA Chair in e-Governance and Digital Public Services (ECePS) project.

The recruitment for the ERA Chair position is currently closed. 
The Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu invites applications for a fully-funded PhD POSITION on e-governance and digital public services.   

Application deadline:
 1 June/15 June 2020 for international/local applicants
Duration (nominal study period): September 2020 – August 2024
Funding: A monthly stipend of 1,060€  

You are invited to submit your application along with a research proposal on e-governance and digital public services

The general aim of this PhD dissertation project is to examine the political, social and/or economic impact of e-governance and digital public services. Within this framework, applicants should define and describe a more specific focus – for instance, assessing the quality of existing e-governance solutions and services, analysing user experiences, suggesting improvements to existing services, or providing ideas and, possibly, prototypes, for developing new solutions. The proposed research project has to be broadly related to the objectives and activities of the ERA Chair in E-Governance and Digital Public Services, a 5-year project supported by the European Commission (see: different sections of current homepage). Interested candidates are invited to prepare a research proposal outlining the specific research project they would pursue under this general topic.
Admission requirements, including guidelines for the research proposal can be found here (download PDF) or on Skytte Institute website.

Main supervisor: ERA Chair Professor in E-Governance and Digital Public Services at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies (the position will be filled by September 1, 2020). Co-supervisor: Dr Mihkel Solvak, Senior Researcher at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies


Estonia is an excellent location for developing a high-level research team on e-governance and digital public services.

Estonia is a frontrunner in the digital provision of public services and has one of the highest shares (92 %) of e-government users in Europe (based on EU Digital Scoreboard). Furthermore, X-road, the backbone of e-Estonia, is a digital information infrastructure that securely connects over 900 organisations daily. A well-established X-road infrastructure allows seamless interoperability of all national data registries and online information systems. All citizens have digital ID-cards for secure authorization and authentication, for digital signatures and for using various services. As of August 2019 there were 1 308 666 active ID cards, which have produced 743 271 864 e-signatures over the years and there have been 5 036 500 817 X-Road transactions ( This digital infrastructure (along with skills and habits to use it) provides a unique context for research on big data, related services and behavioural practices. In addition, the Estonian government has recently started to actively develop its open/linked data policy and interoperability of all related information systems and databases.

UT has the modern technological and research infrastructure necessary for e-governance research, including the High-Performance Computing Centre and BigData Research Infrastructure. In 2015, Skytte institute formed the Center of IT Impact Studies (CITIS), which by now has developed into an effective workgroup that is actively participating in EU projects and collaborating with the government and companies developing 2nd generation e-service solutions. In the past 4 years, CITIS has received 795,000 EUR in contracts from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Tax and Customs Board, as well as 150,000 from companies such as Nortal. Additionally, the CITIS team contributes directly to the development of the e-state by creating and testing prototypes for new e-services, based on the cross-usage of existing data. Skytte/CITIS also has a good track record providing technical assistance and consultation on developing good governance to countries such as Ukraine and Georgia – this can be built upon with a stronger e- governance component.

To ensure efficient collaboration inside UT it will be crucial to integrate researchers from other departments relevant for e-governance research into the CITIS structure, including the SoBigData Research Infrastructure, the Institute of Social Studies, the School of Economics and the Faculty of Law as well as UTARTU’s High Performance Computing Centre. A list of available infrastructure and supporting systems can be found on our homepage.

The Skytte Institute is very internationalized, with 48.4% of its research and teaching staff coming from outside Estonia, bringing diverse perspectives on important topics and accounting for an inclusive organizational culture.

Estonia with its fast-developing digital infrastructure and use habits and UT with its modern infrastructure, long-term expertise and involvement in e-governance and digital public services research and development offers a unique and fruitful soil for the ERA Chair development.