The Institute of Baltic Studies (IBS) is an independent, non-profit policy research and development think tank in Estonia that aims at assisting the development of public policy in the Baltic Sea region by providing high-quality socio-economic analysis. Founded in 1996, IBS aims with its activities at contributing to the increase of knowledge and understanding of the development challenges and opportunities facing Estonia in particular and Baltic Sea region in general.

research areas

  1. Economic development

    One of our key areas of study is focused on how companies, regions, states and meta-regions such as Baltic Sea Region or European Union are able to maintain and increase their competitiveness in ever changing world. We study thus the role of innovation & technology, research & science, education and other relevant policies both as single policies, but more importantly as a suitable policy mix for competitiveness of particular entities and places. We also place strong emphasis on researching how entrepreneurship, competitiveness and regional development go hand in hand. We use both traditional statistical and socio-economic research methods together with more novel methods such as foresight, benchmarking, etc.

  2. Policy planning

    Supporting public policy formulation through qualitative economic and political analysis is at the centre of our economic and regional development research. Research projects implemented over the years have been concentrated on assessing the competitiveness of Estonian as well as Baltic economy and its possible development opportunities. Over the years, we have been particularly active in strategic planning, participated in many EU Framework Programme projects, developing innovation strategies in Estonia as well as participated in similar initiatives abroad. An importance is also given to EU cohesion policy and its impact, especially on EU new member states. Impact assessments and evaluations – both ex-ante evaluation and ex-post evaluation – of cohesion policy measures and other programmes on economic and regional development, is particularly interesting for our researchers. Through prospective analysis and policy recommendations we also wish to increase the wider knowledge about actual economic issues in Estonia as well as in the EU and broaden the dialogue for better policy formulation.

  3. Social cohesion

    Institute of Baltic Studies is an established partner for national and regional governments, international organisations as well as to civil society in their activities to grasp better the modern migration processes and socio-economic and cultural challenges that they pose. IBS helps policy makers to map the need to develop a new policy framework or to evaluate the impact of current and past policies in the area of migration and integration. Migration and integration research programme focuses on analysing migration processes, impact of national and regional integration policies and socio-economic situation of immigrant populations in Estonia as well as elsewhere in Europe. Also, through the collection and analysis of data in the field of fundamental rights, IBS assists national and EU institutions in understanding and tackling the challenges that prevent the delivery of fundamental rights in practice.

IBS was founded in order to promote Baltic studies using new opportunities offered by information and communication technologies. In the first years the institute focused on different themes related to development of information society in the region. Several research and development projects were carried out ranging from early e-government initiatives to development of life long learning. With time, the focus of our activities has increasingly shifted to policy support activities, but we continue seeking, in addition to theoretical knowledge, to provide practical inputs for various public and private initiatives.

cooperation and international scope
Over the years, we have carried out research and development projects in cooperation with the government, academia, enterprises as well as third sector organisations from  all over the Europe. Besides projects funded by national, private and third-sector actors, we have also carried out over twenty European Union 5th, 6th and 7th Framework Programme projects, including participation in H2020 projects.

Institute of Baltic Studies belongs to several European and Estonian policy-research networks, including:

  • Estonian national focal point for the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) research network FRANET,
  • Estonian national country coordinator for the European Commission’s Website on Integration (EWSI),
  • member of the Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation (AKÜ), and
  • member the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations (EMSL).

In the annual global think tank rating “Global Go To Think Tank Index Report” by the University of Pennsylvania, Institute of Baltic Studies has been regularly named among the leading Central and East European think-tanks.

IBS has hosted many interns both from Estonia and abroad. If you are motivated student, graduate or individual who has interest in social and political issues, then contact us! More information about the internship can be found here.

See also: The Statutes of the Institute of Baltic Studies