On Wednesday, 27 September, Katri Raik starts work as the representative of the University of Tartu in Ida-Virumaa. Her main duties will be developing the university’s activities and promoting cooperation with local entrepreneurs in Ida-Viru county.
Ida-Viru county is an economically and strategically important region for Estonia. Its development has so far been centred around the environment-damaging oil shale industry. At a time when ways to reduce CO2 emissions are sought worldwide, Ida-Viru is the region where the greatest efforts are required in Estonia to make the necessary changes.
According to Vice Rector for Development Tõnu Esko, it is important that Estonia’s national university supports Ida-Viru county and Narva in implementing the just transition. “Cooperation with the large industrial companies of Ida-Viru county is a good opportunity for our researchers to put research-intensive solutions into practice, whether it involves producing green hydrogen, separating rare earths, applying digital technology in large-scale industry, or monitoring and analysing societal transition processes. It all will contribute to the smooth transformation of the Ida-Viru economy and labour market. This, however, requires a strong link between the university and the local community and entrepreneurs. Katri Raik's long experience in Ida-Viru county creates good opportunities to bring the University of Tartu’s message to the local people," Esko added.
The representative's task is to prepare a strategy and an action plan to ensure that the university's services and collaborative projects reach the businesses and organisations of Ida-Viru county. Narva College and other university units with the capacity to initiate and implement projects will be involved in planning the activities.
According to Katri Raik, the development of Ida-Viru region is important for the entire Estonia. “It is Estonia's first industrial region and will remain so in the future. In connection with the just transition, now is the unique time when it becomes clear what the future holds for this region. The University of Tartu can make a special contribution to the development of Ida-Viru county and Narva. I will give my best to implement the university’s mission that serves society,” Raik said.
The representative in Ida-Viru county is a member of the UT Rector’s Office and her work is organised by the vice rector for development. Katri Raik’s workplace will be at Narva College of the University of Tartu.
Katri Raik has previously worked at the University of Tartu as the head of the information service and rector's adviser (1991–1999) and the director of Narva College (1999–2007, 2009–2015). In 2017, the university awarded Katri Raik with the Skytte Medal. Raik holds a PhD in history from the University of Tartu.