The collaboration of the Estonian University of Life Sciences with European universities received recognition 

Foto: Kristina Kurm

The European Commission awarded the European University SUSTAIN-LIFE initiative with a ‘Seal of Excellence’ as a part of Erasmus+ programme. In this initiative, the Estonian University of Life Sciences is one of 12 partner universities in Europe and the world, together with other world-leading life sciences universities.

This award recognizes outstanding project proposals that meet high evaluation standards. It also means this project could not be funded by the EU funding programme due to limited resources. Funding is possible if additional funds are found for the European Universities Initiative.

The goal of the European University SUSTAIN-LIFE initiative is fair, healthy and sustainable agricultural and food systems in Europe and worldwide. 

Climate change, biodiversity loss and population growth, urbanization and unsustainable use of resources have serious consequences. They threaten food security, ecosystems and human and animal health. SUSTAIN-LIFE aims to reduce hunger, preserve the environment and strengthen the rural economy in Europe and worldwide through outstanding research.

Rector of the Estonian University of Life Sciences Ülle Jaakma said that these challenges must be faced more and more often. "This is an opportunity for universities - to collaborate with the public and private sectors to reduce hunger, protect the environment and strengthen rural economies in Europe and around the world through innovative cutting-edge research and the development of higher education. The Estonian University of Life Sciences can make a strong contribution here," said Jaakma.

Changemakers of Tomorrow

However, it is not only outstanding research that is of great importance. Excellent teaching is just as important.

In order to prepare students at the SUSTAIN-LIFE universities for this, the European University wants to focus on challenge-driven teaching. For example, the development of a flexible and personalized study system will be a central component. It should enable students from the partner universities to select courses that match their individual interests and career goals and to gain access to leading research institutions.


The European University SUSTAIN-LIFE initiative has its origins in the European alliance ELLS (Euroleague for Life Sciences). Since 2001, this network of higher education and research institutions has been working together successfully in the fields of natural resource management, agricultural and forestry sciences, life sciences, veterinary sciences, food sciences, and environmental sciences.

Members of this alliance are leading the SUSTAIN-LIFE initiative, coordinated by Wageningen University & Research (WUR). They do this in partnership with the following network associates:

  • Sweden: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Germany: University of Hohenheim
  • Czech Republic: Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
  • France: L’Institut Agro
  • Norway: Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Estonia: Estonian University of Life Sciences
  • Spain: Universidad de Lleida
  • Italy: Università degli Studi della Tuscia

Additionally, there are two associate partners in Austria and Poland – the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna (BOKU) and the Warsaw University of Life Sciences. Also contributing are international academic partners such as Lincoln University in New Zealand, and about 60 non-academic partners including La Coopération Agricole (France); ESN International (Student Association); BonArea Agrupa (Spain); the Estonian society for nature conservation (Estonia); and the Groenpact network (Netherlands).

Further information on SUSTAIN-LIFE is available on LinkedIn.