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Planning and Running Research and Development Projects (IFI 8109) Drafting research project proposals Peeter Planning and Running Research and Development Projects (IFI 8109) Drafting research project proposals Peeter Normak 1

Plan for 2. 03 1. Reflection to the seminar 2. Structure of research proposals Plan for 2. 03 1. Reflection to the seminar 2. Structure of research proposals 3. Theoretical background, analysis of previous studies. 4. Objective – interpretation of the criteria. 5. Determination of subgoals/research questions/hypotheses. 6. Description of expected outcomes/results, their possible application and follow-up activities (research and/or development). 7. Resources. 8. Schedule and budget. 2

Reflections from the seminar 1. Structure the presentation according to the topics discussed (in Reflections from the seminar 1. Structure the presentation according to the topics discussed (in this case: the problem, objective, expected outcome, necessity, innovativeness, possible applications, …). 2. Focus on few – the most important – aspects only: few will be remembered. 3. Use slides for supporting purposes, not for reading. For overcrowded slides, bring important words/sentences forward. 4. Use graphics where relevant: “picture is worth of 1000 words”. 5. Formulate questions you want to get feedback from the audience. 6. Leave time for discussions/feedback. 3

Drafting a research project – general aspects 1. A project proposal is an indicator Drafting a research project – general aspects 1. A project proposal is an indicator of applicant’s understanding of the topic, correctness and accuracy. These are inevitable requirements in science. 2. The length of the text should be as short as possible, but as long as necessary. The text should be readable, with necessary explanation of the main concepts, invoking interest and confidence. Repetitions should be avoided. 3. Appendices can be used for presenting necessary details (tables of statistical data, maps, results of a preliminary analysis etc). 4. The components that will be made public should be especially elaborated – the name/title and summary of the project. 4

About the structure of research proposal 5 About the structure of research proposal 5

The structure – general principles 1. The structure of R&D project proposals is in The structure – general principles 1. The structure of R&D project proposals is in most cases predetermined. Why? 2. The proposals are mostly form based. 3. The text area for each aspect is in the case of web-forms limited. 4. In the case of digital (not web-based) forms the size of text is not limited, but a recommended upper limit is normally given. 5. Should the structure of proposals be not given, then the proposal should have at least the following: • • • All necessary components (next slide) All aspects that will be taken into account in evaluation of the proposals Aspects that is considered as important in the research area. 6

Necessary components of a R&D project proposal* 1. Proposal summary/abstract 2. Problem description 3. Necessary components of a R&D project proposal* 1. Proposal summary/abstract 2. Problem description 3. Theoretical background/historical overview of prior research (what has been done) 4. Objective of the project (can be structured to general objective and specific objectives) 5. Research questions and/or hypotheses 6. Research methodology 7. Work plan 8. Budget 9. References * Proposal can be structured differently, for example 2+3+4+5 = Introduction. 7

Possible additional aspects A research programme / supporting institution may require coverage of some Possible additional aspects A research programme / supporting institution may require coverage of some additional aspects. For example: 1. Prior cooperation with the partners/staff members. 2. Contribution to the development of research area. 3. The importance of the expected results to the Estonian economy and culture. 8

Name/title and summary/abstract 1. Project name should possibly adequately express the content/objective of the Name/title and summary/abstract 1. Project name should possibly adequately express the content/objective of the project. 2. It may be convenient to use also an acronym of the project’s title. Why? 3. Summary normally includes: 1) the objective/aim and subobjectives and/or research questions and/or hypotheses, 2) a brief description of research methods/methodology, 3) a brief description of the expected results. 4. Possible additional aspects: 1) statement of the problem, 2) institutions/people involved, 3) duration … 5. Maximal length of a summary – 1 page. 9

Theoretical background, analysis of previous studies 10 Theoretical background, analysis of previous studies 10

Discussion What is the purpose of theoretical background in research proposals? 11 Discussion What is the purpose of theoretical background in research proposals? 11

The purpose of theoretical background 1. In problem setting: explain the nature of the The purpose of theoretical background 1. In problem setting: explain the nature of the research problem. 2. In analysis of previous studies: demonstrate the applicant's awareness of the work done so far (for not inventing the wheel). 3. In describing the prior research of the applicant: demonstrate the applicant's capability to successfully carry out the research project. 12

Problem description and historical overview of prior research This section should give answers to Problem description and historical overview of prior research This section should give answers to several questions like the following: 1. What problem will be addressed? 2. Why the problem is important to be studied? 3. What has been done previously in studying the problem (literature review)? 4. What are the major gaps in knowledge? 5. Why is it important to fill in these gaps? 6. What you are going to do in filling in the gaps? 7. What theoretical/conceptual framework you are going to base on? 8. What are the possible limitations? 9. . 13

Theoretical background – problem setting Purpose: explain the nature of the research problem Elements: Theoretical background – problem setting Purpose: explain the nature of the research problem Elements: • Identification of research object, defining them as correctly as possible. • Describes evolvement of the research problem, bringing out possible causes of the problems. • Highlights the difficulties / disadvantages / problems arising from the fact that the research problem has not yet been solved. • Highlights preconditions / tools / theories that would make it possible to solve the problem. • In the case of interdisciplinary research, specifies the subject area of the research. 14

Theoretical background – analysis of previous studies Purpose: demonstrate the applicant's awareness of the Theoretical background – analysis of previous studies Purpose: demonstrate the applicant's awareness of the work done so far (for not inventing the wheel). Elements (not all elements should necessarily be present): • Marking the models / frameworks / paradigms / theories / concepts that serve as bases for research done so far. • Highlight the limitations of cited models / frameworks / … • Brief description of the prior research on the problem(s) conducted by other authors (NB! with references), and highlight the problems encountered. • Description of the priority of the research topic. 15

Theoretical background – prior research of the applicant(s) Purpose: demonstrate the applicant's capability to Theoretical background – prior research of the applicant(s) Purpose: demonstrate the applicant's capability to successfully carry out the research project. Elements: • Marking the trends that point to necessity for having in-depth new knowledge in a given problem area. • Brief description (NB! With references) of the relevant research of the applicant and the problems encountered, with highlighting the need for continuing research. • Applicants' participation in the relevant (preferably international) R & D projects and networks, including the involvement of other institutions undertakings. 16

Theoretical background – recommendations 1. Focus strongly on the research problem, avoid discussing loosely Theoretical background – recommendations 1. Focus strongly on the research problem, avoid discussing loosely related aspects. 2. Be honest and do not criticize what has been done previously by others. On the contrary, if possible, highlight the positive (NB! A criticized person may become a reviewer of your project proposal). 3. Discuss only the essential and distinctive uninformative text just annoys (normally very busy) reviewers. 17

Objective – interpretation of the criteria 18 Objective – interpretation of the criteria 18

Interpretation of SMART requirements The general SMART requirements for objectives: 1. Specific – states Interpretation of SMART requirements The general SMART requirements for objectives: 1. Specific – states the exact purpose of the project. 2. Measurable – concrete criteria for measuring progress/outcome. 3. Agreed (Attainable) – stakeholders recognize its importance. 4. Realistic (Relevant) – enough resources are available. 5. Time-bound (timed) – grounding within a time frame. 19

Discussion What does “Research objective should be agreed and relevant” mean? 20 Discussion What does “Research objective should be agreed and relevant” mean? 20

Agreed & Relevant I Agreed as a priority and fixed in strategy documents. The Agreed & Relevant I Agreed as a priority and fixed in strategy documents. The levels pf priority: 1. 2. 3. 4. International (examples – UNESCO, Europe) National Institutional (examples – TLU general areas topics Subdivision’s (faculty/institute) Main documents: 1. 2. 3. Strategies / Development plans Implementation plans Programmes 21

Agreed & Relevant II 1. Deals with critical/important or actual/topical or widely discussed problems. Agreed & Relevant II 1. Deals with critical/important or actual/topical or widely discussed problems. 2. Answers a question/solves a problem posed by an eminent researcher or official or opinion leader. 3. Fills some important gaps in a problem area. 4. Developes a new methodology/approach/model which allows considerably adwance the academic field. Examples: various subjects in natural sciences 22

Determination of research objective – recommendations 1. The research objective should be related to Determination of research objective – recommendations 1. The research objective should be related to researcher’s prior research, a logical consequence of it. 2. The research objective should be realistic in the given context, especially considering the capacity of researchers (should not be too ambitious). 3. The wording of research objectives should be simple, understandable to non-experts in this field. 23

Determination of subgoals/research questions/hypotheses 24 Determination of subgoals/research questions/hypotheses 24

Research questions – general principles 1. Research questions / sub-objectives should be closely correlated Research questions – general principles 1. Research questions / sub-objectives should be closely correlated with the overall objective, that is: • Answering these questions should lead to achievement of the research objective, i. e. they cover all important issues necessary for achievement of the research objective. • Every research question is necessary and reasonable, no research question is superfluous. 2. The SMART requirements are applicable to the research questions / sub-objectives as well; the clarity of formulations is particularly important. 3. Expected results are new and substantial, i. e. not trivial. Examples: e-learning natural sciences history 25

The role of hypotheses in the context of research questions Hypothesis is defined as The role of hypotheses in the context of research questions Hypothesis is defined as a realistic claim truth of which is not correctly proved. Scientific hypotheses are assumed to meet certain additional conditions, such as: 1. The validity of the hypothesis should be testable, i. e. there should exist methods suitable for checking the accuracy of the hypothesis. 2. The answer obtained by checking the hypotheses should be important, ie, clarify the nature of the phenomenon under investigation (for example, to draw conclusions that did not follow from the results of prior research). 3. Answer to a hypothesis should enable to formulate new research problems / open new research directions. 4. The scope of the hypothesis should be reasonably wide, without too many assumptions. Example: 26

Structure of subobjectives, research questions and hypotheses Research questions and hypotheses may be formulated Structure of subobjectives, research questions and hypotheses Research questions and hypotheses may be formulated on the level of sub-objectives as well as on the level of overall objective: Sub-objective Research question 1 Hypothesis 1 Research question 2 Hypothesis 2 … NB! For small-scale research projects, the research questions and hypotheses are normally formulated on the level of overall objective. 27

Determination of research questions/sub-objectives – recommendations 1. The number of sub-objectives and/or research questions Determination of research questions/sub-objectives – recommendations 1. The number of sub-objectives and/or research questions should generally be in the range of 3 -5. 2. Refrain from trivial (obvious) hypothesis and from composite hypotheses (one claim consists in fact two or more hypotheses). 3. Sub-objectives / research questions / hypotheses must be justified and logically related. 4. It is often useful to consider the issue on conceptual/fundamental level formulating the subobjectives or research questions. 28

Research methodology Content: Research Methodology course 29 Research methodology Content: Research Methodology course 29

Examples: research objectives (various subjects) 1. To reveal interactions within the complex set of Examples: research objectives (various subjects) 1. To reveal interactions within the complex set of factors contributing to individual academic and personal development, based on the longitudinal study of the representative sample of Estonian schools and Brazilian-Estonian cross-cultural study of adults with different levels of education, including a sample of adults with no formal education (IUT 33). 2. To define and conceptualize the general competencies that are described in the State Curriculum for Basic Schools and to develop tools for their assessment (Mo. HE target project). 3. To develop signal conversion (including, but not limited by analog-todigital and digital-to-analog converters) and processing ( Fourier, wavelet and other transforms, filtering etc ) algorithms by using of oversampled and modulated representation of signals- for having solutions with significantly reduced number of bits at improved resolution and performance (ETF 8905). 30

Example: objectives of research projects 1. To identify the timing of storminess changes using Example: objectives of research projects 1. To identify the timing of storminess changes using ecological, sedimentary and geo-morphological records and evaluate their effects on the coastal evolution, vegetation and land use in Estonia in the last several millennia. 2. To develop a theoretical basis for various manifestations of stochastic processes and their applications to inter-disciplinary spheres and to generate new ideas to understand stochastic mesoscale dynamics of complex systems. 3. Estimate the total amount of organic carbon buried in sediments of selected small lakes during the Holocene. 4. Assess the extent to which recent human activities have affected organic carbon accumulation over the last 100 years in different landscapes and land use practices. 31

Example (e-learning): objective and subobjectives Objective: to develop an integrated learning process and learning Example (e-learning): objective and subobjectives Objective: to develop an integrated learning process and learning environment design model which would support self-directed learning in distributed e-learning environments, and that makes use of the technical opportunities of Web 2. 0. Subobjectives: 1. The development of a pedagogical pattern language suitable for design and evaluation of e-learning processes and environments, as well as design and evaluation of its analysis and application methods. 2. The development of a pedagogical design model of integrated learning process and learning environment for self-directed individual as well as collaborative learning and teaching processes in distributed e-learning environment. 3. The development of design and application principles as well as prototypes of distributed learning environments derived from the pedagogical design model, their application and evaluation in the learning process. 32

Example (natural sciences): objective and subobjectives Objective: to provide quantitative estimates of functionality and Example (natural sciences): objective and subobjectives Objective: to provide quantitative estimates of functionality and dynamics of the Estonian wetland ecosystems (coastal areas, mires and lake ecosystems) in view of human-induced changes in land-cover/land-use and climate. Subobjectives: 1. Determine the relationships between the changes in direction, frequency and magnitude of extreme storm events and their impacts on the intensity of shore processes and to forecast the trends of coastline development, depending on site-specific exposure to the open sea. 2. Determine the relationships of natural and human-induced processes and their cumulative impact on the evolution of coastal landscape and identify the key factors, which have changed the landscape pattern. 3. Identify the traces of extreme storm events in the past and analyze their impact on the coastal environment. 33

Example (history): objective and research questions Objective: to identify the role of new social, Example (history): objective and research questions Objective: to identify the role of new social, political, religious, cultural and economic institutions in formation of political and economic system in Livonia from the 12 th to the 17 th century. Research questions: 1. What was the role of religious orders in the making of Livonia? In what ways did the networks of religious orders (especially Cistercians and Dominicans) contribute to the integration of Livonia into Western Christianity? 2. What was the role of military orders, in particular of the Teutonic Order, in the making of Livonia? How did the ideas, objects, agents, and technologies circulate inside of the international network of the Teutonic Order? 3. What was the role of commercial and social networks (Hanseatic League, urban guilds, etc) in the making of Livonia? 4. What has been the reception of medieval actors and institutions in modern and contemporary Estonia? 34

Reaching sub-objective through hypotheses Sub-objective: Assess the extent to which recent human activities have Reaching sub-objective through hypotheses Sub-objective: Assess the extent to which recent human activities have affected organic carbon accumulation over the last 100 years in different landscapes and land use practices. Hypothesis 1: Human induced changes in water balance and trophic status of Estonian small lakes have no effect on organic carbon burial rate over the previous periods. Hypothesis 2: Effect of the human impact depends on local land use practices and industrial activity. 35

Example: trivial composite hypothesis Pedagogical pattern language is effective, valid and reliable instrument for Example: trivial composite hypothesis Pedagogical pattern language is effective, valid and reliable instrument for analysing and formalizing e-learning processes, as well for designing learning environments and evaluating their didactical qualities. 36

Smart Specialization (growth areas) for Estonia 1. Information and communications technology (ICT) horizontally via Smart Specialization (growth areas) for Estonia 1. Information and communications technology (ICT) horizontally via other sectors (use of ICT in industry, incl. automation and robotics; cyber security; software development). 2. Health technology and services (biotechnology; e-medicine). 3. More efficient use of resources (materials science and industry; development of the ‘smart house’ concept; food that supports health). http: //www. arengufond. ee/en/smart-specialization/overview/ http: //www. arengufond. ee/wpcontent/uploads/2013/04/Estonia_Smart_Specialisation_Qualitative_Analysi s. pdf 37

Example: general R&D priorities of Tallinn University 1. Development of interdisciplinary international level research Example: general R&D priorities of Tallinn University 1. Development of interdisciplinary international level research groups and development centers, and consequently increasing the share of R&D in the university’s budget. 2. Deploying research-based learning, with the emphasis on internationally competitive doctoral studies. 3. The enrichment of society through knowledge sharing/transfer in different forms. 4. Formation of supportive work environment for increasing and realization of R&D potential. 5. Increasing and diversifying financial instruments for R&D. 38

Example: priority R&D areas of Tallinn University 1. Cultural change: new mechanisms of meaning-making. Example: priority R&D areas of Tallinn University 1. Cultural change: new mechanisms of meaning-making. 2. Changes in education and lifelong learning. 3. An individual's academic and personality development. 4. Digital learning ecosystems. 5. Nano- ja mesosystems in physics and analytical biochemistry. 6. Function and evolution of wetland ecosystems. 7. Methods of natural sciences in archeology. 8. Formation of Livonia in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age. 9. Major demographic trends of Estonian population. 39

Example: priority R&D topics of Tallinn University 1. Change and Adaptation in Estonian society Example: priority R&D topics of Tallinn University 1. Change and Adaptation in Estonian society from Early Modern Ages until the 20 th century. 2. Social change in sociological perspective. 3. Cultures in Estonia (Comparative Approach) 4. The genesis of literary culture in Estonia. 5. Acquisition, teaching, usage and interaction of Estonian, Russian and English languages in Estonia. 6. Learning policy in times of globalization. 40

Example of a strategy Digital Agenda 2020 for Estonia*: Sub-objective: Smarter governance and public Example of a strategy Digital Agenda 2020 for Estonia*: Sub-objective: Smarter governance and public administration Measure 1: Development of better public services by using ICT. Example of an action line (out of 5): The development and implementation of sectoral ICT projects will be supported (joint projects between different sectors and government levels, pilot projects to test and implement innovative solutions and technologies, projects designed to make cultural heritage available to the public etc). * https: //www. mkm. ee/sites/default/files/digital_agenda_2020_estonia_engf. pdf 41

Example of an implementation plan The Implementation Plan of Digital Agenda 2020 for Estonia Example of an implementation plan The Implementation Plan of Digital Agenda 2020 for Estonia for years 2015 -2018 (in Estonian): https: //www. mkm. ee/sites/default/files/infoyk_rak_plaan_012015. xlsx 42

Example of an ICT programme EU Structural Funds measure “Supporting research and development in Example of an ICT programme EU Structural Funds measure “Supporting research and development in ICT”. Objective: to promote excellence in ICT research and development, international cooperation, innovation and increase competitiveness of the Estonian R&D. Example of a project: LEARNMIX, The re-conceptualization of the e. Textbook as aggregations of both professionally developed and user -contributed content accessible through a wide range of devices. 43

Description of expected outcomes/results, their possible application and follow-up activities 44 Description of expected outcomes/results, their possible application and follow-up activities 44

Discussion What are possible applications of the outcomes of a research project? 45 Discussion What are possible applications of the outcomes of a research project? 45

Outcomes and their possible application 1. The expected results are described by nouns, possibly Outcomes and their possible application 1. The expected results are described by nouns, possibly accompanied by appropriate explanations/specification. 2. Application of the research outcome may consist in: • Using the outcome directly for creating new or improve existing artifacts or processes. • Using the outcome indirectly for creating new or improve existing artifacts or processes (Example: LEARNMIX for new e-textbooks). • Composition of outcomes based texts (scientific articles, textbooks, teaching materials etc. ) or courses. • Acquired competence and partnership/collaboration experience (Example: LEARNMIX-based Cloudler). 3. Follow-up activities are described by assumption that the objective of the project will be achieved. 46

Outcomes and their possible application – recommendations 1. Outcomes must be clearly in line Outcomes and their possible application – recommendations 1. Outcomes must be clearly in line with the objectives of the project. 2. It would be good to illustrate application of the results with some earlier success story of your own. 3. Dissemination of the knowledge/experience acquired during the project can also be considered as application of the outcomes. 47

Planning of resources (incl. human resources) 48 Planning of resources (incl. human resources) 48

Planning of resources Purpose: convince the reviewers that necessary resources for successful completion of Planning of resources Purpose: convince the reviewers that necessary resources for successful completion of the project are available and will be used adequately. Elements: • Infrastructure (laboratories, workplaces) • Tools (equipment, software, supplies, . . . ) • Staff (academic staff, graduate students, support staff) NB! Resources include also working hours that the staff members are able to devote to the project (Example: IUT of rectors). NB! Usage of resources must be sustainable (see Lecture 2, slide 27). 49

Workplan The workplan depends directly from the structure/phases of the project and the methodology Workplan The workplan depends directly from the structure/phases of the project and the methodology (the algorithms for solving the research questions) to be used. General observations: • Work distribution does not always correspond to the competences of the team members: technical work is for technical staff. Do not waste the competence of researchers! • Possible synergy with other projects/activities is not always planned. For example, using incoming visits to discuss the project. • Workplan does not always take into account other roles and affiliations of the team members. Example: EV. 50

Planning of resources – recommendations 1. Usage of resources must be effective. For example, Planning of resources – recommendations 1. Usage of resources must be effective. For example, if you plan to buy expensive tools, its sufficient usage must be shown. 2. It is advisable to show that the largest possible proportion of the required resources are already in place (this is a capability indication of the project team). If usage of the resources of some other institution is planned, this should be certified by a written agreement. 3. If the project is a short-term (less than two years), it is advisable to rent the equipment. 51

Schedule and budget 52 Schedule and budget 52

Schedule and budget 1. For long-term projects, schedule is composed normally by years – Schedule and budget 1. For long-term projects, schedule is composed normally by years – first year in more detail, the following years somewhat less detailed. Examples: detail less detail 2. Schedule and budget is normally drawn up after general design of the research. 3. The budget structure is normally predetermined (next slide). 4. The expenditures should be planned even if the budget is formula based and should not be submitted. 53

Budget Often the sponsoring institution determines the structure of the budget. Examples of the Budget Often the sponsoring institution determines the structure of the budget. Examples of the positions: • Salaries • Taxes • Scholarships • Travelling (incl. transport, accommodation, per diems, conf. fees) • Equipment (incl. software, buying or renting, insurance) • Outsourcing • Maintenance costs and/or office expenses • Literature and/or printing costs • … 54

Schedule and budget – recommendations 1. Take into account interfering factors in composing the Schedule and budget – recommendations 1. Take into account interfering factors in composing the schedule – vacations, parental leave, composition of new proposals and reports to other projects etc. 2. The budget should be - at least for the first year – quite detailed. For example, the costs for visiting the conferences adequately estimated. 3. Salaries should be realistic; full-time research staff is preferred. 55

Recommendations - budgeting 1. Add an explanation to the budget. Be as specific as Recommendations - budgeting 1. Add an explanation to the budget. Be as specific as possible. For example, indicate the conferences that you are going to attend. 2. Use the latest/expected rates. Example: income or unemployment insurance tax. 3. For outsourcing services, ask the estimated costs from potential service providers. Example: expensive poll for collecting emp. data. 4. Follow strictly the limitations if there any. Examples: • Upper limit for administrative costs • Requirements for public procurements • Geographical restrictions for purchases 56

Drafting a research project – recommendations 1. For form-based applications, follow strictly the subdivisions Drafting a research project – recommendations 1. For form-based applications, follow strictly the subdivisions of a form – otherwise an important aspect of the proposal may remain unnoticed by a reviewer (was not there where expected). 2. The text should be logical and easy to read (each sentence / paragraph follows from the preceding), and contain necessary definitions). 3. Read the complete text through before submitting/posting, text being in the final format. 4. The final language check should be made by a native speaker. 57

Home assignment 1. Compose a project proposal according to the structure and size limits Home assignment 1. Compose a project proposal according to the structure and size limits given in the file Research_project_form. doc. 2. Prepare a 10 -minutes presentation (those who hve not yet presented). 58

Next class: Wednesday, March 9, at 14. 15 Seminar: Research project proposals 59 Next class: Wednesday, March 9, at 14. 15 Seminar: Research project proposals 59

Example: determination of a research object The current research studies distributed e-learning environments that Example: determination of a research object The current research studies distributed e-learning environments that support self-directed learning in making use of the technical opportunities of Web 2. 0 (allow application interoperable modules for realizing services) on one hand, and are integrated with the study information systems and learning management systems of educational institutions on the other hand. 60

Example: problem description The use of various e-learning tools and methods is becoming widespread Example: problem description The use of various e-learning tools and methods is becoming widespread in formal higher education as well as in continuing education. The available commercial and open-source e-learning tools (including learning management systems Web. CT, Moodle, IVA and VIKO that are widely used in Estonia) share common disadvantages: learners‘ control over design (structure and functionalities) of environment is almost non-existent, access restrictions are rigid (for members of a certain institution only), knowledge artifacts produced in the process of learning are difficult to share, self-directed and community-based learning is poorly supported. These e-learning environments do not support implementation of joint curricula, mobility of learners and teaching staff, and life-long learning after graduation. 61

Example: implication of non-existence of a solution The need for determining the level of Example: implication of non-existence of a solution The need for determining the level of Estonian proficiency level is extensive: knowledge of Estonian – the only official language in Estonia – is included in a large part of job requirements (in the public sector almost exclusively). It concerns a relatively large proportion of the population, because 31, 3% of people living in Estonia are non-Estonians (2011). However, the tools for determining the proficiency level of Estonian are still missing causing in many cases uncertainty in hiring process and incompliance of hired people to job requirements. The tests used currently for measuring the proficiency level of Estonian in the National Examinations and Qualifications Centre are not taking into account the linguistic complexity (lexical richness and morpho-syntactical complexity) of different structural elements of the language. 62

Example: preconditions for advancement of an area New generation of distributed and user-driven Web Example: preconditions for advancement of an area New generation of distributed and user-driven Web 2. 0 services offer new possiblities for the development of learner-centred, rather than institution-centred pedagogical design paradigms, and the consequent development of new generation of distributed e-learning tools. Opening up the learning environments, making knowledge artifacts and learning communities publicly accessible widens the circle of educational content developers (Kikkas, 2004). The development of such e-learning tools presumes that several pedagogical and technological issues – pedagogical framework for the learning environment design, interoperability of distributed e-learning tools, and the evaluation of quality criteria of this software – have to be addressed in an integrated way. 63

Example: specification of subject area The research is interdisciplinary, and belongs topically mainly to Example: specification of subject area The research is interdisciplinary, and belongs topically mainly to the disciplines of educational science and computer science. As the research aims call for further development of pattern analysis methods, semantic metadata practices and combined use of qualitative and quantitative methods, it also intersects somewhat with social sciences and information sciences as well. As the research aims to determine formalised pedagogical patterns, more complex analysis methods that take into account relationships between the elements are needed, such as kernel methods, modelling with specialised Petri nets and application of “soft” ontology analysis methods, together with the corresponding software (see www. kernel-methods. net/software. html). Since these methods are relatively recently developed they are yet not much used in pedagogical studies. 64

Example: indicating a model, and its limitation Current e-learning systems support traditional positivist learning Example: indicating a model, and its limitation Current e-learning systems support traditional positivist learning design models (e. g. Leshin et al. , 1994; Dick & Carey, 1996; Kemp et al. , 1998; Reigeluth, 1999; Britain 2004), presuming that teacher defines uniform learning environment and tools, learning objects and their application practices in the learning activities, and the expected learning outcomes for learners. This model does not sufficiently consider learners‘ initiative, and the development of their selfdirected competences (Candy, 1991; Hiemstra, 1994; Zimmermann, 2000; Järvelä &Volet, 2005), their individualised composition of the learning environment from various tools, and its usage in different learning activities (Fiedler, 2006; Pata & Väljataga, 2007). 65

Example: indicating a trend Intensive research and development has resulted in the creation of Example: indicating a trend Intensive research and development has resulted in the creation of technical specifications for technology-enhanced learning systems (e. g. computer-based testing systems, http: //imsglobal. org/question). However, the development of mutually interoperable e-learning systems is complicated because, in addition to the structure, form and content of re-usable learning objects, also the learning activity patterns in which the objects are used, must be standardised. Thus, while in traditional learning environment the elements and sequences of learning activities can be vaguely described, for the development of e-learning tools and providing interoperability between distributed tools, the elements and the sequence of learning activities must be characterised and formalised more exactly. The fact that there are still no commonly accepted effective formalisation tools for describing pedagogical processes has caused difficulties in evaluating e-learning tools and e-learning courses. 66

Example: description of the applicant’s prior research Our recent studies (see Väljataga et al. Example: description of the applicant’s prior research Our recent studies (see Väljataga et al. , 2013) have indicated that IMS Learning Design (IMS LD 2003) that is de facto standard for describing learning activities does not sufficiently support formalisation of learning activity patterns in distributed environments and needs to be revised. For solving the above mentioned problems, the application of pedagogical pattern language can be a useful approach (de Moura Filho & Derycke 2005; Moody et al. , 2006; Väljataga et al. , 2013), especially if the ecological approach to learning design is used (Normak et al, 2012). Formalised descriptions of pedagogical pattern elements and patterns are also important in the new type of self-directed learning process in which learners and teachers need means for planning how to assemble the distributed tools and flows of learning objects and organise their activities in their learning environments (Pata & Väljataga, 2007). Necessary empirical data are provided by Dippler DLE (digital learning ecosystem) platform and analysed by Multi. P software both developed in the Center for Educational Technology. 67

Example: previous involvement in R&D activities Ilja has been previously working as a usability Example: previous involvement in R&D activities Ilja has been previously working as a usability specialist at the Estonian Information System's Authority where he has been designing new e-services for the Estonian State Portal eesti. ee as well as conducting usability and accessibility evaluation of existing state developed web sites and e-services. He leads the design of an interactive environment Touch the Exchange, used for promotion of international cooperation of Tallinn University. He also coordinates the Technology Assessment working group of ENJECT („European Network for the Joint Evaluation of Connected Health Technology”) COST Action network. 68

Example: expected outcomes 1. A pedagogical pattern language compliant with modern educational research as Example: expected outcomes 1. A pedagogical pattern language compliant with modern educational research as well as its application models in the context of e-learning are developed; 2. Pattern language and its application models are successfully validated in the process of elearning courses; 3. Interoperability of e-learning tools based on different technological platforms is ensured by successful implementation of pedagogical pattern language; 4. The conceptual models and prototypes of distributed e-learning environment based on the principles of Web 2. 0 as well as related methods for designing processes are elaborated. 69

Example: expected outcomes 1. Development of a pedagogical layer to design constraints and affordances Example: expected outcomes 1. Development of a pedagogical layer to design constraints and affordances in a digital learning ecosystem. 2. Development of a user interaction layer that encourages and bridges formal and informal learning interactions. 3. Development of an open, flexible technological platform that bridges diverse learning contexts. 4. Development of a semantic layer that captures, exposes and analyzes co-evolution of meaning in sense-making processes. 70

Example: application of the outcomes The expected results will be applicable in the process Example: application of the outcomes The expected results will be applicable in the process of creation and evaluation of e-learning tools and e-courses, both in Estonia (e. g. in Estonian E-University consortium) and internationally, including in the framework of i. Camp (http: //www. icamp. eu/), PRO-Learn and Kaleidoscope (http: //www. project-kaleidoscope. org/) network cooperation projects. Elearning tools (hereafter referred to as Dippler) that will be developed based on the results of planned research will be free of the problems described in theoretical background section above; Dippler will allow, in addition to social constructivist knowledge building, also the application of principles of self-directed and lifelong learning paradigms; it will let students to manage the knowledge created by them, to individually choose elements of learning environment and to control them throughout their lifelong studies as well as also to create connective knowledge and knowledge networks and to be involved not only in course-based or vocational learning but also in interest-based learning communities. 71

Example: possible follow-up research For further theoretical elaboration of the ecological approach to learning Example: possible follow-up research For further theoretical elaboration of the ecological approach to learning the research group envisions achieving the following follow-up research activities: • Creation of an ontology of affordances for learning tools and services. • Development of a modeling language for describing the steps of learning paths. • Development of methods for creating and applying learning patterns. Moreover, for practical implementation of the results suitable supporting software tools should be developed. For this purpose, support from different funds will be applied for. 72

Example: availability of infrastructure The Institute owns necessary equipment and facilities necessary for the Example: availability of infrastructure The Institute owns necessary equipment and facilities necessary for the field and laboratory work in the proposed project: modern and updated tools for collecting data, including sediment corers and samplers, high accuracy RTKGPS, ground penetrating radar system, engine powered rubber boats equipped with GPS and echo sounder. Custom-built chemistry and analytical laboratories are functional and up-to-date, including analytical scales, drying ovens and furnaces, growth chamber, laser particle sizer, vibratory sieve shaker, low- and high-magnification compound microscopes (incl. polarizing and stereo microscopes), spectrophotometer and software for GIS (Arc. Gis, Map. Info) and numerical analysis (TILIA, Canoco, XLStat. Pro). Rotary cone sample divider, FTIR gas analyzer and freezedryer are our latest purchase to improve analytical quality, repeatability and speed. The report of the recent Estonian research evaluation states that the institute has good laboratory equipment at their disposal, most of which is younger than 5 years. We are also able to access to the modern laboratories and facilities of new two competence centres in Haapsalu and Kohtla. Järve (NE Estonia) where the institute is partner. 73

Example: competence and role of the team members N. N. has achieved his most Example: competence and role of the team members N. N. has achieved his most significant results in representation of semigroups (that is, in automata theory); 15 ISI-articles are published in this area. Quality problems of learning and design of e-learning environments have attracted his attention during recent years. He has coordinated in these topics two target research theme, one Estonian Science Foundation grant and several other projects. Besides of coordination of the whole project, development of methodology for modelling pedagogical patterns by high level Petri nets as well as development of evaluation framework of e-learning tools will be the main tasks in the current project. 74

Example: a detailed work plan for a year Selection of the comprehensive prehistoric and Example: a detailed work plan for a year Selection of the comprehensive prehistoric and later collections most suitable for the research (whole team); preparation of the fieldwork in Lihula (X 1, X 2), iron age mortuary place in Tõnija (X 3, X 4) and in Harjumaa fortified manors (X 1). Lihula is an example of early colonial urban household with a hope to check the interaction between indigenous and foreign habitants and the structure of fronthouse previously unnoticed. Tõnija is an example of single farmstead burial site, sheding light on the demography of the region. Research in Harjumaa has no previous examples, it is the first time to study medieval gentry household. In case of Lihula a thematic summer school will be organised (X 4), focused on geophysical surveys and early urban housing in cooperation with RGK. GPR will be used in Kirumpää, Otepää (X 2) for the next years fieldwork. Communal households will be handled based on earlier fieldwork: different activity areas inside Bronze Age Asva ringfort will be studied (X 3). … 75

Example: less detailed work plan 2008: Mapping learning environments and activity patterns that are Example: less detailed work plan 2008: Mapping learning environments and activity patterns that are planned and used by self-directed learners in an augmented learning environment. 2009: Development of the framework that contains teaching principles, as well as examples of learning environments and activity patterns together examples of their adaptation and dissemination. 2010: Evaluation of the framework for supporting and analysing selfdirected learning in augmented learning environment 76

Example: planning of a conference visit M. Laanpere will participate on ECER (European Conference Example: planning of a conference visit M. Laanpere will participate on ECER (European Conference of Educational Research, 19 -21. 09. 2007) conference in Belgium. This is one of the biggest and most significant conferences on educational research in Europe that has a separate section devoted to open learning. ECER conference offers good opportunities for dissemination of the results of the project, for establishing cooperation with similar initiatives in Europe for collecting empirical data in other countries (for 2007 conference program, see www. ecer 2007. ugent. be). Expences: conference fee - 400, tickets - 460, hotel - 320, per diems - 160. 77

Example: acronyms 1. Learn. Mix – The re-conceptualization of the e-Textbook as aggregations of Example: acronyms 1. Learn. Mix – The re-conceptualization of the e-Textbook as aggregations of both professionally developed and user-contributed content accessible through a wide range of devices. 2. CALLCORP: Computer-Assisted Language Learning Services based on Estonian Interlanguage Corpus. 3. Learning Layers – Scaling up Technologies for Informal Learning in SME Clusters (http: //learning-layers. eu/). 4. Serious Games Network (SEGAN, http: //seriousgamesnet. eu/). 5. Serious Games for Situated Learning of Vehicular Languages Addressing Work Needs (Si. Lang, http: //si-lang. net). 78

Example 1: Summary The goal of the project is to develop an integrated learning Example 1: Summary The goal of the project is to develop an integrated learning process and learning environment design model which would support self-directed learning in distributed e-learning environments, and that makes use of the technical opportunities of Web 2. 0. Due to the nature of the goals of the study the methodological approach originates from the designbased research: intertwined development of learning environments and learning design theories; repeated and spiral cycles of design, development based on analysis and evaluation; development of learning design theories that support practical applications, authentic design. Secondly, the principles of action research will be used. The research will consist of three cycles: 1) Development of a pedagogical pattern language; 2) Development of design principles of integrated learning environment and learning process; 3) Development of application models and prototypes of a distributed e‑learning environment. 79

Example 2: A more detailed summary The main goal of the project is to Example 2: A more detailed summary The main goal of the project is to develop a theoretical framework for planning, supporting and analysing selfdirected learning in augmented learning environment. An augmented learning environment consists of an integration of a real and of a virtual learning environments where the real scene is submerged with additional information in order to enhance the perception of the user. Subgoals of the project are: 1) Mapping learning environments and activity patterns that are planned and used by self-directed learners in an augmented learning environment; 2) Development the framework that contains teaching principles, as well as examples of learning environments and activity patterns together examples of their adaptation and dissemination; 3) Evaluate the framework. The following research questions are formulated: 1) How learners understand apply pedagogical allowances of augmented learning environments and how they plan self-directed learning activity patterns? 2) What are effective activity patterns that take into account pedagogical affordances of augmented learning environments? 3) What are the mechanisms in transferring activity patterns into augmented learning environments? 4) What properties of activity system influence the competences of learners for performing self-directed learning in augmented learning environments? The project will be implemented in the framework of design research. The following main research methods are used: 1) Focus group study with the aim to filter out the self-directed learning patterns used by teachers in augmented learning environments, and the elements of learning environments that are related to these patterns; 2) Based on empirical data collected, evaluation of existing learning environments and activity patterns; 3) Transformation and dissemination of activity patterns in different augmented learning environments; 4) Development and evaluation of the framework. The results of the project can first of all be used in designing e-learning environments and e-courses as well as in evaluation of their quality, that on Estonian (for example, by Estonian e-university consortium) and international level (for example, in the framework of projects of i. Camp, PRO-Learn and Kaleidoscope networks). 80

Example 3: Summary Regime changes in natural disturbance, such as storm, drought and fire, Example 3: Summary Regime changes in natural disturbance, such as storm, drought and fire, affect greatly resilience and stability of natural and anthropogenic environments. In the Baltic Sea region the recent increase in strong storms has impacted the coastal landforms and vegetation severely; however, the local variability of the impacts of the cyclonic regime shifts on the coast is still not well recorded and understood in the region. The main objective of this project is to identify the timing of storminess changes using ecological, sedimentary and geomorphological records and evaluate their effects on the coastal evolution, vegetation and land use in Estonia in the last several millennia. The central hypothesis is that the shifts of cyclonic regimes coincide with shifts of stable states in both ecological systems and ridge-dune fields along the coast. The expected outcomes are invaluable for both the advances in basic science and plans for sustainable management of the coastal zone of Estonia. 81

Example: prior cooperation The PI of the proposed project is participating in international projects Example: prior cooperation The PI of the proposed project is participating in international projects (Huntley, Gaillard), for which his models of vegetation reconstructions are used, as in the proposed project. His approaches have helped develop modeling further in palaeoecology and have been adopted and applied in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa to make worldwide comparison of vegetation and land cover changes possible. A long-term collaboration with Osawa uses permanent plots in Estonia, including the study areas of the proposed project, to help assess environmental effects on forest stand dynamics in the arctic/semi-arctic regions. This study is directly linked to the vegetation dynamics projects at the institute. The institute has always been an active partner of International Geographical Union, and has supported the Estonian Geographical Society through which the Estonian Geographical Studies has been published. The institute is also a partner of Oil Shale Competence Center as expert on environmental issues in most human influenced region in North-East Estonia. 82

Example: contribution to the research area 1. The proposed research is important for both Example: contribution to the research area 1. The proposed research is important for both horizontal and traditional vertical stratification research as it approaches the life course in multidimensional way in the context of deep structural and institutional changes. 2. Combining a longitudinal and multi-level approach is a unique feature of this project. The study will be carried out on three levels: macro, meso and micro in order to address the interaction between macro-structures, national policies, institutions and individuals, in dynamic perspective. 3. Methodologically we plan to use mixed methods combining quantitative and qualitative approaches. 4. The project brings into a synergetic whole different research fields. It has multidisciplinary character as the participating specialists are from different disciplines: sociology and educational sciences. 83

Example: importance to the economy and culture We can evidence a shift from a Example: importance to the economy and culture We can evidence a shift from a purely educational and computer science related problems into global ones with the advent of Web 2. 0. For example, the Gartner Group (http: //www. gartner. com/) has called the virtualisation of working platforms and integration of solutions via the introduction of social software global mega-trends which radically change future business models. Education should give increasing support to post-industrial business models; this implies that an employee should have experience in compiling his/her working environment out of distributed tools, even in challenging and changing conditions. Thus the target groups of the project will include developers of e-learning tools and environments as well as developers of other kinds of online communities that involve knowledge building. The new Dippler platform will have good prospects to become even more international than IVA virtual learning environment and attract significantly increased number of users. 84

Example: after an language check by a native speaker The artefact can be, for Example: after an language check by a native speaker The artefact can be, for instance, learning software or even a pedagogical achievement. With reference to the Design-Based Research Collective (The Design-based Research Collective, 2003), Kelly (2006) specified that the concept of an “artefact” need not be “concrete” such as a computer program. It might describe aspects of activity structures, institutions, scaffolds and curricula, but it is something that can be eventually adopted, adapted and used by others (Kelly, 2006). Kelly defined two types of artefacts that can be objects of design-based research: process as an artefact, as a result of teaching experiments, where the researcher and the teacher are the same person, and software as an artefact, which is usually concerned with learning environments. The main goal of research that focuses on software as an artefact is not the production of software per se, but rather the exploration of research questions about learning or teaching. 85