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Common ground across the Baltic Sea

Given their close geographical, cultural and historical connections, it makes sense that Finland carries out more research collaboration with Estonia than with any other Baltic country. Researchers and funders on both sides of the Gulf of Finland agree that it is important to maintain and reinforce such partnerships.

Finnish-Estonian research collaboration was very strong until the second world war, says Mart Saarma, an Estonian who has been director of the Centre of Excellence in Molecular and Integrated Neuroscience Research at the University of Helsinki for 20 years.

After that, Soviet rule in the Baltics made collaboration impossible, and almost all connections were lost until about 1964, when Finns were once again allowed to visit Estonia, Saarma says. “Then, in the late 1980s, the picture started to change dramatically as Estonians were able to travel. It was easiest to go to Finland, because we knew something about them and already had contacts.”

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