Estonia has been building up its digital and biotech sectors, according to Trade Secrets, a blog hosted by Nature Biotechnology's Bioentrepreneur.
As the country had few legacy technologies two decades or so ago and little infrastructure, Indrek Vainu at Trade Secrets notes that Estonia was able to jump right into developing new digital systems rather than having to implement ones that fit with analog systems already in place.
On the digital side, Vainu says Estonians have been able to pay for parking from their mobile phones for years and as their medical records are all stored in the cloud — meaning no paper prescriptions are needed at the pharmacy.
As for biotech, Estonia is making waves in genomics, he adds, with its Estonian Genome Center, which currently has samples from 52,000 donors, or about 5 percent of the Estonian population.
"This database will provide valuable information for researchers searching for links between genes, the environment and common diseases such as cancer and diabetes," Vainu says.
Other centers have been popping, including the Estonian Biocenter, the Competence Center for Cancer Research, and Center of Translational and Clinical Research. And, Vainu says, there are an increasing number of academic spinouts cropping up in Tartu and Tallinn.