EBS Expanded Its Doctoral Student Community with Three Junior Research Fellows

junior research fellows
Kaie Koppel, Hira Wajahat Malik, Tiit Aleksejev
Since the autumn, EBS's doctoral programme has been enriched by three versatile junior researchers. Hira Wajahat Malik, Kaie Koppel, and Tiit Aleksejev, representing diverse fields of study, bring uniqueness and diversity to EBS's research work.

Let's introduce these fresh junior researchers in more detail. They also introduce their plans in relation to their doctoral studies at EBS.


Hira Wajahat Malik is a Junior Research Fellow in the Green Economy & CSR Research Department. Hira has more than 10 years of experience working in the sustainability and impact space, with a focus on climate and energy. She has had the opportunity to work with leading international companies across a variety of industries. Hira also brings with her a teaching experience of 5 years where she has taught courses on Business Model Innovation, Product Design, and Sustainability to Masters and Undergraduate students.   

Hira is engaged with training and acceleration support for impact businesses. She is a trainer for ClimateLaunchpad - a global green business ideas competition as well as Impact Forecast - a tool that enables startups to assess the impact of the technology they are building. In addition, she has designed and delivered several acceleration programs focusing on climate tech and femtech in Pakistan (her home country) as well as supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Central & South Asia.  


Hira comments about her research and studies: “My studies focus on sustainable business, particularly how implementing circular economy business models (shifting from a take, make, waste mindset to designing products / services for longevity, resource efficiency and waste minimization) will actually add value (maximize profit and minimize cost) for businesses while having a significant environmental impact. I believe that business can be designed for a triple bottom line impact and that profit can be made while thinking about social and climate impact instead of just ignoring it. What inspires me is the opportunity to look for alternatives that will benefit people and the planet and these alternatives will come from business because there is nothing more innovative than business that creates products and services that people can't live without.” 


Kaie Koppel is a Junior Research Fellow in the faculty of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Kaie Koppel's research areas are social innovation, co-creation, and service design. In her doctoral thesis, she develops a methodology for the design and management of social services in co-creation with networks and communities.  Since 2014, she has been involved in social innovation and public service design as a service designer, facilitator, mentor, and trainer, focusing primarily on human-centered social services. She also collaborates with the Estonian Social Innovation Lab for the applications of her doctoral research. She has a master's degree in semiotics from the University of Tartu and an MBA in international business administration from EBS. She has been researching and teaching semiotics at the University of Tartu and has served as head of research at the Viljandi Academy of Culture. Her creative projects include the environmental documentary "The Measure of Man" and curating the renewal of the permanent exhibition of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum.


I am focusing on the design and management of public social services in co-creation with service networks and communities of care. More simply, I’m interested in how we can provide better care with the resources that we have and do less harm. I’m also interested in enhancing collaboration between people who are reluctant to collaborate or whose collaboration is hindered by formal and informal rules and regulations and mixed hierarchies,” Kaie says about her doctoral studies at EBS.

I’m inspired by the group processes and people who care. It’s so fulfilling to see the group genius emerge in the co-creation process which then gives not just an actionable solution to a problem but is also empowering to all those who participate. With an MA in Semiotics and Theory of Culture, I’m also interested in systemic change, cultural change, and social innovation. With my PhD, I want to develop a framework and tools to support innovation in social care,” she explains her plans. 


Tiit Aleksejev, a Junior Research Fellow of Humanities & Creative, is an historian and author of historical novels. In addition, he has written plays and screenplays. He graduated from the Faculty of History of the University of Tartu and defended his master's degree cum laude there. Tiis has experience in living and working in France and Belgium, his particular interest is the Middle East. 

Tiit talks about his field of expertise: “At EBS, I research the relationship between creativity and artificial intelligence. The title of my research is "Literary Creativity in the Era of Artificial Intelligence: Authorship, Originality, Style". The study focuses on the role of AI in literary content creation and the practical and cultural changes accompanying it. I am a historian by academic background and a writer by profession, and I intend to use both these experiences for my research. In recent years, my work in the Creative Union has been related to protecting and maintaining. I applied to EBS to research and apply topics related to future developments."


Welcome to EBS, Hira, Kaie, and Tiit, and good luck with your doctoral studies!