The Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT) is a project of the European Union Regional Development Fund (2008–2015), based on earlier collaboration in the Research Centre of Culture and Communication of the University of Tartu.

The CECT is made up of the following research groups: Archaeology, Folkloristics, Ethnology, Semiotics, Religious Studies, Cultural Communication Studies, Landscape Studies, and Contemporary Cultural Studies. The CECT depends on transdisciplinary and inter-university (University of Tartu and Tallinn University) cooperation. The leader of the CECT is Valter Lang, Professor of Archaeology at Tartu University; decisions relating to the CECT involve the leaders and representatives of all research groups.

The Centre of Excellence focuses in its research on the inheritance and creativity of cultural practices through the 11 000-year history, from ancient times to nowadays. In cooperation research groups search for connections between viewpoints in different disciplines such as ancient social and cultural systems, folklore heritage, contemporary everyday practices, evolution and translatability of sign systems, landscape and sociological processes, media and life story research, etc.

The Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory contributes to developing the methodological and theoretical levels in cultural research, and the sustainability of cultural research in Estonia. We strive towards significant changes in both the self-understanding of disciplinary fields and in the comprehension of general theoretical models by juxtaposing and comparing data, theories and analytical methods, through the creation of an interdisciplinary environment, the development of cooperation, and by becoming acquainted with other spheres of research.