Volli Kalm has been Professor of Applied Geology at the University of Tartu since 1992. During his career at the University of Tartu, he has served as the Head of the Institute of Geology, Dean of the Faculty of Biology and Geography, and Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at the University of Tartu. He has held his current position as the Rector of the University of Tartu since July 2012, and was re-elected 2017.
Outside of academia, Professor Kalm's career includes working as the Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Research Council (2012). He also served for two years (2013–2015) as the President of the non-profit association Universities Estonia. His international experience includes involvement in various committees and task forces, most recently as a member of the Rectors' Advisory Group of the Coimbra Group of Universities (since 2014), and the EUA Expert Group on the RIS3 process for smart specialisation.