Estonia

Background

The key document setting out the research strategy in Estonia is the new Estonian Research, Development and Innovation Strategy 2014-2020 (RDI) Knowledge-based Estonia. This document states the research policy objective to be 'updating the pool of knowledge', while the objective for innovation policy is to 'increase the competitiveness of enterprises'.. In 2010, Estonian Research Infrastructure Roadmap approved by Government was published. This strategy document deals with investments of national importance over the next 10 to 20 years.

Other documents that provide a research framework are the National Strategic Reference Framework 2014–2020 and Operational Programmes and National Reform Programme Estonia 2020.

The key transport planning document is the Transport Development Plan 2014-2020. Both documents provide an integrated planning approach for sustainable development of the transport sector.

Institutional framework of transport research

The two central organisations responsible for R&D policy are the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and the Ministry of Education and Research. They are responsible for most research funding streams and horizontal policies. Ministries collaborate with the Research and Development Council, which is an advisory body to the Government and makes the final expert decisions on all major R&D policy documents.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is responsible for formulating national technology and innovation policy, and transport policy. Specific administrative bodies in the Ministry (Civil Aviation Administration, National Road Administration, Railway Inspectorate and Maritime Administration) are responsible for formulating long-term strategies, outlining policy priorities, and planning major investments in the transport sector.

Transport research can be funded in several ways in Estonia. Transport research is mainly financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the administrations under its control, for instance, the Estonian Road Administration. The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Education and Research also provide funding for transport related programmes but on a smaller scale. International funding is provided by the European Union. Public funding is available for both priority research topics for businesses (through the Competence Centres Programme) and for applied research, not differentiating or prioritising specific areas of research. Also, individual research grants are financed by the Estonian Science Foundation in order to support high-level initiative research, new ideas and studies.

For transport research, funding is mostly allocated to projects on infrastructure assessment, which should be considered more as consulting projects and feasibility studies. There are also some national and regional programmes to finance transport-related projects. For example, the Estonian National Road Traffic Safety Programme (2003–2015) aims to increase road safety and decrease fatalities in traffic accidents.

All information about Estonian R&D is available on the Estonian Research Portal, which is the public section of the Estonian Research Information System.

Organisations responsible for the institutional framework and funding:

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

There are several thematic programmes, which fund research on transport related topics. For more detailed descriptions, please follow the links below.