The objectives of research policy are defined in the Guidelines for Development of Science, Technology and Innovation 2014–2020. Other important documents that establish the framework of research are the Law on Research Activity and the National Reform Programme of Latvia for the Implementation of the 'Europe 2020' strategy.
The Law on Research Activity states that the research priorities have to be identified for a four year period. For the period 2014–2017, the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers has approved five thematic priorities:
- Energy and Environment
- Innovative Materials and Technologies
- Public Health
- Sustainable use of Local Resources
- National Identity.
The Transport development guidelines 2013-2020 outline the economic, institutional and infrastructure development of the national transport system. The key goal is to ensure the coherent development of an efficient transport system. Transport research and consultancy projects conducted for the Ministry of Transport need to follow the directions established by the National Transport Development Programme.
Other important transport policy and planning documents are:
- Guidelines for the Development of Public Transport for 2005–2015
- Programme for Regional Support of the State 2nd Class roads
- Concept on Shipping Policy
- Concept on the Control of Road Traffic
- State Programme for the Development of Latvian Ports for 2005–2010
- State Programme for the Development of Safety of Maritime Services
- National Programme for Road Traffic Safety
- National Development Plan of Latvia for 2014–2020.
Research in the road, maritime, air and rail sectors is usually conducted in the framework of projects that focus on the development of the national transport infrastructure.
The Latvian Cabinet of Ministers is responsible for defining the national Research, Technology Development and Innovation (RTDI) policy, setting evaluation criteria for research projects and scientific institutions, approving priority research areas and state research programmes. The Cabinet is also responsible for defining the control procedure for financial allocations. The legislative framework for R&D is provided by the Parliament, which also decides the overall state budget allocations for research.
At ministerial level, the Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for preparing the national policy on science and technology development. This includes preparing requests for annual budget allocations for research in line with the strategy approved by the government. The ministry is also responsible for coordinating international collaboration programmes. Research policy issues are also addressed by the Ministry of Economics, which is responsible for preparing innovation policies.
The Latvian Council of Science has a coordinating role, which includes delegating representatives from its expert commissions, the Latvian Academy of Sciences, the Latvian Union of Scientists, the Associations of Latvian young scientists and of State research institutes.
As with all research, transport research is funded through the national budget and through the EU Structural Funds for the education and science. Funds are usually available from the private sector for testing and certifying the products.
The Ministry of Education and Science is the central financing institution and is responsible for the allocation of public Research and Development funds. The Ministry also acts as the funding agency for the European Structural funds for research and innovation promotion. The State Education Development Agency administers, implements and monitors projects financed by the EU Structure Funds.
Transport research is also financed from funds available through the Ministry of Economics for innovation research, grants to the entrepreneurs and state support programmes available from the Investment and Development Agency.
Organisations responsible for the institutional framework and funding:
The following thematic programme funds research on transport related topics. For a more detailed description, please follow the link below:
Network - The Latvian Transport Development and Education Association (various projects)