The scope of transport research in Spain is determined by the government strategy for research and innovation, and various policy documents that provide the framework for the transport system and policy development.
Legislation on Science, Technology and Innovation passed in May 2011 introduces considerable changes to the organisation of the research system. Currently, the research and development objectives and goals are set out in the National Plan for R&D and Innovation. Two types of strategic plans are foreseen in a multiannual framework:
- State Plan of Technical and Scientific Research
- Spanish Innovation Strategy.
The framework for transport planning and research is initially provided by the Strategic Plan for Infrastructure and Transport for 2005–2020. Further, in line with ongoing European developments, sustainability is becoming increasingly important in transport policy in Spain. The second Energy Saving and Efficiency Strategy Action Plan 2011 – 2020 focuses on several sectors, including transport and specifies measures and targets for each sector.
The main responsibilities for research policy are concentrated in the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. The Ministry is assisted by the General Council of Science and Technology in preparing the National Plan for R&D and Innovation and is responsible for coordination with the regional governments and other agents in the R&D system. The second consultative body to the Ministry is the Advisory Council for Science and Technology Policy, which comprises representatives of the universities and public research organisations.
The new legislation on science, technology and innovation foresees changes to the organisational structure. Scientific & Technology Policy Council and an Advisory Council of Science & Innovation will replace the current General Council of Science & Technology and the Advisory Council of Science & Technology. The Scientific & Technology Policy Council will be responsible for preparing a scientific strategy at the state level and will coordinate R&D and innovation policies at national and regional level.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transport is responsible for preparing and implementing government policy on transport.
Transport research is funded under the general research framework in Spain and through international and European funding opportunities.
At public level, two funding agencies are foreseen: the present Centre for Industrial Technological Development and a new State Research Agency. Currently, the Technological Industrial Development Centre channels funding and supports applications for national and international R&D and innovation projects made by Spanish companies. At the request of the scientific community, the State Research Agency will be created to run the science system with autonomy, efficiency, transparency and accountability of the research results. The new agency should also improve coordination between public and private agents and to establish stable, flexible and when needed, multiannual funding mechanisms.
Organisations responsible for the institutional framework and funding: