On 28 July 2011, the Bulgarian Parliament adopted the National Strategy for Research Development 2020. At national level, the Strategy provides scientific organisations, universities and the academic research community with a research development framework with a set of priorities for the development of science in Bulgaria. These include:
- Energy, energy efficiency and transportation;
- Development of green and eco-technologies;
- Health and quality of life, biotechnology and organic food;
- New materials and technologies, cultural and historical heritage;
- Information and communication technologies.
Since July 2011, transport research has been a national research priority. The main policy and strategy documents that currently outline transport research and development are:
- Strategy for the Development of the Transport System of the Republic of Bulgaria up to 2020;
- General Transport Master Plan 2014-2020;
- Integrated Transport Strategy for the period until 2030.
The Ministry of Education and Science is the primary policy-making and coordinating body for national research policy. The Ministry prepares and submits all major policy documents for approval by Parliament. In the Ministry, the main policy-making and coordination body is the National Council for Scientific Research. The Council approves all major research policy documents, including the National Strategy for Scientific Research and priorities for the National Science Fund.
The Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism also contributes to formulating research policies. The Ministry is responsible for developing and implementing national innovation policy, which also contains research elements. The Ministry has established an advisory body, the National Council on Innovation.
The National Transport Policy Directorate in the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications controls and monitors scientific, technological, standardisation and metrological activities in the transport sector. The ministry has several executive agencies that function as regulatory bodies for the individual transport modes:
The transport research is financed under general research funding and two policy funding instruments:
National Science Fund under the Ministry of Education and Science promotes science and research initiatives at the national, regional and international level. Funds are distributed according to the provisions under the Law on Scientific Research Promotion.
National Innovation Fund under the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism promotes and finances the development of a competitive knowledge-based industry in Bulgaria. The Fund is administrated by the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (a government body under the Minister for Economy, Energy and Tourism).
Additional funding is available in universities and research centres, and through bilateral and multilateral cooperation programmes between universities under EU and other international programmes.
Development of the transport system in Bulgaria is currently supported by:
- The Operational Programme ‘Transport and Transport Infrastructure’ (2014–2020) (part of the EU Structural and Investment Funds)
The Operational programme 'Innovations and Competitiveness' (2014-2020) (also part of ESIF)