In Czechia, the basic legislative framework regulating the area of research, development and innovation (RDI) at the national level consists of three Acts:
- Act No. 130/2002 Coll. - on the support of research, experimental development and innovation from public funds;
- Act No. 111/1998 Coll. - on universities;
- Act No. 341/2005. - on public research institutions.
General policy on research and innovation in the Czechia is set out in the strategic document National Research, Development and Innovation Policy of the Czechia for years 2016–2020. Its main goal consists in creating favourable conditions for gradual development of the Czech RDI system by setting specific strategic targets and measures to meet them. The main goals of transport RDI are established in this document as:
- Sustainable Transport;
- Interoperable Transport;
- Safe Transport;
- Economical Transport;
- Intelligent Transport;
- Spatial Data in Transport.
The Vision of Research, Development and Innovation in the Transport Sector for the period up to 2030 is a strategic document of the Ministry of Transport for RDI and identification of priorities and strategic development of transport RDI in the Czechia. After an update in 2018, the Vision identifies main priority RDI areas, their development and effective funding. The document also aims at synergies with European transport RDI policies and EU framework programmes for research and innovation.
Other documents that provide a research framework are the International Competitiveness Strategy, which focuses on the creation of conditions for performing excellent research, and the National Priorities of Oriented Research, Experimental Development and Innovations (NPOR) which sets out the long-term national priorities in research, development and innovation for the period up to 2030. Specific research topics have been identified in six general areas:
- Knowledge Economy;
- Natural Resources;
- Social Sciences;
The National Reform Programme sets out the economic plan for RDI, and the Innovation Strategy of the Czechia 2019-2030 lays out the framework for the cooperation of businesses and research institutes over the next decade.
The Transport Policy of the Czechia for 2014-2020 (with prospect to 2050) sets a framework for the transport area with a special accent to European policies and their implementation in the Czechia.
Other key documents related to transport strategy include the Sustainable Mobility Plan for Prague and the metropolitan area.
The Office of the Government of the Czechia - Section for Science, Research and Innovation (OG CR – SRI Section) is the highest body in the R&D field and was established in 2014 to coordinate and manage the RDI system. The Section is led by the Deputy Prime Minister of Science, Research and Innovation, who is also the Chairman of the R&D Council and the Chairman of the Council for Competitiveness and Economic Growth (C&EG Council). The main objectives of the OG CR – SRI Section are:
- Science policy unification
- Establishing the rules for transparent funding of institutions engaged in science, research and innovation
- Identification and support in excellence in science
- The expansion of international scientific cooperation
The Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Council is an expert advisory body of the Government for RDI, whose specific management and coordination activities are established in the RDI Act. Main responsibilities include:
- preparation of the methodology for evaluating research organisations;
- preparation of the RDI policy;
- processing of priorities of applied research.
The members of the Council assemble at regular meetings taking place once a month where they discuss and approve the materials related to the fulfilment of the tasks of the Council.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) is the central administrative office responsible for research and development in the Czechia. In this sphere, it focuses above all on policymaking, international cooperation and implementation of research priorities in certain areas. The Academy of Sciences is the leading non-university basic research public institution in the Czechia. It conducts both fundamental and strategic applied research to create scientific knowledge. The Academy formulates its own scientific policy, advises the state on major issues of its R&D policy, administers national as well as international research programmes, and promotes cooperation with both applied research and industry to foster technology transfer and exploitation of scientific knowledge. The Ministry of Transport is responsible for general transport policy and submit the areas of priority for research to the OG CR – SRI Section which are them incorporated into the national research agenda. The Transport Research Centre (CDV), which is a scientific research public institution, sits under the Ministry.
The main funding instruments in the Czechia are basic financing, research grants, and operational programmes that focus on thematic areas. RDI funding in the Czechia is divided among many providers, following allocation of funds towards RDI from the national budget, determined by the Government. The The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports creates and manages operational programmes which cover all fields of research. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is responsible for the funding of innovation. Other key organisations in R&D funding are the:
- Czech Science Foundation (GA CR) - an independent public organisation supporting basic research throughout all scientific fields. It provides public funding exclusively for basic research projects for both experienced and early-stage researchers on a call for proposals approach;
- Technology Agency of the Czechia (TA CR) - responsible for the preparation of programmes in applied research and the administration of financial support to applied research projects.
Transport research can be funded through any of these funding organisations, depending on the research project and operating programme. Transport research is delivered with the aim of achieving or making progress towards one of the six main goals stated in the National RDI Policy. Transport research can also be funded by private sources and international research and development cooperation programmes.
Current ongoing funding sources, strategies and national programmes include:
- TRANSPORT 2020+ Programme (2020-2027) - programme for applied research projects in transport aimed at 4 main pillars - 1) Sustainable transport 2) Safe and resilient transport and trasport infrastructure 3) interoperable and accesible transport 4) Automatization, digitalisation and navigation and satellite systems.
- TREND Programme (2020-2027) - programme for Czech entities supporting applied research and experimental development to enhance international competitiveness of Czech enterprises. This builds on the well-established TRIO, APLIKACE and EPSILON programmes.
- TRIO Programme (2016-2021) - programme for Czech entities supporting applied research and experimental development in Key Enabling Technologies (Kets)
- EPSILON Programme (2015-2025) - programme for Czech entities supporting applied research and experimental development focusing on collaboration between companies and reseach organisations.
- INTER-EXCELLENCE Programme (2016-2024) - A multi-faceted programme focused on bilateral and multilateral collaboration in R&D, mobility or networking.
- DELTA Programme (2014-2021) - programme for bilateral cooperation in applied research and experimental development with selected partner institutions abroad.
- DELTA 2 Programme (2020-2025) - a follow-up to the DELTA Programme and will focus on international cooperation in applied research and experimental development of Czech enterprises and research organisations and their foreign partners.
- MOBILITY Activity - help establish contacts and develop cooperation between research and development institutions in partner countries by supporting the mobility of researchers working on international research projects.
- Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness Operational Programme - focuses on enhancing innovation and the competitiveness of enterprises in order to increase their added value, stimulate growth and job creation and improve the performance of the research and innovation (R&I) systems, including increased private investments in R&I. It will be one of the main implementation tools to achieve the objectives of the Smart Specialisation Strategy.
International research and development cooperation programmes and partnerships of the European Union relevant to the Czechia are:
- National Sustainability Programme I (2013-2020) - aims at supporting the development and the sustainability of projects for building new European centres of excellence and new regional research centres in the Czechia.
- Interreg V-A - Austria-Czechia programme- aims at strengthening joint research and development capacities in combination with human resource development, by addressing several important cross-border challenges which are linked to the implementation of Europe 2020 in the Czech-Austrian border region.
- EEA funds
- Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI)
- European Research Area cooperation Networks (ERA-Nets)
The TA CR also has international collaboration projects and agreements with several organisations including: