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 Czech Republic 2021+.This is the overarching national-level strategic document for advancing all components of research, development and innovation. The document helps fulfil certain criteria of the basic conditions to be able to draw funding from European Union funds in the 2021–2027 programming period. The vision of the National Policy is to use efficient support and targeting of research, development and innovation to contribute to the prosperity of Czechia as a country whose economy is based on knowledge and the ability to innovate, whose citizens have access to high-quality living conditions, and which is a recognised partner in the community of European countries, as well as globally.
In February 2019, the Government of the Czech Republic approved a key document “Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic 2019–2030”. Prepared by the RD&I Council, headed by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, in close cooperation with a team of entrepreneurs, scientists, academics and representatives of the public administration, the strategy sets out new priorities, which, if achieved, should put the Czech Republic among the most innovative countries in Europe by 2030. Part of the strategy is also the introduction of a new brand “The Czech Republic: The Country For The Future”. The main goals of transport RDI established in this document relate to having:
- Reliable smart mobility services;
- A sufficiently robust network of transport telematics systems;
- An integrated approach of carriers in public passenger transport;
- Sufficient processes related to transport network construction;
- A high level of intermodality;
- Establishment of logistics centres;
- Widespread deployment of alternative fuel cars;
- An operation of autonomous and automated vehicles;
- A targeted concept of support for smart cities;
- Extensive demonstration and testing pilot projects for smart mobility solutions.
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 National Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation of the Czech Republic is a strategic document ensuring that resources from European, national and local budgets and related private resources are effectively targeted at supporting oriented and applied research and innovation within prioritised promising areas.
The Transport Policy of the Czechia for 2021-2027 (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:
- Sustainable Mobility Plan for Prague and the metropolitan area.
- State Safety Programme of the Czech Republic
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 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 Programme (2021-2027) - the main tool for large-scale infrastructure investments in Czechia. It focusses mainly on two objectives - 1) The modernisation and construction of rail and road infrastructure on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T); 2) Investing into the public transport systems of Czech cities, including the construction of a new metro station in the Czech capital Prague.
- Transport 2030 - programme aimed at supporting applied research and innovation in the transport sector. It is the successor to the popular Transport 2020+programme, which also focused on safety and sustainability in transport or on its automation and digitalisation. The main areas of support are: sustainable, accessible and safe transportation; automation, digitalisation and technologically advanced transportation; and low-emission and environmentally friendly transportation.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Integrated Regional Programme (2021-2027)- with the objective of improving the services for citizens, the programme will upgrade existing infrastructure and build new ones.
- Technologies and Applications for Competitiveness Programme(2021-2027) - the main objective of the programme is to increase the added value and productivity of Czech enterprises (in particular small and medium-size enterprises, SMEs). Priorities included sustainable urban mobility, greener Europe and enhancing research and innovation.
- Environment Programme (2021-2027) - The programme will support public bodies and individuals in their effort to improve the living conditions in Czechia. Its contribution is essential in the effort to reach carbon neutral and green economy.
- Operational Program Transport 2021-2027 (OPD3)- The main goal of the supported interventions is to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the Czech Republic by improving transport accessibility. Transport and transport services are still among the most important problem areas in the Czech Republic that need attention. The three material priorities of OPD3 are; interventions on the railways and the TEN-T road network, road projects outside the TEN-T network, projects in the field of urban transport (tram and trolleybus lines) and alternative fuels infrastructure.
International research and development cooperation programmes and partnerships of the European Union relevant to the Czechia include:
- 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 Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA CR) also has international collaboration projects and agreements with several organisations including: