Policy Background

The national research and innovation strategies create the basis for research and technology development. The most recent outline and general guidance for research was adopted by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science in December 2017 in the document Denmark – Ready to seize future opportunities.

Two other initiatives for research and technology development in Denmark are RESEARCH2020 and RESEARCH2025 published by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education. These publications form the basis for strategic investments in research, ensuring investments are based on solid knowledge about the research needs of society and the new opportunities that research creates.

RESEARCH2025 identifies 19 prominent research topics within four main areas:

  • New technological opportunities
  • Green growth
  • Better health
  • People and communities

The Government established a long-term vision for transport development in A Green Transport Policy dated January 2009. The document sets out overall principles and concrete initiatives as part of a global green transport policy. Recently, a further step was taken with a new strategy on achieving independence from fossil fuels by 2050 (Energy Strategy 2050 - from coal, oil and gas to green energy) and with the objective to decrease CO2 emissions with 70 % by 2030. Another policy initiative which defines the national transport priority and research is the traffic initiative presented by the Government in 2008, entitled Sustainable Transport - Better Infrastructure.

Institutional framework of transport research

Denmark has a well-developed and centralised research system, with a clear division between the advisory function for research policy and the organisation of research funding and user support.

  • The main Ministry responsible for research policy is the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs also has some influence on innovation policies.
  • R&D programmes are also launched by sectoral ministries, such as the Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate and the Ministry of Environment and Food.
  • Below Ministry level, there is a system of research advisory and funding councils.
  • The Independent Research Fund Denmark administers the funding earmarked for independent research, and for thematically defined and politically prioritised research areas.
  • The Innovation Fund Denmark administers funding for strategic research areas based on politically defined programmes with the aim to support the development of knowledge and technology, including advanced technology, in order to strengthen research and innovative solutions that may benefit growth and employment. 
  • The Danish Council for Strategic Research supports research on transport and infrastructure.

The Ministry of Transport and Housing is responsible for the governance of the transport sector in Denmark. The ministry is supported by executive agencies in implementing activities by the Danish Transport Authority, the Danish Road Directorate, the Danish Coastal Authority, Rail Net Denmark, and Accident Investigation Boards of Denmark. To support the Government on greening Danish transport, the Ministry of Transport established the Centre for Green Transport in 2011.

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

The research funding is the responsibility of the:

  • Council for Independent Research - an umbrella organisation for five research councils, and supports research projects based on the initiatives of researchers, and;

  • The Council for Strategic Research - which supports research based on politically defined programmes, and is required to contribute to increasing cooperation between public and private research.

Thematic science and technology priorities are implemented by various R&D funding institutions, such as the programme committees in the Danish Council for Strategic Research (DCSR) and the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation. The DCSR programme committees regularly launch calls for projects in specified thematic areas. 

There are currently no known specific funding programmes ongoing.