The two key documents setting out research and innovation policy in Finland are the Research and Innovation Policy Guidelines 2011–2015 published by the Research and Innovation Council, and the latest Government Programme for the four-year parliamentary term published in June 2011. These reports introduce a new research and innovation policy and set up new policy guidelines. The thematic priority areas in these documents are:
- Societal and social research related to digital economy
- Health and well-being
- The Baltic Sea
- Diversity of nature and ecosystems
- Energy-efficient building and restoration.
The Finish economy and society are outlined in the Government Programme of the Prime Minister. The latest Government Programme underlines the importance of intelligent transport. Finland has been following a ‘Strategy for Intelligent Transport’ since 2009, and this strategy sets down the transport policy guidelines and objectives up to 2020. Other key transport sector documents are:
- Transport Infrastructure 2030: Meeting the Challenges of Concentrating Population and Industrial changes
- Transport 2030: Major challenges, new directions.
In March 2009, the administrative sector’s climate policy programme was prepared, which sets out how Finland can decrease greenhouse gas emissions from transport up to 2020.
Finland has a centralised system for research policy planning and decision-making, which consists of several operational levels as follows.
The Parliament and the national government are responsible for decision making at the highest level and are supported in matters related to research, technology and innovation policy by a high level advisory body, the Research and Innovation Council.
The ministries represent the second level. The key ministries with respect to research policy are the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The Ministry of Education and Culture is also responsible for budget preparations for the sector.
The third level consists of R&D funding agencies, the Academy of Finland, and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The Academy of Finland funds fundamental research through competitive grants. The most of the Tekes funds are allocated to R&D projects carried out by companies, but also to university research. In addition, the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development is an independent public fund operating under the supervision of the Finnish Parliament. It supports research and development in areas considered important to the welfare of Finnish society. Finally, the private sector in Finland is very active in funding research.
Transport policy is developed and implemented by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and its agencies. The Ministry’s responsibilities include transport systems and networks, transport of people and goods, traffic safety, and issues relating to climate and the environment. The Ministry as two agencies related to transport the Finnish Transport Agency and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency.
Organisations responsible for institutional framework and funding: