Policy Background

The National Research and Innovation Strategy “France Europe 2020” gives an overview of research and innovation challenges faced by France, and establishes priorities and the allocation of public funding. The strategy provides a strategic agenda for research, technology transfer and innovation that will guide public research support over the long term.

Objectives of the strategic agenda of "France Europe 2020" are:

  • Enable the government to fully play its role as a strategist, set the priorities for national programming, simplify the organisation and review research assessment and indicators;

  • Optimise connections and coordination with European programs, through greater consistency and better involvement, allowing France to have a bearing on Europe’s future and obtain the critical mass necessary for global affairs;

  • Address societal, scientific and technological issues and take up the challenges of competitiveness;

  • Guide public research support policy over the long term;

  • Collectively set out the priority areas for progress in knowledge and technology and lay down the foundations needed for them to be implemented;

  • The priorities will be determined based on the results of close consultation with the scientific community, social and economic partners, the relevant Ministries and local authorities.

The framework for the development of economic sectors is the ‘Grenelle Environnement’. Through these laws, the French Government supports the development of an environmentally friendly economy by introducing measures for different economic sectors including energy, construction, transport and agriculture.

Grenelle 1 sees the Government committed to halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, whilst Grenelle 2 law, known as the "National Environmental Commitment Act", focuses on building, transport, energy consumption, biodversity and management, waste and governance.

The Grenelle Environment is the trigger for many changes and developments at the economic, human and territorial levels. Various achievements have already been made at the national level and within the territories. Specifically on transport, the country have seen the introduction of the "bonus-malus" system for vehicles, various rail motorway projects, the port reform, and the first maritime highway. 

Institutional framework of transport research

Research policy planning in France spans across different levels:

1) At the administration level, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research designs and coordinates research policy. The Ministry is assisted by various consultative bodies. For instance, the High Council for Science and Technology advises the Prime Minister and makes recommendations on national research and innovation strategies. In addition, the Ministry for Economy, Finance and Industry is responsible for both industrial and energy research and plays a specific role in research carried out by the private sector.

2) At the operational level, the research system comprises the following agencies for implementing R&D and innovation policies:

3) Public research organisations are also involved in policy implementation, for instance the National Centre for Scientific Research.

The public funding for research is made available through the National Agency for Research. Priority research topics are financed, which are determined in the National Research and Innovation Strategy. OSEO Innovation is the main source for funding research for the private sector.

Transport research can be funded through the general research framework and through programmes dedicated to transport. It can also benefit from the funds allocated to the research programmes in related areas, for instance, energy and environment. 

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

The current major programmes for funding transport research are:

  • Regional programme Nord-Pas de Calais (2014-2020) Programme - aims to contribute to achieve the Europre 2020 targets for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth including eco-mobility 
  • Regional programme Franche-Comté et Jura (2014-2020) Programme - aims to contribute to achieve the Europre 2020 targets for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth including encouraging a low carbon economy and sutainable multimodal urban mobility

  • Pôle Véhicule du Futur Programme - enhances synergies through industrial, academic, and training actors in the domain of futire vehicles and mobility
  • Interreg V-A - Italy-France (Maritime) Programme - promotes entrepreneurship, a safer environment, the valorisation of natural and cultural resources, sustainable mobility and social inclusion through economic development. At the same time, it addresses climate change issues, connection of secondary and tertiary nodes to the TEN-T network and joint training schemes in the cross border area.
  • The French Environment and Energy Management Agency sometimes launches calls relevant to transport.