Policy Background

Transport research is high on the Government Agenda. The objectives of research policy are defined in the Federal High-Tech Strategy 2025 (HTS 2025), which outlines the national research and innovation policy.

  • It shows perspectives on how Germany can successfully shape its future through research and innovation. At the same time, it offers orientation to all actors in innovation. It aims to encourage a variety of actors to actively shape progress. This also applies beyond Germany: the HTS 2025 is an offer for cooperation and can serve as an orientation for the cooperation of the innovation forces in Europe.
  • It focuses the promotion of research and innovation on people's needs, such as health and care, sustainability, climate change and energy, mobility, city and countryside, security and the economy. It should help to place Germany at the forefront of the next technological revolutions in order to keep jobs in Germany and to secure prosperity. The promotion of new technologies goes hand in hand with investment in education and training and the involvement of society to prepare people for upcoming changes.

The German government have published the 2030 Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan, which outlines the strategic plans concerning transport and transport infrastructure up to 2030, as well as the German Maritime Strategy 2025 and the National Master Plan Maritime Technologies (NMMT) providing policy and industry recommendations. 

In addition, Energy and Climate Change Policy is an integral part of Federal Government policy. This policy is used and evaluated by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure to derive its own strategies.

Institutional framework of transport research

The research landscape in Germany is complex, with responsibilities shared across Federal level and the 16 German states (Länder). At Federal level:

For developing and implementing national transport policy, The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is mainly responsible. The Ministry’s Research Department provides the scientific foundation for the work of the Ministry and coordinates its research programmes. This covers all aspects of mobility and transport, spatial and urban development, building and housing. To ensure a sustainable energy supply, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is also key player in the National Programme of Innovation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

The Federal Ministry is supported by several executive agencies including:

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

In Germany, transport research is funded through dedicated programmes and through the general scheme for research funding (for which the German Research Foundation plays a central role.)

At Federal level, research is mainly funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which finances large research organisations jointly with the Länder governments.

Organisations responsible for institutional framework and funding are:

Current transport research funding programmes include: