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Policy background

Iceland 2020 is the main government policy statement on the economy and community, which presents a vision of the future of Iceland and also presents 30 actions and tasks to achieve the goals established for 2020. This document creates a framework for sectoral strategies, including research and innovation, and transport. In particular, the document presents new objectives for research policy and quantitative targets.

  • The research and development (R&D) policy set out in this document is aimed at boosting research and investigative studies at universities and institutions, by making better use of the available facilities and making it easier for companies to participate in research and apply its findings. In addition, there is an emphasis on supporting research-linked innovation and inter-disciplinary cooperation between start-up companies, universities and research institutes to generate added value for the economy.
  • The objectives in the transport sector are for the development of a core transport network for the entire country to be completed by 2020 and the promotion of public transport links. Iceland aims to achieve these goals while becoming a pioneer in the testing, production and use of eco-friendly fuels.

The goals and objectives for research and innovation are further detailed in the Science and Technology Policy and Action Plan 2017-2019. It provides methods for Iceland to achieve the research objectives laid out in the Iceland 2020 document.

Institutional framework of transport research

The key government body responsible for designing and coordinating research and development policy is the Science and Technology Policy Council, chaired by the Prime Minister. This council is the supreme body for defining the direction of science and technology policy in Iceland. The Council issues three-year policy statements and periodic policy declarations, which form the basis for implementing policy. TheĀ Ministry of Education, Science and Culture is responsible for implementing R&D policy, but many other ministries play a role because of their responsibilities for research organisations in their own areas.

Developing and implementing transport policy is the responsibility of the Department of Transport and Infrastructure within the Ministry of Transport and Local Government. It is supported by several institutions:

  • Aircraft Accident Investigation Board
  • Icelandic Coast Guard
  • Icelandic Marine Accident Investigation Board
  • Icelandic Maritime Administration
  • Icelandic Road Administration
  • Road Accident Investigation Group
  • Road Traffic Directorate.

The bodies responsible for the institutional framework and fundingĀ are the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and the Ministry of Innovation and Industry. They are supported by:

  • The Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannis) manages international cooperation programmes and national funds in the field of research and innovation. Rannis coordinates Icelandic participation in European programmes, such as Horizon 2020, by promoting the programmes in Iceland and managing national contact points for the programmes.
  • Innovation Center Iceland is a leading R&D and business support institute in Iceland that operates under the Ministry of Innovation and Industry. The organisation aims to increase innovation, productivity and competitiveness of Icelandic business by conducting innovative technology research, sharing knowledge and providing support to entrepreneurs and start-up companies.

Transport research can be funded through the general research funding, private funding and by international and EU funds (EU Framework Programmes). At the national level, the major funding sources for research and development are the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, and the Ministry of Industries and Innovation. Administration of the main funds for research and technological development has been delegated to the Icelandic Centre for Research. These funds are:

  • Research Fund
  • Technology Development Fund
  • Graduate Training Fund
  • Fund for Equipment
  • Targeted research programmes

International research and development cooperation programmes that are relevant to Iceland are:

  • This encourages scientific cooperation between research organisations of Norway and Iceland in the field of Arctic Science
  • European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)
  • Nordforsk