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Policy background

The Innovation Policy for Iceland is the main government policy statement on innovation, and presents a vision for the future of Icelandic innovation in all areas until 2030.

The goals and objectives for research and innovation are further detailed in the Science and Technology Policy and Action Plan 2020-2022. 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. The 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 funding 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:

  • The Icelandic Research Fund supports scientific research and research-related postgraduate studies based on a professional evaluation.
  • The Infrastructure Fund supports the development of research infrastructure with grants for the purchase of equipment, databases and other important facilities for research work.
  • The Technology Development Fund provides grants for R&D work in technical development aimed at innovation in industry.
  • The Strategic Research and Development Programme for science and technology supports special emphases in the government’s science and technology strategy.

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

  • European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)
  • Nordforsk - funds and facilitates Nordic research cooperation and research infrastructure
  • Icelandic Route Development Fund with the objective to support the development of new flight routes to Iceland, to enable regular international flights through the international airports at Akureyri and Egilsstaðir