In May 2022 the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science published Impact 2030: Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy. This document outlines how Ireland intends to put research and innovation at the heart of unlocking Ireland’s social, economic and environmental challenges across a variety of sectors, including transport.
As part of this, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s new Evidence for Policy unit will develop tools to better link public policymakers and the public research system. This approach will be combined with developing new, innovative solutions in the transport sector, among others, to respond to the challenges of climate change and embrace opportunities.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has also launched an updated “Smart Specialisation Strategy for Innovation 2022-2027”. It aims to improve the important connections between national research and innovation policy and regional enterprise policy.
In addition, Ireland’s National Sustainable Mobility Policy aims to deliver at least 500,000 additional daily active travel and public transport journeys by 2030 and a 10% reduction in the number of kilometres driven by fossil fuelled cars. It also has been designed to make it easier for people to choose walking, cycling and use public transport daily instead of having to use a petrol or diesel car.
Transport research in Ireland is based on the national research policy, transport research policy and planning documents. Sustainability is high on the transport policy agenda. Key documents for transport research and policy include:
- Impact 2030
- National Sustainable Mobility Policy
- Sustainable Mobility Policy Action Plan 2022 - 2025
- Draft Integrated Implementation Plan 2019-2024
- Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy 2016-2035
- Accessible Transport Strategy 2025
Renewed versions of the following document are as of yet unavailable, but anticipated to be released soon:
The research system in Ireland is highly centralised. The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science requests public input to inform the strategic approach including the National Research and Innovation Strategy 2021-2027. In addition, Enterprise Innovation, part of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) funds and promotes enterprise-led innovation through a range of programmes and support delivered for the most part through Enterprise Ireland and Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Ireland.
The Irish Research Council was launched in 2012 and operates under the Department of Education and Skills. The core function of the organisation is to support research across disciplines.
Funding for transport research can be obtained through general research financing, through dedicated funds made available by the Department of Transport, and through EU and international funding.
At national level, research funding, e.g. for pilot projects, is primarily provided by two departments:
Current ongoing funding sources, strategies and thematic programmes relating to transport research in Ireland include:
- Enterprise Innovation is responsible for the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Programme, a €500m Fund that is part of the government’s National Development Plan and which is administered by Enterprise Ireland.
- The National Grand Challenges Programme will fund mission-oriented challenges and deliver impacts for society. The first calls to support the green transition and digital transformation will issue during summer 2022.
- A new competitive R&I funding agency is intended to be established by way of a landmark research bill. It will bring together the functions and activities of the Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland. This new agency will continue to support excellent research within disciplines and build greater interdisciplinary research activity in Ireland.
- The SEAI National Energy Research Development (RD&D) Funding Programme invests in innovative energy RD&D projects which contribute to Ireland’s transition to a clean and secure energy future.
- GDA Capital Programme is subdivided into four sub-programmes: Heavy Rail Sub-programme; Light Rail Sub-programme; BusConnects; and Integration, Sustainable Transport Measures & Support Sub-programme.
International research and development cooperation programmes and partnerships of the European Union relevant to Ireland include:
- Horizon Europe provides opportunities for research in Ireland to solve shared societal challenges
- EEA funds
- Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI)
- European Research Area cooperation Networks (ERA-Nets)
Further historic partnerships include:
- Interreg V-A - United Kingdom-Ireland (Ireland-Northern Ireland-Scotland) Programme - focuses on four areas that are seen as crucial for job creation and growth: supporting cross border initiatives to strengthen research and innovation, preserving and protecting the shared environment, promoting the sustainable mobility across the borders and enhancing the cross-border collaboration for the provision of quality health and social care services.
- Atlantic Area Programme - promotes cooperation between 37 Atlantic regions from 5 EU Member States: France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Priorities include stimulating innovation and competitiveness, addressing the challenge of accelerating intelligent growth, and fostering resource efficiency, promoting renewable energies and energy efficiency.