In 2014, the Government launched the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2014-2020which sets out Ireland's ambitions to be a leading knowledge economy and specifies targets in research and innovation. This Strategy was supported in 2008 by the general policy framework document: Building Ireland's Smart Economy: a Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal. In 2010, the report of the Innovation Taskforce, Innovation Ireland, was published which further specified goals and objectives for science, technology and innovation for the period 2014–2020. The Prioritisation Action plan, launched by the Government in 2012, established 14 research priority areas and set out the scope of the planned investment.
Transport research in Ireland is based on the national research policy and on transport research policy and planning documents.
The main principles, priorities and goals for transport policy are outlined in the Statement of Strategy 2011–2014 prepared by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Sustainability is high on the transport policy agenda. In 2009, the policy Smarter Travel Plan 2009–2020: the Framework Policy for Sustainable Transport was published. Other documents related to transport policy and transport research are the National Cycle Policy Framework Transport 21.
The research system in Ireland is highly centralised. The political agenda for research is set by the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Science and Technology. The Sub-Committee can draw on the expertise of the Chief Scientific Adviser. The Inter-Departmental Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation is responsible for overseeing implementation of research policies, primarily the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation. The main advisory body on science, technology and innovation policy is the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation. In addition, the Office of Science, Technology and Innovation within the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation plays a key role in developing this policy. In 2011, the Irish Government announced the merger of two research councils, the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology.
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is responsible for developing and implementing transport policy. It is supported by a number of executive agencies.
Funding for transport research can be obtained through the general research financing, through dedicated funds made available by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and through EU and international funding.
At national level, research funding is primarily provided by two departments: Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport provides financial support to initiatives, such as pilot projects and other initiatives in the Smarter Travel Framework. In addition, the programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, supported by the Higher Education Authority, provides funding for research projects in higher education institutions, including some transport-related projects.
Organisations responsible for the institutional framework and funding: