Two key documents establish the background for research in Italy: the National Reform Programme for Innovation, Growth and Employment, and the National Research Programme 2015–2020. The National Research Programme 2015-2020 proposes a taxonomy of applied and translational research divided into twelve specialization areas:
- Cultural Heritage;
- Blue Growth;
- Green Chemistry;
- Design, Creativity and Made in Italy;
- Smart Manufacturing;
- Sustainable Mobility;
- Smart, Secure and Inclusive Communities;
- Technologies for Living Environments.
Strategy related specifically to transport research is covered under the sustainable mobility, aerospace and energy areas of the National Research Programme. Other key documents include:
The political level for R&D policies is the Parliament and the Council of Ministries. The highest level of Science and Technology policy coordination is with the Inter-Ministry Committee for Economic Planning (CIPE).
At operational level, the Ministry for Education, University and Research coordinates national and international scientific activities, distributes funding to universities and research agencies, and establishes the procedures for funding public and private research, and technological development. The Ministry for Economic Development supports and manages industrial innovation. Other Ministries manage research funding in their specific fields.
There are two bodies with advisory tasks:
- National Committee for Universities - responsible for proposals and consultancy on academic curricula and recruitment;
- National Agency for the Evaluation of the University and the Research - responsible for the quality assessment of the activities carried out by universities and research institutes, recipients of public funding.
Transport policy is developed and implemented by the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports.
Transport research is funded through the general research framework and through programmes dedicated to transport. To promote larger R&D investment and to stimulate R&D projects in the private sector, the Italian State supports companies through grants and loans. These include the Fund for Applied Research managed by the Ministry for Education, University and Research, and the Fund for Technological Innovation managed by the Ministry of Productive Activities.
There are several thematic programmes, which fund research on transport related topics. These include:
National Operational Programme on Research and Innovation 2014-2020 - covers EU funding to the less developed and transition regions of Italy, including strengthening research, technological development and innovation.
National Operational Programme on Enterprises and Competitiveness - covers EU funding to the less developed and transition regions of Italy, including supporting a shift towards a low carbon economy.
National Research Programme 2015-2020 - a platform to boost industrial competitiveness and development of the country through the instruments of knowledge. It is divided into twelve specialization areas including aerospace and sustainable mobility.
Interreg V-A - Italy-France (Maritime) - promotes entrepreneurship, a safer environment, the valorisation of natural and cultural resources, sustainable mobility and social inclusion through economic development. At the same time, it addresses climate change issues, connection of secondary and tertiary nodes to the TEN-T network and joint training schemes in the cross-border area.