Objectives of the national research and innovation agenda are defined in a number of laws, regulations and policy documents.
The purpose of the Law on Scientific Activity is to strengthen the state's concern for science as a very important factor for the development of society.
In accordance with this law, the Cabinet of Ministers determines the state science and technology development policy as well as innovation policy, approves priority science directions and state research programs, as well as determines the procedure for the control of the use of financial resources allocated for their implementation.
The National Science, Technology Development and Innovation Guidelines for 2014-2020 is a medium-term policy planning document that defines goals and priorities of the country's science, technology development and innovation policy up to 2020. In the framework of the national development planning system the Guidelines is part of the Smart Specialization Strategy http://www.izm.gov.lv/en/Science/smart-specialisation-strategy and contributes to the achievement of the goals set out in the country's long-term and medium-term policy planning documents.
On 13.12.2017 The Cabinet of Ministers approved the priority directions of science for 2018-2021. Those are:
- Technologies, materials and engineering systems to increase the added value of products and processes and cyber security;
- Strengthening energy security, development of the energy sector, energy efficiency, sustainable transport;
- Climate change, nature protection, environment;
- Research and sustainable use of indigenous natural resources for the development of a knowledge-based bio-economy;
- Latvia's statehood, language and values, culture and art;
- Public health;
- Knowledge culture and innovation for economic sustainability;
- Demographics, sport, open, inclusive societies, prosperity and social security;
- Public and public security and defense.
The Transport Development Guidelines for 2014-2020 is a medium-term transport policy planning document that defines goals and priorities in the transport sector. Transport policy objective is a competitive, sustainable, co-modal transport system that provides high-quality mobility through efficient use of resources, including EU funds.
The transport sector has a number of short term policy documents stemming from/ aligned with these guidelines. One of them is Alternative fuel development plan for 2017-2020, in the framework of which it is planned to carry out some studies.
Ministry of Education and Science:
- develops a national science and technology development policy,
- prepares a request for the annual allocation of state budget funds for scientific activities in accordance with the state science and technology development policy,
- delegations and co-operation agreements may be concluded for the implementation of international cooperation projects and programs, ensuring the recognition of Latvian science and raising public awareness about the importance of science in the sustainable development of the country,
- coordinates the international cooperation programs in the fields of research and technology and, in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Cabinet, provide support for participation in these programs,
- maintains and update the National Science Information System.
Ministry of Economics is the leading government authority in the field of economic policy, whose tasks and competences include development and implementation of innovation development policy. Information on innovation - innovation theory, innovation policy in Latvia and the European Union, innovative products in Latvia, innovation support programs, innovation support organizations, etc. available on the Latvian Innovation Portal
The Latvian Council of Science:
- The council is a collegiate scholarly under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Science, which prepares proposals for the development of national science and technology development policy, as well as elaborates proposals for the preparation of the draft state budget necessary for the financing of science,
- National research programs are public procurement for research in a specific economic, educational, cultural or other country priority area with a view to fostering the development of this industry,
- The objectives and tasks of the national research programs are determined by the relevant sectoral ministries jointly with the Latvian Science Council and the Latvian Academy of Sciences. National research programs are implemented in the priority scientific directions approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
Riga Technical University (RTU)
is focused on becoming a third generation university that not only provides high quality education, but also conducts advanced research and ensures innovation and technology transfer, practically implementing scientific discoveries.
RTU has become a modern internationally recognized university, which conducts internationally competitive research and cooperates with reputable international research institutions, such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN, European Space Agency, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, Fraunhofer Institute, Germany, and other.
Research at RTU is organized on six research platforms. The objective of research platforms is to ensure multi-faculty and interdisciplinary research in the areas of great significance for the national economy and society. Active and continuous analysis of market needs and commercial potential takes place within the research platforms.
One of such platform is Transport, including research in:
- Energy efficient and safe road and rail transport;
- Safe and financially efficient air transport;
- Efficient transport infrastructure;
- Reliable and safe methods for diagnostics of technical condition of vehicles and transport infrastructure.
Transport and Telecommunication Institute (lat. Transporta un sakaru institūts – TSI)
is the only privately owned technical institute in Latvia, which certified as academic and research organization. TSI provides such academic programs as: transport and logistics, computer sciences, electronics and telecommunication, economics and management, aviation transport including doctoral program in Telematics and Logistics. The main research direction: “Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Transport and Logistics”, which included 3 main pillars:
ICT (Telematics), including IoT; cyber security; robotics; big data, modelling, etc;
Smart Solutions in Transport and Logistics;
Digital Society and Economy.
TSI is the lead and participant of Transport and Logistics related projects in such programs as Horizon2020, Interreg, Erasmus and others national and international programs. TSI is a valued member of the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI). TSI perform advanced research in the field of transport and logistics by cooperation with leading research organizations in this research domain: Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation (Germany), University of Thessaly (Greece), University of Deusto (Spain), etc.
TSI participates as leader in Project of H2020:
Enhancing excellence and innovation capacity in sustainable transport interchanges (ALLIANCE) http://www.tsi.lv/lv/content/enhancing-excellence-and-innovation-capacity-sustainable-transport-interchanges-alliance
More info about TSI projects: http://www.tsi.lv/en/content/reasearch-tsi
One of the priority directions of science includes sustainable transport, which in turn includes applied research in information technology, mechanical engineering, application of intelligent technologies and engineering systems in logistics and transport, application of composite materials in mechanical engineering, provision of stable, high-quality and optimal operation of transport energy supply systems and their elements; renewable energy resources, their transformation and storage technologies for use in transport; synthesis and use of nanomaterials for the production of intelligent materials and specific products, modification of the properties of existing materials; research in water transport, logistics and infrastructure. Key users of knowledge: State stock company Latvijas dzelzceļš (Latvian Railway), transport and logistics companies: • intelligent materials in rail transport; • intelligent technologies in transport flow management. State stock company Latvijas Valsts ceļi (Latvian State Roads): • road construction - intelligent technologies and materials; • road monitoring - intelligent engineering systems. Transport companies: • intelligent materials for longevity of vehicles - smart coatings, smart lubricants; • Increasing efficiency: logistics planning, forecasting; intelligent control and inventory system.
National research program (funding source – national budget) in accordance with the Law on Scientific Activity is a state order for conducting scientific research in a specific economic, educational, cultural or other priority area of the state with the aim of promoting the development of this sector.
The implementation of the National research program for 2014-2017 is regulated by the Cabinet Regulations No.443 of 30 May 2006 "Procedures for Application, Examination and Financing of State Research Programs" and the Regulations No. 597 of September 30, 2014 "Procedure for Performing control over the use of financial resources allocated for the implementation of national research programs”.
For research funding, universities and institutes use EU funds within the various international research programs (Interreg, ERASMUS +, HORIZON 2020, EU 7th Framework etc.)