Objectives of the national research and innovation agenda in Latvia are defined in a number of laws, regulations and policy documents.
In accordance with the Law on Scientific Activity, 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 Development Plan of Latvia for 2021-2027is the highest national-level medium-term planning document. This is closely related to the Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030 (Latvia2030) and the National Reform Programme of Latvia for the Implementation of Europe 2020 Strategy (NRP). The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have also developed the Strategy for Latvia.
The Science, Technology Development and Innovation Guidelines for 2021-2027 is a medium-term policy planning document that defines goals and priorities of the country's science, technology development and innovation policy up to 2027. In the framework of the national development planning system the Guidelines are part of the Smart Specialization Strategy and contributes to the achievement of the goals set out in the country's long-term and medium-term policy planning documents.
Transport Development Guidelines for 2021-2027 (TDG2027) is a medium-term transport policy planning document that defines goals and priorities in the transport sector. Transport policy objective is an integrated transport system that ensures safe, efficient, intelligent and sustainable mobility, contributes to the country's economic growth, regional development and to the transition to a low-carbon economy.
TDG2027 are developed in accordance with other sectoral policy planning documents, of which it would be important to mention:
- National Energy and Climate Plan for 2021-2030
- Low Carbon Development Strategy of Latvia 2050
- Air pollution reduction action plan 2020-2030
Within Latvia, the Ministry of Education and Science plays a major role in research and innovation activities. Theydevelop national science and technology development policy and coordinate international cooperation programs in the fields of research and technology.
The Ministry of Economics is the leading government authority in the field of economic policy, whose competences include development and implementation of innovation development policy. Information on innovation such as: innovation theory; innovation policy in Latvia and the European Union; innovative products in Latvia; innovation support programs; is available on the Latvian Innovation Portal.
The Latvian Council of Science also plays a part in the institutional framework:
Riga Technical University (RTU) conducts research and cooperates with international research institutions such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN, European Space Agency, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, and the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany.
Research at RTU is organized on six research platforms. One 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 (TSI) is the only privately owned technical institute in Latvia, which is certified as an academic and research organization. TSI is the lead and participant of Transport and Logistics related projects in programmes such as Horizon Europe, Interreg, Erasmus. TSI is also a valued member of the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI).
For research funding, universities and institutes typically use EU funds within the various international research programs (HORIZON Europe, Interreg, ERASMUS +, EU 9th Framework, etc).
Current funding sources and programmes include:
- The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) uses the Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) to boost innovation across Europe. EIT Urban Mobility launched a RIS hub in Latvia in 2021 to widen participation in innovation.
- Investment and Development Agency of Latvia works to implement innovation policies, including transport and storage as a key sector.
- Latvian single multi-fund Operational Programme “Growth and Employment” - aims at achieving key national development priorities. This includes supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors including the development of low-carbon transport.
- INTERREG EUROPE aims at improving cohesion policy across the EU, Norway and Switzerland. One of its four priorities is focussed on research, technological development and innovation.
- The Policy Support Facility (PSF) provides specific support to Latvia to advise on reforms to research and innovation.