The transport research framework in Lithuania is determined by the National Higher Education and Research Policy and by the transport system planning documents.
The research policy goals are mainly set by the Lithuanian Innovation Strategy for 2010–2020.New long-term Research and the Higher Education Strategy are detailed on the basis of Higher Education and Research Foresight results in 2011–2012. The implementation strategy for EU Structural Funds also supports public R&D development and facilitates company R&D.
Transport is not included in the list of priority research areas established by the Research and Higher Education Strategy. Thus, transport research policy is developed on the basis of the priorities established in the national transport system planning.
The main documents in transport system planning are the Long-Term Development Strategy of the Lithuanian Transport System (to 2025) and the Transport and Transit Development Strategy (to 2020). The Long-Term Development Strategy provides a foundation for sector-based strategies.
Other documents relevant to transport research are:
- Lithuanian Economic Development Strategy
- State Road Safety Programme 2011–2017
- Civil Aviation Strategy to 2015
- Operational Programme for Economic Growth (to achieve the Europe 2020 objectives).
The governance structure for research and innovation is based on two ministries with the Ministry of Economy responsible for innovation policy, and the Ministry of Education and Science responsible for higher education and R&D policy. At the highest level, research and innovation policy is set by the Parliament and the Government. National research policy is developed and implemented by the Department of Science and Technology under the Ministry of Education and Science and in cooperation with the Research Council. The Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology coordinates the participation of Lithuanian institutions and companies in international research programmes and projects. The Ministry of Finance also plays a major role in allocating funding for national research programmes.
The transport priorities are defined by the Ministry of Transport and Communication in the national transport system policy.
There are three main types of research funding available:
- Internal research programmes at the universities;
- National research grants funded through the framework of the National Research Programmes. These grants are mostly awarded to programmes in priority research areas;
- Applied research service contracts.
The main source of funding of the general research programmes is the national/ministry budget. For transport research, which consists mostly of consulting or service contracts, the Ministry of Transport and Communication launches several service calls per year. Other opportunities for funding transport research are through the Programmes launched by the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology, calls launched by the Ministry of Finance, calls launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and EU Structural Funds.
Organisations responsible for the institutional framework and funding: