The Innovation Union Flagship Initiative was launched in the EU in 2010 to promote European approach to innovation. In line with the principles of this flagship initiative, Maltese Authorities decided to dedicate efforts to support knowledge generation and the transfer of ideas and research results to innovative products and services.
In 2014, the cabinet endorsed the National Research and Innovation Strategy 2020. Intermediate targets, trajectories and monitoring mechanisms are defined with this plan, and it incorporates policy developments in other thematic areas and policy developments at national, European and international level. It emphasises innovation, framework conditions, societal challenges and the involvement of all actors. This strategy has identified four priority areas, which were designated to be platforms of strategic importance. These include:
- Environment and energy recourses;
- Information and communication technologies;
- Value-added manufacturing and services;
Transport research is addressed in these multidisciplinary areas and also in the bottom-up research programmes and policy priorities established by the national authorities responsible for transport. Key documents for transport research include:
The Malta Council for Science and Technology is responsible for research policy, promoting scientific research, and managing local research funding programme. The Council is the national contact point for the EU Research Framework Programme (FP).
The Authority for Transport (Transport Malta) is responsible for developing integrated transport policies, developing an efficient transport system for the islands of Malta, and providing an effective regulatory framework for land transport. Back in 2010, this authority took over from the Malta Maritime Authority, the Malta Transport Authority and the Department of Civil Aviation, to bring maritime, land, public and maritime transport under one public body. Transport Malta is financially independent of the Government. Current policies in public transport, maritime transport and aviation are provided by the relevant previous authorities.
Malta Enterprise is responsible for promoting foreign investment and industrial development in Malta, managing various funding schemes. It was entrusted by the Managing Authority for Structural Funds for administering six European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Grant Schemes.
Funding for transport research is provided by organisations including:
Current thematic programmes which are funding research on transport related topics include:
FUSION (2014-2020) - supports Research and Innovation with the ultimate goal of promoting and supporting local research and innovation as well as providing the necessary handholding in order to enable researchers and technologists to turn their innovative ideas into a market ready reality.