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Policy background

The Government attaches great importance to research and knowledge, both as political objectives on their own and as the basis for policy in other areas. The national strategy is set out in the Long-term Plan for Research and Higher Education for the Period 2019-2028. The research and development (R&D) policy document introduces three key initiatives to facilitate innovation:

  • An initiative to boost technology
  • Renewal and restructuring of R&D in the business sector
  • Activities to enhance quality in higher education

The Strategy for Research and Innovation Cooperation with the EU establishes the Government’s goals and ambitions for Norway’s participation in Horizon 2020 and the European Research Area (ERA), and presents measures that are necessary for achieving these targets.

The National Transport Plan 2022-2033 is submitted to Parliament by the Ministry of Transport in the form of a White Paper every four years and sets forth the Government’s transport goals and strategies in a long-term perspective.

Institutional framework of transport research

The Norwegian research system has two levels: policy level and strategy level. The research policy level comprises the Norwegian national assembly, the Government and the ministries. The Department of Research in the Ministry of Education and Research has the overall responsibility for designing and supervising research policy and exercising the Minister’s coordination tasks in research issues. The Department also prepares reports on the research to Parliament, coordinates R&D funding in the National Budget, and acts as secretariat for the Cabinet Research Committee.

At the research strategy level, the Research Council of Norway is the key institution. The Research Council identifies strategic research areas, allocates research funds and evaluates research in all areas and disciplines. The Council is the principal research policy adviser to the ministries, and is the meeting place and network builder for Norwegian research. Universities and colleges also have important roles in strategic research planning.

R&D policy is formulated on the ‘sector principle’, with each ministry is responsible for financing and assigning research priorities in their specific sector. Thus, the main players in policy making for transport research are the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. These ministries are responsible for defining transport policy and have an impact on establishing national priorities for transport research. They are supported by:

Transport research is funded in the general research funding in Norway. A special fund for research and innovation was set up to ensure stable, long-term public financing of research and research-based innovation in all sectors. Research programmes managed by the Ministries and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration are sectoral programmes for specific purposes, whereas the transport research programmes administered by the Research Council are larger and much broader in scope. The Research Council is the main funding agency for both private sector and public research institutions. Support is provided via specific research programmes or general support schemes. Most projects in the Research Council Programmes are partly funded by industry.

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives - Current ongoing national programmes:

  • TRANSPORT: This programme finances research, innovation and piloting in the transport sector. The goal is to contribute to knowledge and new solutions that provide more efficient, safe and sustainable transport.
  • FRIPRO: A funding scheme for independent projects for basic research and ground-breaking projects in all fields of research, where project ideas originate from the researchers themselves.

International research and development cooperation programmes and partnerships of the European Union relevant to Norway are listed on the Research Council of Norway website:


(Last updated: 01/09/2023)