Policy Background

The framework for research and development (R&D) policy in Portugal was laid out in the partnership agreement 'Portugal 2020' between Portugal and the European Commission, adopted in 2014. 

The key document setting out research and innovation strategy in Portugal post-2020 is the Technological and Business Innovation Strategy 2018-2030. It aims to converge Portugal with the rest of Europe by increasing the competitiveness of the Portuguese economy through research, development and innovation. Another document published by the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education is the Higher Education, Research and Innovation in Portugal Perspectives for 2030

Institutional framework of transport research

The two bodies within the government responsible for R&D policy are the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (MCTES) and the Ministry for the Economy (ME). They are responsible for most funding streams and horizontal policies. 

  • The Ministry of the Economy designs, implements, executes and evaluates the policies regarding: competitivity; innovation; the internalisation of enterprises and the promotion of foreign trade; the promotion and attraction of foreign investment; tourism; consumer protection; public works; transport and communications.

  • The key activities of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education consist in: the design and preparation of policy measures in the areas of science and technology; the promotion of the development, qualification, competitiveness and international evaluation of the S&T system; the organisation of S&T activities in the key domains of the international cooperation by promoting the diffusion of knowledge and technologies; participating in the international organisations; and contributing to the definition of EU S&T policy.

The National Innovation Agency (ANI) is a state-owned agency funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and the Ministry of Economy and Innovation. The ANI develops and coordinates activities to support technological and business innovation in Portugal, such as fiscal and financial incentives programmes, contributing to the consolidation of the National Innovation System (NIS).

The responsibility of defining, managing and implementing national transport policies is held by the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure.  It is supported by the Ministry for the Environment and Energy Transition, the Ministry of the Sea and the Institute for Mobility and Transport which each inform the Ministry in their respective areas. By preparing sectoral documents and consulting the MCTES and ME, the Ministry contributes to setting transport research priorities.

The instruments of financing Portuguese research and development activities are:

  • Research grants;
  • Core and strategic funding schemes for R&D institutions;
  • Re-equipment schemes and support for setting up and maintaining a national roadmap of research infrastructures;
  • Access to international funding and network schemes;
  • Private funding.

The Foundation of Science and Technology (FCT) is the main research funding agency for Portuguese research. It is a public organisation with administrative and financial autonomy, under the aegis of the MCTES. It is responsible for institutional and personal research funding in Portugal and for ensuring international partnerships under the ‘GoPortugal – Global Science and Technology Partnerships’ initiative. Funding is structured around the promotion of training and career development, the promotional of the institutional base in higher education and private non-profit sectors, the support to infrastructures, and the promotion and development of scientific activity.

Transport research is mainly funded by the Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education through the Foundation for Science and Technology. The Ministry for Housing and Infrastructure also allocates funds, but to a lesser extent. Other public funding is provided for priority research topics and through national and regional programmes. International funding is provided by the European Union.

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

Current ongoinfunding programmes include: