Policy Background

Six research councils have urged the Swedish government to adopt a five-point plan for improving research and innovation. It is named For Swedish Advance in Research and Innovation for the period 2013-2016 and sets out five major proposals:

  • new national system for the allocation and re-allocation of funding to universities and research institutes based on the quality, not the quantity, of previous or external funding received
  • greater international research collaboration and research mobility
  • incentive system for the use of research results and a new collaborative programme between smaller and larger companies, public institutions and higher education institutions
  • identify and analyse the areas in which Swedish research has a high international standing

 Several documents lay a foundation for transport research and set the framework for transport infrastructure and policy development in Sweden:

  • Multimodal Strategy and Action Plan for the Use of Intelligent Transport Systems up to 2015;
  • Strategy on Sustainable Development of the Baltic Sea, 2010–2015.

Institutional framework of transport research

At the highest political level, research policy is decided by the Parliament, acting on bills prepared by the government and in particular by three ministries: the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications. The Parliament and ministries are advised by the Research Policy Council (in the Ministry of Education, Research and Culture), the Innovation Policy Council (in the Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communication) and by the Growth Analysis.

Six other authorities play an important role in policy-making. The six research councils are the Swedish Energy Agency; the FAS, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research; the Swedish Research Council Formas; the Swedish National Space Board; the Swedish Research Council Vetenskapsrådet; and VINNOVA.

The Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications has the main responsibility for developing transport policy which is implemented by specific agencies: the Board for Shipping Support, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, the National Public Transport Agency, and Transport Analysis.

There are several options for funding transport research in Sweden. The main agency providing financial support for R&D is the Swedish Research Council, funded by the Ministry of Education and Research. Furthermore, there are several thematic funds and national semi-public foundations, providing financial support for research on specific topics. These are:

  • Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Science, which is responsible for funding research on welfare, labour market, health and social services;
  • Swedish Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning which supports research on ecological, conservation, natural resources-related and construction issues;
  • Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, which supports research in science and engineering;
  • Knowledge Foundation, which promotes research carried out at newly established universities, primarily in cooperation with industry;
  • Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, an independent foundation to promote and support research in the Humanities and Social Sciences;
  • Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education with the mandate to internationalise Swedish higher education and research;
  • Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research supporting research of strategic

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

There are several thematic programmes, which are funding research on transport related topics.