Policy Background

Research in Switzerland is regulated by the Law on Research dated October 1983 and other regulations specific to an area of science in the country and its regions (Cantons). The national research policy for the coming four-year period is outlined in the education, research and technology message 2008–2011 (ERT Message), the main policy document for education, research and technology in Switzerland.

The current National Transport Policy, entitled Making Mobility Sustainable and Fully Integrated focuses on providing modern and ecologically sound transport services. Another document related to transport policy and research in Switzerland is the Sustainable Development Strategy 2012–2015.

Institutional framework of transport research

Political responsibilities for research and higher education are divided between the central state (Confederation) and the regional authorities (the Cantons). The Confederation is responsible for direct funding of research and for coordinating research activities, while responsibility for higher education is shared by the Confederation and Cantons. Federal research policy is designed and implemented by the State Secretariat for Education and Research and two Federal Institutes of Technology. Government agency research is designed and implemented by the 'Steering Committee'. The Swiss National Science Foundation is the key funding institution for research. The Swiss Science and Technology Council is the main advisory body to the national government on science and technology policy.

Transport policy is conceived and developed by the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications. Various offices in the Department detail the policy including:

  • Federal Office of Transport
  • Federal Office for Spatial Development
  • Federal Roads Authority Office
  • Federal Office for Civil Aviation.

Authorities and specialised agencies also contribute to developing transport policy and are important in transport research. These are:

  • Service for Public Transport Accident Investigation
  • Railways Arbitration Commission.

Transport research can be funded in several ways:

  • through the general research framework;
  • through dedicated transport research programmes;
  • international funds;
  • financing from the private sector.

The two main funding agencies are the Swiss National Science Foundation, which supports fundamental research, and the Swiss Innovation Promotion Agency, which promotes innovation. The National Science Foundation is a private foundation funded by the Confederation through the State Secretariat for Education and Research. The Innovation Promotion Agency is under the Federal Department of Economic Affairs. Research is funded through the National Research Programmes, where topics are selected through a bottom-up process. Interested groups can submit proposals for new research projects to the State Secretariat for Education and Research, and the Federal Council decides which topics and programmes to fund.

All projects funded by the Federal Administration are part of the national ARAMIS information system.

Switzerland is in the mid

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

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