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Department for Transport - Central Initiatives (including DfT Horizons)

Programme Type
Funding programme
National (United Kingdom)
United Kingdom
United Kingdom Flag
STRIA Roadmaps


Background & Policy context

Included here are a number (but not all) of the cross-departmental initiatives addressing broad issues beyond the remit of individual policy-driven programmes. New Horizons and DfT Horizons are responsive to ideas from external researchers and support innovative research about future challenges and opportunities. Projects supported can cover the whole range of the Department's operations and responsibilities. Outside these two Departmental programmes are projects in schemes promoted elsewhere in Government (e.g. Treasury Summer Placements in Whitehall) and individual projects where the objective addresses common issues (e.g. management of research).

Strategic Objectives

The objectives, in relation to each of the three sub-themes, are as follows:

Central Initiatives: This sub-programme funds research work which addresses central (or cross-cutting) issues or is driven by particular central initiatives. This includes research management issues but excludes New Horizons and Transport LINK programmes which are managed and reported separately. Since 2001, initiatives covered by this sub-programme have included projects part-funded through the Treasury's Summer Placement in Whitehall scheme.

DfT Horizons: The objective of this responsive programme is to alert and inform the Department about long-term potential opportunities and risks to achieving its policy and operational objectives. Innovative thinking on opportunities and challenges beyond conventional planning is required. The research will identify and investigate areas where change in the external environment (e.g. technological advance, social trends, environmental or economic challenges) could affect the policies or operation of DfT. Following the First Call in November 2003 the programme supported six projects, while the Second Call in February 2005 approved funding for three projects investigating the handling and analysis of large datasets. The Third Call for proposals looking at the infrastructure requirements of hydrogen-fuelled transport was announced in January 2006.

New Horizons: The New Horizons Programme (2000-02) was an opportunity for researchers to investigate solutions to current or emerging problems, or where the application of techniques and ideas in one area might offer useful advances in others. The freedom to think in the medium to long term, anticipating new issues and long-term solutions was paramount. Projects researching anticipated social, environmental and economic challenges, or looking at innovative methodology have been supported by the programme. In collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) the programme is also part-funding a number of studentships at various universities.

Programme organisation

The transport policy context and organisation are indicated by the programme's three sub-themes: Central Initiatives, DfT Horizons and New Horizons.


Institution Type
Institution Name
Department for Transport
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Participating countries
United Kingdom


Department for Transport
Organisation Website

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