The government-wide LINK mechanism provides support to academic/industrial partnerships conducting pre-competitive research, which aims to stimulate innovation, create wealth and improve quality of life. DfT supported 43 projects in the now closed LINK Inland Surface Transport and Future Integrated Transport programmes. These programmes were intended to contribute to the competitiveness of the UK transport industry by enabling and accelerating the commercial exploitation of science and technology, leading to new products, processes, systems and services. Additional sponsorship was offered by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to these and other projects in these programmes.
The objectives, in relation to each of the three sub-themes, are as follows:
- LINK Future Integrated Transport (FIT): The FIT Programme offered a framework for collaboration between the public and the private sectors in support of integrated transport, an area of significant importance to the national economy and quality of life. The main objective was to support research that contributed to the development of transport systems that are safe, efficient, clean and fair. The programme closed to new applications in 2002. Of the 36 full projects in the programme, DfT offered support to 17.
- LINK Inland Surface Transport (IST): The main objective of this LINK programme was to support research contributing to the development of inland surface transport systems that would be efficient, safe and both environmentally and socially acceptable. In addition the programme was intended to contribute to the competitiveness of the UK transport industry, and the quality of life. LINK-IST was open to applications from March 1996 to April 1999 and was managed and sponsored by EPSRC and DfT with additional sponsorship coming from DTI and ESRC. Of the 42 projects in the programme, DfT gave support to 26. The programme was preceeded by LINK-TIO and succeeded by LINK-FIT.
The transport policy context and organisation are indicated by the programme's two sub-themes:
- LINK Future Integrated Transport (FIT)
- LINK Inland Surface Transport (IST).