The Department of Transport has established a fund through the National Development Plan 2000-2006 to facilitate the growth of academic research in areas of interest to the surface transport sector. A key goal of the programme is to build up the intellectual capability and knowledge base in such areas in Ireland to facilitate the availability of skilled professionals in resourcing this important sector and to enable the development of policy driven research. In tandem with addressing the infrastructure deficit in transport, there is a need to facilitate the development of intellectual capital so as to realise the effective and sustained investment in transport infrastructure. Research supports and informs policy on transportation, in addition to problem solving and investigation of specific issues pertaining to and impacting on the Irish context (although not exclusively so). The funding supports research initiatives that could be categorised as (a) academic research, (b) collaborative or partnership research between academia and industry and (c) applied or commercial research to proof of concept stage.
- To assist and facilitate quality research in areas of interest to the surface transport sector.
- To facilitate, in a focussed manner, the development of policy-led research with a problem solving approach in the transport sector.
- To build up critical mass in key areas of interest in transportation research so as to maximise the beneficial impact and outcomes to the Irish economy, both from a policy setting and industrial perspective. In particular encouraging co-operation within and between the two parts of the binary system and within Ireland, the EU and internationally.
- To encourage an interdisciplinary research approach (incorporating inter-institutional research groups or industrial collaboration if required) to problem solving and investigation of issues pertaining to the transport sector.
- To build up critical mass so as to maximise the potential for obtaining funding for research in this area from other sources.
- To promote and foster discussion on requirements of the transportation sector from a research perspective and ensure requirements of the sector in this regard are adequately addressed.
- To promote co-operation and co-ordination with transport research programmes in other countries and to facilitate participation by the Higher Education sector in the European Research Area and the 6th Framework Programme in particular.
In line with the goal and objectives of the scheme, the programme will support research in any discipline in science, medicine, engineering, technology, humanities and social science if it fulfils the criteria of the scheme. In this pilot programme, there is no a priori determination of funding levels for any particular areas of research. Calls will take place annually and a Transport Research Board will shortly be established to guide the strategy for the Transport Research Programme in future calls. Thus in future calls, specific themes will be identified for transport research which specifically address the overarching objectives of the programme.
The Department of Transport established the Fund under the National Development Plan 2000-2006 to facilitate the growth of academic research in areas of interest to the surface transport sector. €200 000 was awarded for the 4 projects commencing in 2002.