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Support for Sustainable Transport Research in Slovakia (SURFTRAN)

Final Report Summary - SURFTRAN (Support for Sustainable Transport Research in Slovakia)

In order to integrate and strengthen the national research area in the Slovak republic, before and after the accession to the EU, which occurred during the first planning period of this project, it was necessary to analyse, integrate and evaluate existing resources, both human and institutional in the respective fields of research.

The main interest was to improve the capability of the research community in the area of surface transport and put it at the service of the social and economic needs of Slovakia, in conformity with the interest of the European Union as a whole. With the help of the experienced EU specialists, the conferences, workshops and brokerage events the project should lead to development of a natural forum, where all national subjects active in the area of surface transport will communicate and work together in order to find solution of topical problems. Cooperation and relationship with the local economic / industrial and social environment was maintained, in particular focus on the accession to the European Union.

The aim was to use the joined scientific and research potential in the respective areas of surface transport in Slovakia for participation in the European research through participation in European projects and connection of the academic environment and the practice.

The objective of SURFTRAN was the integration and strengthening of the ERA through Targeted Specific Support Action in one, at the start of the project, EU Associate Candidate Countries (ACCs) and since May 2004 full EU Member States - the Slovak Republic, in the thematic area of sustainable development, global change and ecosystems - sustainable surface transport. It was planned in the project to reach this objective by networking of the research community in this specific area, the policymakers and industry at the national level, by development of links and common information channels and strengthening of contacts between the professional, educational, development, research and industrial institutions.

This goal started to be accomplished in the first project year at the national level by facilitation and organisation of the information exchange through project specific website, organisation of dissemination events at high level scientific workshops and conferences. These activities enabled development of the networking with the similar institutions active in the respective areas of the sustainable surface transport research in Slovakia and in the EU Member States, other former ASCs, such as Hungary, Poland and recent associate candidate countries, such as Bulgaria and Romania.

Evaluation of the policies in the respective modes of the surface transport, concentrating on issues of sustainability, environmental protection and efficient energy consumption, as well as of performing studies aimed at the establishment of useful elements for the definition of the research policies in this field. Four studies oriented towards research policies and stakeholders identification in the following areas were developed in Slovak and English versions: rail transport, road transport, waterborne transport, intelligent transport systems (ITSs). While the English version is oriented more towards provision of information on the existing situation in the Slovak republic, the Slovak versions are oriented more towards Slovak audience, providing exhaustive information on the European initiatives and links to relevant information.

A detailed database was created of researchers, research institutions, developers, producers active in the domain of surface transport in Slovakia, which contain information that should facilitate partner search for the creation of consortia and facilitate for smooth networking. The database has been developed with the use of Open Source software and is available via the online internet access.

Another deliverable is active recognition and networking of high quality centres of research and support for the operation of these networks in a scientific field involving the sustainable transport research priority themes, with the aim of mobilisation of the human and material resources existing in a given field in Slovakia, dissemination of organisational and scientific information as well as the results of research, facilitation of the communication between the centres having similar scientific interest. One of the channels for dissemination of the information is the contractor's website at http://www.utc.sk/cetra where also specific project information resides.

Another objective was the organisation of two brokerage events and workshops with the help of National Contact Points (NCPs), where researchers from Slovak institutions could meet other researchers and scientists from the same sector and from other associated candidate countries with a view to participate particularly in proposals for integrated projects and networks of excellence. Organisation of this annual national information event was connected to the call for proposals issued by the EC, in order to present the topical information on the work programs of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

The one-day national events were organised at University of Zilina in connection with the Call 3B and Call 4A in the domain of the FP6 sustainable surface transport research. It was oriented towards increasing cooperation and ties among research community, academia and industry. The presentation concerned general principles of FP6, participation in the projects, results of Slovak participation in the FP6 and information on support for participation and proposal preparation and the sustainable transport research in current and future projects. Representatives of the participating institutions presented their institutions and their plans for participation in projects of the FP6, as well as national research activities.

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