ERKC

Energy Research Knowledge Centre

Slovakia

Research themes and prioritisation

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Priorities in energy R&D in the Slovak Republic follow the objectives of the current national energy policy: increasing efficiency in power generation and energy end use, reducing energy intensity, reducing dependence on energy imports, expanding the use of nuclear power, increasing the share of renewable energy sources, and supporting alternative fuels for transport.

Energy research in Slovakia is included in the national research policy formulated in 2007 by the Ministry of Education in its long-term plan for state science and technology policy up to 2015[1]. According to this plan, energy research priorities are:

  • Increased exploitation of domestic energy sources, including fossil fuels, uranium, geothermal energy, electricity and heat from other renewable energies;
  • Research on nuclear energy (nuclear reactors, generation IV and nuclear fusion) with an emphasis on safety and waste storage;
  • Rational use of energy in industry and other sectors, including energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings; and
  • Energy distribution, especially advanced power transmission systems.

There are also planned research activities on fuel cells, hydrogen and energy storage technologies. In the upcoming R&D strategy of the Slovak Republic up to 2020, the following priorities are focused:

  • Production and transmission of electricity - increasing the transmission capacity and safety of the electricity system in Slovakia;
  • Nuclear power - R&D projects on fast reactor ALLEGRO, increase the safety and efficiency of nuclear power plants decommissioning and waste from the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, improving the safety of operating and built nuclear power plants;
  • Smart grid technology - smart grid, self-sufficient region and micro grids, renewable energy, electro mobility, Smart Metering;
  • Materials for Energy - construction materials, functional materials, technological processes of materials;
  • Heating industry - combined production of electricity and heat, cutting the cost, methodologies for the combined production of electricity, heat and cooling, material and energy recovery from waste.

[1] Long-term Plan of the State Science and Technology Policy by the year 2015

Organisation of research

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The principal body responsible for research and science in the Slovak Republic is the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport (MŠVVaŠ), in consultation with the Board for Science and Technology, cooperating with other ministries, central and regional government authorities and industry associations. The primary research actors are the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV), other national research institutions, universities, centres of excellence, higher education institutions (HEIs), industry research institutes (e.g. the Slovak Nuclear Power Plant Research Institute VÚJE Trnava) and R&D departments of businesses.

The government provides institutional and competitive research funding, although this kind of support has various limits. Institutional funding supports overhead costs in HEIs and the Slovak Academy of Sciences and is provided via two channels: block grants and the grants provided by VEGA, the Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education. The VEGA grants are given on a competitive basis, but support for the running costs of the HEIs and SAV are considered institutional funding. Institutional funding focuses on basic research. The competitive project funding supports both basic and applied research; it is channelled via programmes of the Research and Development Agency (APVV) and Structural Fund projects.


Figure 1: Organisational structure of energy research in the Slovak Republic

Programmes and budgets

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Budget overview

According to the IEA in its 2012 report[2], public funding for energy R&D in Slovakia amounted to€17.9 million in 2009, an increase of about 9 % in comparison to 2008. Nuclear R&D accounted for 31 % of public R&D funding in 2009, and for renewable energy the corresponding figure was 25 %; funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency increased significantly. For 2010 the estimate for energy R&D spending is €19.3 million.

In the period up to 2015 support is planned to come mainly from the government budget, EU structural funds, businesses and international sources. The Long-term Plan of the State Science and Technology Policy by the Year 2015 estimated that spending on science and technology should reach 1.8 % of GDP by 2015. The government aimed also to increase private funding of science and technology to the point where it covers two‐thirds of this total by 2015, mostly through tax incentives. At present however, it is assumed that the share of expenditure on R&D should amount to 1 % of GDP in 2020. The share of the state sector should constitute 45 % and the private sector 55 % of total R&D expenditure.

[2] IEA 2012: Energy Policies of IEA Countries; The Slovak Republic Review 2012; p.136.

Table 1: Energy research programmes in the Slovak Republic

All three programmes cover areas beyond energy research, so the budgets allocated to energy research can be estimated only by adding up the totals for individual energy-related projects.

* partly financed by the EU (total budget approximately €1 423 million)
**partly financed by the EU (total budget €908 million)
***50 % of the total budget of €240 million comes from industry

MŠVVaŠ:         Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport
MH:                  Ministry of Economy

Programmes and initiatives

Operational Programme for Research and Development

Operačný program Výskum a vývoj

This programme is funded mainly by the EU and managed by the Agency of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport for the Structural Funds of the EU (ASFEU). The financial contribution of the EU is more than €1 209 million for 2007–2013. The total budget including national funding (€213 million) is estimated at €1 423 million for the same period. The programme has two main objectives: improving the Slovak R&D infrastructure and supporting R&D. The programme includes items related to energy research, but there is no specific budget earmarked for this theme.

Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Economic Growth

Operačný Program Konkurencieschopnosť a Hospodársky Rast

The programme is funded mainly by the EU and managed by the Ministry of Economy. It has four priorities, of which the second, the Energy Sector, covers:

  • electricity production from renewable energy sources;
  • renewable energy sources for the production of heat and hot water;
  • high-efficiency combined production of electricity and heat;
  • increased energy efficiency for both the supply and the demand side;
  • progressive energy-saving technologies for the energy sector; and
  • global coordination to increase energy efficiency.

The budget for the Energy Sector part of the programme is €199 million for 2007–2013. The programme’s total budget is €908 million, of which the EU’s share is €772 million.

Use of Advanced Technologies for Energy Generation and Transformation – the 4th National Research and Development Programme

Uplatnenie Progresívnych Princípov Výroby a Premien Energie – 4. Štátny Program Výskumu a Vývoja

This programme, one of 10 national research programmes managed by the Ministry of Education, focuses on energy-related research in areas such as nuclear, hydro, biomass, CHP and geothermal power. The total budget is €240 million for 2011–2014, half of which comes from industry.

National govermment departments

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Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport (MŠVVaŠ)

Ministerstvo Školstva, Vedy, Výskumu a Športu

The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic is the central body of the state administration responsible for elementary, secondary and higher education, educational facilities, lifelong learning and science, and for state support of sports and youth.

Ministry of Economy (MH)

Ministerstvo Hospodárstva

The Ministry of Economy is responsible for energy supply including nuclear fuel, the management and storage of nuclear waste, heat transmission, gas manufacture, solid fuels and the exploitation of oil and natural gas, and for innovation in these areas.

National research programme management agencies

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Slovak Research and Development Agency (APVV)

Agentúra na Podporu Výskumu a Vývoja

The APVV manages public funding for basic and applied R&D on a competitive basis. It is responsible for R&D promotion in all research fields, including international research cooperation and project funding for companies and individuals. Project financing is also provided through tenders in the national programmes for R&D infrastructure and through the programmes and projects of the Agency. The APVV’s budget increased from €0.15 million in 2001 to €40 million in 2009.

Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA)

Slovenská Inovačná a Energetická Agentúra

Under the Ministry of Economy, the SIEA is the implementation agency responsible for administrating grants and structural funds concerned with energy efficiency, renewable energy and innovation.

Funding organisations at national level

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Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport (VEGA)

Vedecká Grantová Agentúra

The Scientific Grant Agency (VEGA) is an advisory and funding body of the Ministry of Education, responsible for institutional funding (mainly basic research) and for evaluating research carried out by universities and the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

Structural Fund Agency (ASFEU)

Agentúra Ministerstva školstva, vedy, výskumu a športu SR pre štrukturálne fondy EÚ

The Agency of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic for the Structural Funds of the EU, established by the Ministry of Education in 2007, is an intermediary body which carries out activities within the scope of tasks delegated by the Ministry for the Operational Programme Research and Development. Its objective is to facilitate the process of acceptance, assessment, financial management and monitoring of projects supported by the EU structural funds.