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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research themes > Aeronautics > ACARE’s Strategic Research Agenda sets flight plan for aeronautics
Graphic element ACARE’s Strategic Research Agenda sets flight plan for aeronautics
Aeronautics showcased at Heysel
Tuesday, 12 November 2002, was D-day for the Commission-sponsored Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) – time to formally unveil its first year’s work in a comprehensive Strategic Research Agenda. Time too to address the challenges facing aviation in the wake of last Summer’s summit on sustainable growth, including ever-increasing air traffic, with its associated increase in noise, emissions, congestion, and delays as well as heightened security concerns in the aftermath of September 11.

Over 500 delegates from the aerospace sector were on hand at the FP6 launch conference to witness ACARE Chairman Walter Kröll formally hand over the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for aeronautics. The report, the culmination of a year’s work by several pan-European working teams coordinated by ACARE, sets the scene for future research in Europe’s aeronautics sector. It also reinforces the Commission’s commitment to Aeronautics and Space as one of the seven thematic research priority areas under FP6, while achieving two top-level objectives identified in the ‘Vision 2020 Report’, namely to meet society’s needs and to achieve global leadership for Europe in the sector.

Wheels in motion

Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin set the wheels in motion for this momentous occasion two years ago when he invited a Group of Personalities to set out an ambitious vision for the future of aeronautics over the medium- to long-term. Their findings summarised in the report ‘European Aeronautics – a Vision for 2020’ were published mid-2001. A key recommendation in the report – reinforced in the ‘STAR 21’ report – was to create an advisory council to oversee future measures to achieve this grand vision, the results of which are now outlined in ACARE’s SRA. This, it is hoped, will fly home the importance of creating a coherent market and policy framework for a vibrant European aerospace industry.

Meanwhile, at the FP6 handover ceremony, Commissioner Busquin praised the SRA as a milestone in the establishment of the European Research Area. “This event has political significance as the first example of collaboration between government and industry aimed at developing an agenda for the whole EU,” said Commissioner Busquin. An agenda, he continued, “in which the activities and the investment strategy are agreed by all stakeholders”.

SRA’s key findings

The headline objectives to be achieved through the implementation of ACARE’s SRA include, among other things, 50% and 80% cuts in CO2 and NOx emissions; respectively, a five-fold reduction in accidents; reduction of noise by 50%; and increased punctuality across the board, meaning 99% of all flights should arrive and depart within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. The SRA also puts forward a plethora of research solutions and technologies to meet the ambitions of the ‘Vision 2020’ report. But it adds a caveat to the attainment of these goals: “The objectives are not achievable without important breakthroughs both in technology and in concepts of operation.”

The mechanisms identified by ACARE as crucial to meeting the EU’s vision for the aerospace industry include: an adequate research infrastructure; a competitive supply chain; certification and qualification processes; an educational system; and trans-European synergy.

Meeting the challenges

The new SRA lays the foundation for meeting ambitious but achievable objectives. With a budget of €1.075 billion allocated to the ‘Aeronautics and Space’ thematic priority, out of a total €13.345 billion for ‘Focusing and Integrating Community Research’ in FP6, the industry has a great opportunity in the coming years to solidify its leading position in many areas and to reassert itself in new ones.

Mr Kröll, President of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres, stressed that having all of the main industry players involved in setting the targets for improving the industry was critical. The aim is to have fewer accidents, cut noise level, reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emission, he told the FP6 conference last week. But he cautioned that, to achieve this, it will take an equal commitment from governments, agencies, operators, and control authorities in all Member States. According to the SRA, these challenges may be ambitious but they are achievable if the Agenda is adopted and its findings deployed in the form of practical products and services.

Wheels in motion
SRA’s key findings
Meeting the challenges

Key data

Under the Sixth Framework Programme for RTD, aeronautics activities are supported within the Aeronautics and Space thematic priority. The Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) has as its primary mission to define and implement the aeronautics Strategic Research Agenda.

For more on ACARE, see :

· The official ACARE

· The ACARE Strategic Research Agenda press release
(PDF File - 105 Kb)

· ‘ACARE update – the Farnborough International 2002 air show

· ‘European aeronautics on display at the Paris Air Show

· ‘Commission launches new Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe


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