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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research themes > Aeronautics > Europe’s aeronautics looking up after FP6 launch
Graphic element Europe’s aeronautics looking up after FP6 launch
    29-11-2002
 
Heysel
Tuesday, 12 November 2002 was ‘Aerospace Day’ at the EC’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) launch at Heysel exhibition centre in Brussels. Highlights included the formal handing over of ACARE’s Strategic Research Agenda to Commissioner Philippe Busquin, the presentation of the prestigious CEAS Award to space pioneer Fredrik Engström, profiles of projects from past Framework Programmes, and panel sessions on Europe’s aerospace sector in the global context.

The three-day FP6 launch conference provided an ideal setting for the unveiling of the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for aeronautics, prepared by the Commission-sponsored Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE). Coming one year after the formation of ACARE , the SRA sets the scene for future research in Europe’s aeronautics sector, reinforcing the Commission’s commitment to Aeronautics and Space as one of the seven thematic research priority areas under FP6.

Aeronautics on display

“By investing more, and more wisely, in research,” said Research Commissioner Busquin , “European aeronautics can simultaneously respond to society’s needs and achieve global leadership.” The €1.075 billion being allocated to aerospace under FP6 will no doubt go a long way towards achieving this objective.

2020 hindsight
 

The SRA is the first concrete step towards implementing the January 2001 report entitled ‘European Aerospace: a vision for 2020’ , which laid the foundations for achieving not just ambitious goals for raising Europe’s industrial competitiveness in aeronautics, but also for improving its environmental performance and the quality of service provided to the public, including a sustained effort to make air travel cleaner, quieter, more affordable and safer. Sustainable development represents a major challenge given the predicted significant increase in air traffic volume over the coming years, and security aspects have also taken on new importance in the wake of September 11. While the flight path for the future of aeronautics in Europe is now clearly laid out, the attainment of specific goals will largely depend on research investment made 15 years ago.

At a July 2002 press conference , Commissioner Busquin spoke about these issues, emphasising the need for greater investment in the sector, and the importance of avoiding duplication and waste of resources by pooling the R&D effort to reach pan-European critical mass. He said, in addition to more funding for aeronautics, “the sector needs regulatory and policy support to help create a true aeronautics industrial platform at EU level”.

Back at the FP6 conference, Walter Kröll, the charismatic President of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres and ACARE Chairman, stressed the importance of having all of the main industry players involved in setting the targets for improving the industry. In his keynote speech, he said: “We are aiming for 80% fewer accidents, plus 50% cuts in noise levels, fuel consumption and CO2 emission. This will require an equal commitment from governments, agencies, operators, and control authorities in all Member States. The aeronautics industry is a key asset for Europe.”

But Mr Kröll issued a challenge to European aeronautics industry decision-makers: “Future success cannot be assured under present arrangements,” he said. “What we need are changes in existing technologies, structures and mechanisms, but also in mentalities. We must learn to rank our common advances above national interests.” In this, he said he was looking to Commissioner Busquin to encourage everyone to play a part in making ‘Vision 2020’ a reality.

 
I’d like to thank…
 
Fredrik Engström
The highlight of the aeronautics session came when Fedde Holwerda, President Elect of the Confederation of European Aerospace Societies (CEAS) , presented Fredrik Engström with the CEAS Award 2002. CEAS comprises eight members from the fields of aeronautics and astronautics. Mr Engström, Former Director of Launchers of the European Space Agency, accepted the award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to European space programmes. In his acceptance speech, he said: “When I launched my first rocket back in the early sixties, space was an adventure. Today, it is still an adventure, but it is also big business.”
 
Around the conference
 

A number of EU-funded projects were on hand at the Heysel conference to demonstrate research in action under past Framework Programmes, such as FP5 and FP4. One such project was a consortium whose goal is to build a low-emission aero engine commercially available in ten to 15 years. The Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Aero Engine (EEFAE) project has been set the task of designing and building two engines that should improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 and NOx emissions.

Another team of researchers, headed by the UK engine manufacturer, Rolls Royce, is designing an engine to improve thrust ranges and harness new technologies. A cross-border project involving the French firm, Snecma Moteurs, and German company, MTU Aero Engines, is building emission-reduction technology for a geared turbo-fan engine.

 
Speakers of the round table
 

A number of eminent speakers, including Kröll, contributed to an enlightening round table discussion entitled ‘European Aerospace on the Global Scene’. In front of an audience of around 500 delegates from the aerospace sector, the session was introduced by Commission Director for Aeronautics and Space Research Jack Metthey, who also presented an overview of the ‘Aeronautics and Space’ thematic priority under FP6. EU activities in Space were addressed by the Director-General of the European Space Agency (ESA) Antonio Rodotà. Other speakers included: Victor Aguada, Director-General of Eurocontrol; Alain Garcia, Executive Vice President Engineering, Airbus, France; Florence Ghiron, Advisor to the Board and Executive Officer of WSL in Belgium; François Quentin, Executive Vice President of Thales Avionics; Phil Ruffles, Technical Adviser for Rolls Royce plc; René Steichen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Luxembourg’s SES Global; and Moderator Clive Cookson, Science Editor for the Financial Times.

 
Closing comments
 

The great success of the European aeronautics sector, already a world leader in many areas, has been credited to a high degree of cross-border collaboration among the industrial and research communities. As such it has been a model in miniature of the larger European Research Area (ERA) currently under construction.

In his remarks at the FP6 conference closing session, Commission Deputy Director-General Hugh Richardson said about the event: “We have seen the ERA in action and we come away with a clearer view than we’ve ever had of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.” If the vision and enthusiasm shown among the aeronautics delegation is any indication, the new Aeronautics and Space priority will be playing a major part in that future.

 
2020 hindsight
I’d like to thank…
Around the conference
Speakers of the round table
Closing comments
   

Key data

Under the Sixth Framework Programme for RTD, aeronautics activities are supported within the Aeronautics and Space thematic priority.

     

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