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Aeronautics Information Day draws large audience

More than 400 people attended the aeronautics research Information Day on 6 February 2008 in Brussels. Jointly organised by the European Commission’s Directorates-General for Research (DG RTD) and for Energy and Transport (DG TREN), the event was aimed at supporting the preparation of responses to the second FP7 call for proposals.

The Aeronautics Info Day

“We have seen a huge amount of input on the political side in just the last year, setting goals and laying out new challenges for Europe,” said Zoran Stančič, Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s Research Directorate-General. “Among our clear priorities are establishing sustainable energy and facing up to climate change. What is clear is that we cannot reach these goals without major new developments in the transport sector, and this means you in aeronautics now have a great opportunity to show what you can do.”

Zoran Stančič
Zoran Stančič

“It’s about, jobs, it’s about sustainability and it’s about competitiveness,” said András Siegler, Director of DG RTD Transport Directorate. “The air transport industry represents 2.1% of European GDP and accounts for 3.1 million jobs, and it is central to a number of key European policies, including energy policy and the Lisbon agenda. The fact that there are so many of you here today just underlines the interest in this sector.”

Siegler also stressed the importance of the newly launched CLEAN SKY Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) and the SESAR initiative, which, he said, would play important parts in the achievement of Europe’s short- and long-term air transport goals.

Resources for research

Research on Transport (including Aeronautics) is funded under the specific FP7 programme on 'Co-operation'. Altogether, FP7 allocates more than €32 billion to the Co-operation programme, supporting research by universities, industry, research centres and public authorities throughout the EU and beyond.

The 2008 Calls for Proposals for Transport (including Aeronautics) were published on 30 November 2007, the second of five rounds of calls planned under the FP7, representing total funding of €15 million.

The Information Day featured presentations by top-level EC officials from both DG RTD and DG TREN. Daniel Calleja, Director of DG TREN Transport Directorate, said, “Transport is essential for the efficient functioning of our society, enabling freedom of movement and trade. As such, remains at the heart of European treaties and policies, but we all have to come together make it work – the Commission, the Member States and industry.”

ACARE and more

Representing ACARE, the seminal European Technology Platform that was responsible for the aeronautics Strategic Research Agenda, Jim Lawler stressed the importance of making sure new technologies address real identified problems, but also that they are then adopted by industry.

Liam Breslin, Head of DG RTD Aeronautics Unit, outlined priorities and challenges for air transport, and said, “There is a thinking and a philosophy behind our aeronautics work programme, going right back to the vision and SRA developed by ACARE.

Liam Breslin and András Siegler
Liam Breslin and András

“We saw very intense competition among applicants after the first call for proposals and we expect the same this time,” said Breslin. Keys to writing a successful proposal, he counselled, include a high level of scientific and technical excellence, good plans for coordination and implementation, and an effective strategy for dissemination and exploitation of results.

New research instruments – the Clean Sky JTI

The JTIs are to involve long-term public-private partnerships (PPPs) carrying out large-scale technological R&D programmes and supporting strong, continuous, European-level industrial research. As such they represent a completely new approach under the Seventh Framework Programme. The JTIs, led by industry and backed by the private sector, will provide a significant level of support and will deliver innovative transport solutions.

“CLEAN SKY will work to develop technology demonstrators, including flight test vehicles that will be essential for successful market introduction,” explained Breslin. It will ultimately deliver technologies enabling drastic reduction of fuel consumption, noxious emissions and noise for the next generation of air transport systems.

How to participate

Calls are announced in the Official Journal of the European Unionexternal link and on CORDIS Newsexternal link. The key documents relating to a call are the work programme and the guide for applicants. These and other useful sources of information are available on CORDIS as soon as a call is published. Calls are published on the CORDIS FP7 calls pageexternal link. Users can also set up a CORDIS Rapidusexternal link profile to receive e-mail alerts informing them of new calls.