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Beijing hosts high-level workshop on aeronautics research

The EU-China Workshop on Aeronautics Research and Technological Development took place in Beijing on 15 April 2005. The aim was to discuss specific opportunities for co-operation with Chinese aeronautics researchers under European RTD programmes.

European and Chinese researchers around the table
European and Chinese researchers meet

Europe and China both recognise that strengthening co-operation in research and development is important for the future. The European aeronautics industry has already expressed great interest in developing closer links with China on research and development, using instruments and funding available under the Union’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

The April 2005 meeting was an attempt to encourage Euro-Chinese collaboration. EU officials and high-level representatives of China’s state-owned companies AVIC I and AVIC II, along with members of its Ministry of Science and Technology assessed the possibilities for future Specific Targeted Research Projects (STREPs), preparing the ground for future FP7collaboration.

Laying the groundwork

In their policy and strategy presentations, European Commission Head of Aeronautics Research, Liam Breslin, and the Vice-Presidents of AVIC I and AVIC II underlined the need to tackle industrial and societal challenges facing the global aeronautics and air transport markets. This was further stressed by Nick Peacock of Rolls Royce, who, on behalf of the European aerospace industry, outlined the approach and implementation strategy presented in the ACARE Strategic Research Agenda.

The Great Wall of China
Walls coming down between new partners

The FP6 aeronautics research programme was presented by Dietrich Knoerzer of the Commission’s Research DG. He explained the approach and philosophy of the programme and the content of the final call for proposals. Dr Xinhua Wu, from the University of Birmingham discussed the question of cultural differences, based on her experience with Chinese research partners working as subcontractors in four EU STREPs.

Technical sessions

The German-Chinese Science Centre in Beijing hosted four parallel technical sessions. Subjects included:

  • Aircraft technologies (presentations by Airbus, Dassault Aviation and EADS-M);
  • Flight physics;
  • Structures and material applications;
  • Rotorcraft technologies (presentations by Eurocopter and the University of Birmingham);
  • Aero-engine technologies (presentations by Rolls-Royce and SNECMA);
  • Aircraft systems, avionics and ATM (presentations by Thales Avionics and DLR).
Group photo – EU and Chinese workshop
The high-level workshop

During the technical sessions, European participants had a chance to establish close contacts with their Chinese counterparts. Representatives of Chinese industrial and research communities also made technical presentations. Overall, say EU officials, there was a clear feeling that China is willing to collaborate with European partners in aeronautics research. Building that willingness into real results will take more time, but the potential results in terms for increased competitiveness and global reach, says Liam Breslin, is well worth the effort.