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Support for international research in aeronautics

The European Commission remains committed to fostering closer ties with international partners, including Russia and China. The latest round of funding under the 2010 work programme 'Transport' theme includes funding for joint research in air transport and aviation.

TsAGI's extremely large wind tunnel. © Peter Gutierrez
TsAGI's extremely large
wind tunnel near Moscow.
© Peter Gutierrez

The first two coordinated calls for proposals announced in 2010 allocated funding of €4 million for EU-Russian and €3 million for EU-China co-operative research, with Russian and Chinese governments pledging equal support from their sides.

European Commission Head of the Aeronautics Unit Liam Breslin says, "This type of international co-operation will attract new researchers and deepen knowledge in complex technological and theoretical areas." It will also enable scientists to share facilities, he adds. For example, Russian scientists will give their European colleagues access to their premises and laboratories.

Exciting new prospects

Selected projects will explore pioneering ideas for future aviation and carry out further research into topics such as lighter aircraft structures and equipment, greener engines, flight physics, reducing aircraft noise and increasing safety.

'Who’s who' in Russian aeronautics research

CIAMexternal link
The Central Institute of Aviation Motors is engaged in the comprehensive study and development of aero-engines. Activities range from investigation of basic physical processes to the manufacture, upgrading and certification of new engines.

The State Aviation Systems Research Institute develops integrated avionics and flight and navigation systems for military and commercial aircraft, including helicopters.

The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, founded in 1918 by father of Russian Aviation N. E. Zhukovsky, is one of the largest scientific research centres in the world, combining basic studies, applied research, structural design, pilot production and testing.

The Institute of Aviation Materials carries out fundamental and applied research in a variety of materials-related areas. VIAM has negotiated dozens of contracts with leading non-Russian companies.

Breslin says co-operation among European and Russian researchers is a very positive result of the efforts of the permanent working group set up in 2007 between the European Commission and the Russian Ministry for Industry and Trade. "Significantly, this has allowed the twinning of two large avionics-related projects, which were selected independently by each side according to their own criteria." Researchers from the two projects met during a joint workshop in 2009, attended by around 150 participants.

Launching EU-China partnerships

Most recently, a kick-off meeting for the EU-China projects, as well as the EU-China workshop on RTD co-operation, took place during the week of 25-29 October 2010. The preparation of the coordinated call with China, as well as the selection of topics of common interest was achieved through the AERO-CHINA support action.