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Transport Research Information Day draws full house

The European Commission’s Directorates-General for Research (DG RTD) and for Energy and Transport (DG TREN) held Joint Information Days on 13 and 14 February 2007 to support the preparation of proposals in response to the first call for proposals under the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7).

Published on 22 December 2006, the first of five planned FP7 calls represent available funding in the amount of €196.61 million for ‘Surface Transport’ and €218.41 million for ‘Aeronautics’. An additional €800 million has been set aside for the new 'Clean Sky' Joint Technology Initiative.

“The first FP7 calls set the scene for a new era in EU-funded transport research,” said András Siegler, Director of DG RTD Transport Directorate. “With our new work programme, we are highlighting real challenges and setting clear objectives, including safer, greener and smarter transport systems that will benefit all citizens, respect the environment, and strengthen the competitiveness of European industries.”

Research on Transport (including Aeronautics), will be funded under the specific programme on 'Co-operation'. Altogether, FP7 allocates €32.413 billion to the Co-operation programme, supporting research by universities, industry, research centres and public authorities throughout the EU and beyond.

Weight of opinion

András Siegler
András Siegler

The Transport Information Day featured presentations by top-level EC officials from both DG RTD and DG TREN. Fotis Karamitsos, Director of DG TREN Logistics, Innovation, Co-modality and Maritime Transport Directorate, said, “The European transport system is essential to prosperity and is closely linked to economic growth. This makes maintaining the competitiveness of our transport sector vital.” Karamitsos also cited the environment, energy supply, European enlargement and globalisation as key challenges.

“We have developed a wide-ranging work programme,” said Luisa Prista, Head of the DG RTD Surface Transport Unit. Challenges for surface transport include climate change, energy supply and pollution, new and innovative designs, safety and security, public transport and intermodality.

Luisa Prista and András Siegler
Luisa Prista and András Siegler

Liam Breslin, Head of DG RTD Aeronautics Unit, outlined priorities and challenges for air transport, including improving environmental performance, improving time and cost efficiency, ensuring customer satisfaction and safety and promoting pioneering air transport concepts.

New research instruments – the Clean Sky JTI

Joint Technology Initiatives (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.

Liam Breslin
Liam Breslin

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

All together now

Siegler also stressed the key FP7 concept of integration. “Integration means we do not look just at separate modules but at the entire European transport system, as well as interactions between and among the business community, the research and academic communities and transport users, from you and me to the man in the street.”

Other buzzwords throughout the day included small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), New Member States, and GALILEO, the European satellite-based radionavigation system.

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 Newsexternal link. Users can also set up a CORDIS Rapidusexternal link profile to receive e-mail alerts informing them of new calls.