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AEROPORTAL
Support for European aeronautical SMEs

Tags: Air

State of the Art - Background

The European aerospace industry continues to restructure, maintain and improve its global competitiveness. While this affects the whole supply chain, smaller suppliers are particularly exposed, particularly SMEs. AeroPortal is promoting the competitiveness of the SMEs. A tool for achieving this goal and addressing SMEs' needs is networking, which allows aeronautical SMEs to become part of a technical and research community, have access to first-hand information, acquire visibility and thus be involved in EU RTD projects. AeroPortal is built on the expertise and acquired expertise of two successful FP6 Support Actions, respectively AeroSME-Support for European Aeronautical SMEs and SCRATCH-Services for SMEs in CollaboRative Aeronautical TeChnical researcH.

Objectives

The prime objective of AeroPortal is to support aeronautical SMEs in advancing their technology base and their competitiveness through participation in European RTD projects. This is done by creating a single point of reference for information, project opportunities, partner search and by providing a wide-ranging direct support in response to the aeronautical SMEs expressed needs for accessing European RTD funds. A pool of experts in European research and technology funding in aeronautics offers free-of-charge services to SMEs to encourage, facilitate and increase their participation in EU FP7 RTD projects in Aeronautics and Air Transport. The support is offered to SMEs both for the integration in Level 1 and 2 project proposals and for setting up their own project proposals. AeroPortal will provide:

- Information on EU programmes and initiatives;

- An Internet portal to exchange project ideas and request technical skills;

- Electronic newsletters;

- Access to the AeroPortal online database;

- On-site visits by experts analysing SMEs' technical acquisition needs and funding opportunities;

- Free proposal servicing activities: guidance and support in setting up project proposals, proposal writing and partner search;

- Local workshops for SMEs;

- Training activities for SMEs and SME multipliers.

Description of Work

The project is divided into five technical work packages (WP).

WP1 is devoted to awareness-raising activities and networking with industries, SME groups and multipliers. It includes the creation of an Internet portal, an interactive database containing the profiles of SMEs and project ideas, a helpdesk for all inquiries on FP7 research for SMEs, electronic newsletters and participation in national/local information events.

WP2 deals with training and sharing of best practices for SMEs and SME multipliers, providing guidance on RTD-funding mechanisms and help SMEs to become good project leaders or join proposals under preparation.

WP3 creates a list of product-oriented expressed research needs from aeronautical SMEs through visits to SMEs by AeroPortal experts. This technical assessment leads to free support for SMEs in WP4 and WP5. In WP4 support is given to turn a SME idea into a Level 1 project proposal, build the project consortium with complementary partners and structure the project work plan up to final submission. WP5 is focused on bringing together larger industry partner requirements and SMEs, and on providing information about opportunities for SMEs in the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative. The strategy is based upon specific competences and acquired expertise and a working methodology, fine-tuned according to lessons learnt in previous successful projects.

Expected Results

The major deliverables of the project are:

- Technology-acquisition opportunities and RTD-awareness mechanisms offered to a maximum number of SMEs, directly or indirectly involved in the European aerospace supply chain;

- Setting up and maintaining an Internet portal for SMEs, including an interactive SME database;

- Establishing the Multiplier Group open to all aeronautical SME associations and groups as a platform facilitating the communication flow within the sector, in both directions, between large companies and SMEs;

- Free services for SMEs and a public Helpdesk on SME-related subjects;

-On-site visits (companies' profiles) for SMEs to structure their corporate research plan and technology needs (about 300);

- Organising and participating in 20 national/regional information days;

- Organising two technology workshops to support the integration of SMEs in large industry-led Level 1 proposals and carrying out matchmaking for Level 2 proposals prior to FP7 calls;

- Information campaign and support for Clean Sky JTI;

- Training for SMEs and SME multipliers (11 training sessions foreseen in CY, RO, HU, CZ, SI, PL, MT, SK, EE, LV, LT, BG);

-To facilitate collaborations between aeronautical SMEs from older EU Member States and newer Member States (CZ, HU, PL, RO);

-To service at least 40 collaborative RTD proposals initiated by SMEs (II and III FP7 Aeronautics Call).

AEROPORTAL

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