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AirTN-FP7
Air Transport Net (AirTN) as one of the key enablers for the prosperous development of Aeronautics in Europe

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AirTN-FP7

State of the Art - Background

The AirTN ERA-Net was established under FP6 as a network of Member and Associated States whose agencies manage public funded national research activities and programmes in Aeronautics and Air Transport. The various Work Packages (WPs) have delivered many of the objectives of the project set out at the start. Its success to date has prompted the network to apply for an additional period of support under the FP7 programme to continue its development and allow for further member state involvement and co-operation.

For Aeronautics and Air Transport, the ERA-Net AirTN has resulted in an excellent network of member states and their agencies. Significant progress has been made towards achieving the main objectives, which are to step up the co-operation and coordination of research activities at national level and to expand the European dimension.

As well as the defined goals, AirTN was able to fully integrate the new member states (NMS). NMS benefited from information exchanges on the system of national programmes, their financing and their organisation. Using examples from the States where the system is well developed enabled the governments and governmental organisations in the NMS to improve their methods and organisation of aeronautical research. As a result of this, ERA-Net AirTN was one of the most effective tools to support non-discriminatory research in the NMS on a partner basis. Given this positive experience, co-operation within the AirTN FP7 will be further enhanced.

Objectives

The AirTN ERA-Net was established under FP6 as a network of Member States whose ministries and agencies manage publicly funded national research activities and programmes in Aeronautics and Air Transport.

Now in its third year, AirTN is set to run until the end of 2008. AirTN in FP6 has completed the first steps of the ERA-NET instrument through the systematic exchange of information mutual learning between Member States and the identification of possible areas for co-operation. The results from these WPs are prerequisites for the implementation of joint activities to enhance co-operation and coordination of national and regional research programmes. The success of the initial steps has prompted the network to apply for an additional period of support under the FP7 programme to continue its development and allow for further member state involvement and support in order to reach its ultimate objectives.

AirTN in FP7 will strengthen this coordination and strive for long lasting co-operation. It will bring added value to the foundation of the European Research Area and the development of a European Research Policy, especially in relation to aeronautics and air transport. The focus will be on the Implementation of Joint Activities step 3 of the ERANET instrument and step 4, the funding of transnational research.

The governing objective of all AirTN activities is to continue strengthening the European Research Area within the framework of the ACARE Strategic Research Agenda.

In particular, the following objectives shall be pursued in this project:

- Increased efficiency, synergy, and avoiding the duplication of research performed on European, national and regional levels;

- Increased complementary research activities within Europe;

- Unlocking the untapped potential of skills and resources in Europe, especially in the new and smaller member states and regions;

- Facilitating the development of a joint strategy for research infrastructures and facilities;

- Identifying successful approaches to ensuring a skilled workforce.

Description of Work

The work plan is as follows.

WP1:

- Point of contact for the Commission and fulfilment of contract obligations;

- Management of the consortium;

- Coordination of activities and fulfilment of objectives;

- Analysis of common strategic issues;

- Consideration of specific target groups' interests with respect to joint activities and briefing of specific target groups with respect to AirTN activities and objectives;

- Maintenance of the virtual laboratory to be used as an electronic means of communication.

WP2:

- Information collection on research programmes;

- Research topics for joint activities;

- Establishment of a catalogue of aeronautical research infrastructures in various EU countries and analysis of corresponding investment policies, priorities and mechanisms.

WP3:

- Development of documentation and processes for implementing joint activities;

- Providing best practise information to member/associated states aiming to set up joint activities/joint research programmes;

- Supporting both modalities of joint activities: Project-by-project basis and structured approach.

WP4:

- Preparing the ERA-Net for Transnational programmes by developing schemes and procedures, and also providing plans and facilities for the network with the possibility of becoming sustainable, post-EC funding;

- These aims will be further supported by multinational pilot actions, joint activities and joint calls on some widely used components and instruments of national and international programmes.

WP5:

- Maintenance of the public website;

- Organisation of thematic fora;

- Organisation of a dissemination conference.

Expected Results

Aeronautics is important to Europe, socially, economically and strategically. AirTN-FP7's role will be to continue strengthening the foundation of European Research in Aeronautics and Air transport.

This will be achieved through further co-operation and coordination of national and regional research programmes, and the development of policies in support of strategic planning.

Ambitions for Europe, set at the highest political level, envisage the development of the European economy towards becoming the most innovative in the world. Aeronautical capability plays a pivotal role in this. Whilst paying attention to issues such as environment, increased Air Transport System capacity, security and safety, AirTN-FP7 will enhance and centralise the European aeronautics focus by increasing the alignment of national programmes, leading to more innovation and hence greater probability of finding solutions to policy-driven challenges.

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