Aeronautics: Commission supports new strategic research agenda

July 24, 2002

Brussels, 23 July 2002

The European Commission today welcomed the initial findings of the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE).

Its blueprint for a new strategic research agenda calls for a consistent and co-ordinated R&D drive at national and EU level, in both public and private sectors, with integrated technological platforms, large scale research test-beds, joint trans-national R&D projects and schemes to nurture bright ideas and foster innovation and technology transfer.

ACARE proposes the launch of an ad-hoc Forum with Member States to improve research infrastructures. A new Aeronautics Contact Point information network should help make the most of EU know-how in this field. New technologies should be validated through a EU-wide certification system. ACARE also recommends upgrading skills and human resources in this sector, for instance by fostering mobility of researchers and life-long training.

Speaking from the Farnborough International Air Show in the UK, Commissioner Busquin said: "I welcome ACARE's findings. They are consistent with our 2020 vision for aeronautics and the STAR 21 report ("Strategic Aerospace Review for the 21 st Century") released last week. All agree on the need to step up research in this sector. The success of our aeronautics industry today depends on research investments made 15 years ago. Unless we invest more in R&D today and adopt a consistent approach at EU level, we compromise the sector's future. In a global and highly competitive market, European enterprises cannot be successful without joining forces with the EU and Member States. Building on a vision for aeronautics in the 21 st Century, we can avoid duplication and waste of resources, and pool forces to reach a critical mass at the European level. The 6 th EU Research Framework Programme (FP6 2002-2006) will allocate € 1.075 billion to aerospace-related research. But on top of funding and access to finance, the sector needs regulatory and policy support, to help create a true aeronautics industrial platform at EU level."

According to ACARE, the aeronautics industry, after the start-up "heroic age" and the "commercial age", is now entering a new phase of "sustainable growth". A step change is needed in different areas, such as air traffic management, propulsion and aerodynamics, to meet the sustainable "Vision 2020" challenges. In concrete terms, this means an acceleration of the research effort. The research system has to be better organised and more efficient, so as to obtain more research for money, and more money for research.

A thriving aerospace industry is a key factor in helping Europe meet the March 2000 Lisbon Council goal of becoming the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010. The United States spends twice as much on non-military aeronautics research, and 14 times as much on military R&D, than the EU. Thereby ACARE strongly supports the March 2002 Barcelona Council objective of raising average EU R&D spending to 3% of European GDP by 2010. ACARE, like the STAR 21 report, points to a target figure of € 100 billion to be invested in aeronautics R&D.

ACARE: membership and mission

ACARE was launched last year at the Paris Air Show.

ACARE has 30 members including representatives from EU Member States, the Commission, the EU aeronautics industry and users. ACARE meets several times a year, with the primary mission of defining and implementing the aeronautics strategic research agenda.

Joining Commissioner Busquin at the Farnborough event were Mr Walter Kröll, Chairman of ACARE and Chairman of the Helmholtz-Gemeinshaft Deutscher Forschungszentren (HGF, Association of German Research Centers), Mr Jean-Marc Thomas, Vice-Chairman of ACARE and Vice President of EADS, and Jean-Paul Béchat, Chairman & CEO, SNECMA Group and AECMA President.

For further information please visit the following websites:

EU aeronautics research policy #top

"European Aeronautics: Vision for 2020"



DN: IP/02/1121 Date: 23/07/2002

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