Brussels, 28 Oct 2003
On 20 and 21 October, as the EU seeks to promote increased Russian participation in the 6th Framework Programme for RTD (FP6), representatives from Europe's leading aeronautics firms and research institutes met their Russian counterparts to discuss expanding collaboration. The event, co-sponsored by the European Commission and the Russian Aeronautics and Space Agency (Rosaviakosmos) comes in the run-up to next month's EU-Russia Summit, expected to result in a wide-reaching accord on scientific and technological co-operation.
In his opening speech, Alexander Medvedchikov, Deputy Director General of Rosaviakosmos, said, "Interest has been shown at the highest political levels for sustained EU-Russian co-operation in aeronautics and aviation research. Indeed, our close historical and cultural ties, our geographic proximity, and today's economic conditions leave us no alternative. Russia is already working in co-operation with many international partners and we believe FP6 presents many new opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships."
Just in time
Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Head of EU Aeronautics Research Herbert von Bose said, "Aeronautics is a frontline priority for the European Union. This meeting comes at an opportune moment, as FP6 represents the first time Russians can apply under the same conditions as EU Members for collaborative research funding in aeronautics.The next call for proposals is set to be announced soon (November 2003).
"Our priorities are based on the Strategic Research Agenda established by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) and in the broadest terms include meeting society's needs and winning global leadership for our industry. I want to make one thing clear: the EU is notbuying research. We want to help you to do what we believe is the right thing for our citizens - ensuring safety, protecting the environment and so on - and at the same time we want to help our companies to become more competitive in the global market. When the research is done the results will still belong to those who have done the work."
Herbert von Bose
A full programme
The two-day workshop highlighted new opportunities for co-operation between Europe and Russia in the aeronautics sector, informing the relevant communities of the aims of FP6, and providing a platform for the identification of concrete opportunities for collaboration. Attendees included representatives of all major European and Russian aeronautics players, including, from Europe, Snecma, Thales, AECMA, Dassault and Airbus, and from Russia, VIAM, TsAGI, CIAM and GosNIIAS, to name just a few.
After the opening plenary session, participants got down to work in individual sessions, covering:
- Structures and materials Session rapporteur Evgeny Kablov of VIAM said Russians could supply some key materials for European projects. Certification and adaptation to European use are priorities.
- Engine and environment Vladimir A. Skibin of CIAM said the workshop had served to establish ties of confidence. Discussions showed Russian and European researchers are close in both ability and interest and the possibilities for mutually beneficial co-operation are many.
- Equipment and ATM Thales' Thieu-Khanh Huynh said there was a clear convergence of Russian and European interests in this area. He cited several European projects to which Russians could potentially contribute immediately, including VICTORIA, AFAS and the forthcoming FLYSAFE. Evgeny A. Fedosov of GosNIIAS said there is a great potential for use of military equipment in civil aircraft.
- Aerodynamics According to rapporteur Adrian de Graaff, representing Dutch aeronautics researchers, Europe and Russia are on the same wavelength when it comes to advanced aircraft concepts. Current projects of particular interest are HISAC and NACRE. TsAGI's Sergey Chernyshev said the session had been focused and highly productive.
Who's who in Russian aeronautics research
The Central Institute of Aviation Motors is the only Russian research establishment engaged in the integrated study and development of aeroengines. Activities range from study of basic physical processes up to participation with industrial organisations in the manufacture, upgrading and certification of new engines.
The State Research Institute of Aviation Systems develops integrated avionics and flight and navigation systems for combat and commercial aircraft, including helicopters.
The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute was founded in 1918 under the initiative and leadership of N. E. Zhukovsky, the father of Russian aviation. Today's TsAGI is the largest scientific research centre in the world, combining basic studies, applied research, structural design, pilot production and testing.
The Institute of Aviation Materials, founded in 1932, carries out fundamental and applied research in a variety of materials-related areas. VIAM has concluded more than 60 contracts with leading non-Russian companies.
Closing on a high note
Day two featured presentations of long-term and future perspectives for aeronautics research. AECMA's Franco Zappala outlined ACARE's Strategic Research Agenda, currently guiding Europe's aeronautics research programmes.
Valery Voskoboynikov, First Deputy Director General of Rosaviakosmos,said the EU's FP6 has stimulated much interest and has met with a positive reaction from the Russian government. "With this meeting we are learning to understand and trust each other," he said. "Only through this kind of openness can we hope to move forward in co-operation. Ultimately this will benefit the people of Europe and Russia."
Herbert von Bose called the meeting a success. "This has been a good step," he said, "but only one step. We are now looking forward to a strong response to the next Aeronautics call and a high number of Russian proposals."