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Aeronautics and air transport

Programme Type
Funding programme
European (European)
European Union
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)


Background & Policy context

The European transport system is a vital element of European economic and social prosperity. It serves key roles in the transportation of people and goods in a local, regional, national, European and international context. This theme will address some of the ongoing challenges, as recognised in the White Paper on Transport (1), in improving the contributions that transport systems make to society and industrial competitiveness within an enlarged EU, whilst minimising the negative impacts and consequences of transport in relation to the environment, energy usage, security and public health.

A new integrated approach will be taken which links all transport modes, addresses the socioeconomic and technological dimensions of research and knowledge development, and encapsulates both innovation and the policy framework. The various technology platforms set up in this field (ACARE for aeronautics and air transport, ERRAC for rail transport, ERTRAC for road transport, Waterborne for waterborne transport, hydrogen and fuel cells) have elaborated long-term visions and Strategic Research Agendas (SRA) which constitute useful inputs to the definition of this theme and complement the needs of policymakers and expectations of society.

Selected aspects of the SRAs may justify setting up joint technology initiatives. ERA-NET activities present opportunities to facilitate further trans-national coordination for specific topics within the transport sector and will be pursued wherever appropriate. Activities of particular relevance to SMEs include efforts to ensure robust technology-driven supply chains in the various sectors. This will enable SMEs to access research initiatives; and facilitating the role and start-up of high-tech SMEs, particularly in the advanced transport technologies and 'services-related' activities specific to transport. It will also enable the development of systems and applications in satellite navigation domains.

Existing policy needs, as well as the development, assessment and implementation of new policies (for example maritime policy and the implementation of the Single European Sky), will be addressed within and across the different activity lines. The work will include studies, models and tools that deal with strategic monitoring and forecasting and will integrate knowledge relating to the main economic, social, safety, security and environmental issues for transport. Activities supporting crosscutting thematic topics will focus on transport specificities, for example security aspects as

Strategic Objectives

Contribution to the central objective of research under FP7 targeted to integrated European transport systems. Based on technological and operational advances and on the European transport policy, develop integrated, safer, ‘greener’ and ‘smarter’ pan-European transport systems for the benefit of all citizens, and society and climate policy, respecting the environment and natural resources; and securing and further developing the competitiveness attained by the European industries in the global market.

Programme organisation

The work programme includes the full range of research and technology development from basic research to large-scale technologies integration and validation activities in support of research as well as policy related activities, in particular in the area of airport capacity. In order to reflect the level of readiness of the developed technologies with respect to the final application that is commonly used in aeronautics, three Levels, detailed below, are used in each of the six proposed Activities. Within this structure, the proposed individual Topics are grouped in Areas.

Level 1
It comprises of the research and technology development activities that span from basic research to the validation of concepts at component or sub-system level in the appropriate environment through analytical and/or experimental means. The objective of these upstream research activities is to improve the technology base with proven concepts and technologies which could be eventually integrated and validated at a higher system level. Broad topics of investigation for Level 1 are identified in the corresponding part of the work program. For each one of the six Activities (see above list of Activities), the work program is divided in a number of areas, which in turn include a number of topic domains.

Level 2
It comprises of the research and technology development activities up to higher technology readiness, centered on the multidisciplinary integration and validation of technologies and operations at a system level in the appropriate environment (large-scale flight and/or ground test beds and/or simulators). The objective of these focused downstream research activities is to produce proven multidisciplinary solutions that work reliably in integration at the scale of a system. Specific topics for Level 2 are identified in the corresponding part of the work program.

Level 3
It comprises of the research and technology development activities up to the highest technology readiness, focusing on the combination of systems and the final proof in the appropriate operational environment of the comprised technologies in fully integrated system of systems.

The following six activities will contribute to key Community policies as well as to the implementation of the ACARE Strategic Research Agenda. The quantitative objectives correspond to the 2020 time horizon of this Agenda. The scope of the research includes all aircraft, passenger travel and airside related aspects of the air tr


Institution Type
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Programme funding arrangements and funding conditions

The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 4.16 billion for funding the Transport (including aeronautics) theme over the duration of FP7.

Total Budget
EUR 4.16 billion
Participating countries


Mr Tiit Jurimäe
European Commission, Research Directorate-General (DG RTD)

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