Priority Thematic Area 4 falls under the Focusing and Integrating Community Research programme of the Sixth Research Framework Programme 2002-2006 (FP6). The priority thematic areas represent the bulk of expenditure under FP6. The intention is to focus Community research efforts to generate a substantial leveraging effect which, together with actions in other parts of FP6 and through open co-ordination with other regional, national, European and international frameworks, will result in a coherent and highly effective common endeavour.
Over the past few decades, Europe's outstanding technological and industrial capabilities in aeronautics and the exploitation of space have made important contributions to the standard of living and economic development and growth. Excellence in aeronautics and space can contribute to the creation of highly skilled jobs, improving the trade balance and competitiveness of other related economic sectors.
The Aeronautics and Space thematic priority 4 (PTA4) aims to integrate the EU's research efforts, thereby consolidating the position of the European aeronautics and space industry vis-à-vis increasingly strong global competition. Moreover, it aims to exploit the research potential in the Member States, candidate countries and other associated countries in this sector with a view to improving safety and environmental protection.
In their report 'Vision 2020', leaders of the European aeronautics sector highlighted the need to optimise EU and national research efforts around a common vision and a strategic research agenda. Following this approach, research will concentrate on four main strands. The scope of the research action spans commercial transport aircraft including systems and components, as well as the on-board and ground-based elements of air-traffic management systems.
The aim is to contribute to the implementation of the European Strategy for Space, particularly by targeting and focusing efforts with ESA and Member States on a small number of joint actions of common interest. A special emphasis is put on activities complementing those of space agencies (integration of terrestrial and space systems/services and demonstration of end-to end services). This includes the following activity areas:
- the European satellite navigation system GALILEO
- the evolution of satellite-based information services (GMES)
- satellite telecommunications.
The research activities carried out within this thematic priority area will include exploratory state of the art research on subjects closely related to one or more topics within it. Two complementary approaches are used: one receptive and open, and the other proactive.
The overall budget covering the four-year period 2003-2006 is EUR 1,182 million for PTA4.