ACARE (the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe) adopted a list of priority objectives for its future. One of them is to measure progress towards Vision 2020 goals. The AGAPE project was the logical continuation of a work package of the ASTERA 3 support action, aiming at the definition of the methodology that would enable periodical quantitative evaluation of the progress being achieved by European R&T activity towards the ACARE goals as defined in the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). AGAPE will perform the actual measurement.
ACARE (the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe) is the European Technology Platform for aeronautics and air transport and its purpose is to provide guidance for the future of the European aeronautics research aiming at two general objectives: to meet society's needs for an efficient air transport system and to achieve global leadership for Europe in civil aviation. These 2 overarching objectives are the cornerstones of the "Vision 2020" document produced back in 2001 by a Group of Personalities chaired by former Commissioner Busquin.
Vision 2020 sets very ambitious Goals addressing the breadth of the Air Transport challenges for a sustainable future: Environment, Safety, Air Transport Efficiency, Security and Quality & Affordability. In addition the Group of Personalities strongly recommended developing a long-term commitment by all stakeholders to work in close partnership and stressed the need for the creation of ACARE.
As part of its mission of supporting the fulfilment of the Vision 2020 Goals (also known as the ACARE Goals), ACARE has so far published two editions of its Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) which address the research needs of Europe in the field of air transport systems up to 2020. The first SRA was published in October 2002 and the second in October 2004. In this first SRA (SRA-1), it was acknowledged that the plan set out was ambitious and very challenging. Almost 10 years later and with 10 years to go before 2020, the Air Transport community considered it to be of prime relevance to take stock of the progress. Therefore it was decided that a proposal be submitted to an EC FP7 Call on "Evaluation of the impact of FP5 and FP6 projects in the field of Transport". The positive evaluation of this initiative lead to the funding of the AGAPE project. AGAPE stands for "ACARE GoAls Progress Evaluation" and the project ran for 2 years from 1st July 2008 to 30th June 2010.
The overarching objective of the AGAPE project was to implement a methodology to evaluate the progress being achieved in 2008/09 by European R&T activity towards the Vision 2020 Goals as defined in 2000 for the 2020 horizon. In other words the AGAPE project objective was to verify whether the current and planned R&T activities were meeting an ambition which is in line with the Strategic Research Agenda.
Methodology/ Work performed: the guiding principle of the methodology was to generate for each goal the following overview:
- What are the results achieved from 2000 to today?
- What are the results foreseen from on-going initiatives?
- What are the corresponding gaps?
To this end more than 150 experts were mobilised from the ACARE Stakeholder Community, taking part to dedicated Goal Groups in charge of one or more Goals progress evaluation. The objects of the analysis were primarily the research projects which have been undertaken in the period from 2000 (when the Vision 2020 was defined) to the current date. The experts reviewed material from research projects having been launched in Europe as part of:
- the European Commission Framework Programmes (in particular 5 and 6);
- the national programmes of the member states;
- the privately funded projects at company level.
Experts also reviewed the objectives of the projects planned for the future. Consensus has been built, based on this wide range of expertise, on actual as well as predicted performance against each goal using shared expertise and supported by modelling tools where appropriate and available.
The results of the AGAPE project were aimed to be of use to the ACARE Community to reflect on the progress and provide recommendations for the next steps.In order for ACARE to do so, a number of sub-objectives were set to the AGAPE project:
- generate an authoritative and consensual report to the benefit of the ACARE stakeholders including the European Commission;
- involve the wide range of ACARE stakeholders across Europe: manufacturing industry companies from all sectors, research establishments, universities, regulating agencies such as Eurocontrol and EASA, airlines, airports, etc;
- review the interdependencies between Goals as well as the influencing factors to progress.
Delivering progress is subject to the progressive materialisation of the technology performance up the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale. This technology maturation entails increased technical complexity and validation costs. This process is notably supported by large programmes such as SESAR and Clean Sky. Delivering progress is also subject to technologies actually introduced in operation.
Innovating for the future: A European Transport Research and Innovation Policy
Whilst the AGAPE analysis has shown that significant progress has been achieved and is underway for all of the Goals, it also outlined that more efforts are required for the Goals tobe fully reached at a uniform pace.