The Advisory Council for Aeronautical Research in Europe (ACARE) was established with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of aeronautical research in Europe. ACARE's mission was to establish and carry forward a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) that will influence all European stakeholders in the planning of research programmes in line with Vision 2020 and the goals it identifies. The objective of the project ASTERA-2 is therefore to provide the relevant support to ACARE in the pursuit of this aim, and for this support to be responsive to ACARE's requirements.
The project objective is to provide administrative and management support to ACARE in its mission to create, maintain, update and implement its Strategic Research Agenda (SRA).
The Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) is used as reference by all ACARE stakeholders to formulate European, National and private research programmes. The project activities are based upon the current understanding of ACARE's needs whilst still containing an element of flexibility to meet new and emerging requirements. It comprises four main elements:
- Co-ordination and analytical support in order to assess the rate/depth of implementation of the technical and institutional goals identified in the SRA. Technical monitoring addresses SRA goal achievement through stakeholder research programmes and the resultant technology development areas. The institutional monitoring will follow a similar path with clear mechanisms identified against which progress will be measured.
- Technical support in terms of an information base and a set of management aids. It will undertake relevant studies, an example set are given in the work plan. It will establish a series of future air transport system scenarios through key factors affecting future development, their inter-relationships and resulting technology needs. It will create a set of modelling tools that will make use of the results of existing analyses/models and the results of the scenario exercise, to enable the evaluation of research options in terms of their meeting the identified technology needs.
- Assistance to ACARE in the preparation and dissemination of the SRA, through provision of a professional editing service and the holding of dissemination workshops throughout the ED and US, in order to present the scope and benefits of the SRA.
- Provision of project management support and administrative services to ACARE and its Working Teams, including planning and control of this support, the arrangement of meetings and the use of data.
The key results of ASTERA 2 are:
- SRA-1 has been a success and this has contributed to SRA-2. SRA-1 has been adopted as the reference for a number of national and institutional bodies that have established their research programme using it as a guide, encouraging the transparency of programmes and collaboration. The Agenda is expected to improve the efficiency of the research process and to highlight those activities that are most value-adding and also those which are duplicative for no good reason. The Agenda will give a strong, common background for this.
- Air transport is in itself a significant contributor to European wealth. The resultant benefit is spread across all Member States, either as a result of its direct contribution (2.6% GDP and 3 million jobs) or, even more importantly, as a consequence of its lubrication effect on all modern economies enabling our life-style and the way we do business. Its total contribution to the economy is estimated in excess of 10% of GDP.
- The Agenda is more robust. This edition of the Agenda reflects alternative socio-economic scenarios and their associated technologies in the holistic approach advocated by ACARE and it is thus more robust than SRA 1. It also provides an indication as to the importance of each separate technology and the timescale of its importance. It presents important new planning aids to research programmers.
- Implementation monitoring. The Observation Platform has been launched – it will provide a snapshot of current status, trend over time and together will guide and inform future research programmes and will facilitate better co-ordination.
P1: European research needs more money. Re-analysis has shown that, taking an encompassing view of the research needed and the necessarily associated facilities and demonstrators, about 65% more funding is now required over the 20 year forward view than is presently being invested. Whilst this expenditure is not evenly paced there is clearly and urgent need to see a reversal in the trend to decreasing amounts of research funding assigned to air transport research at national level-
P2: European research needs more people. The Industry may face a shortage of skilled young people in the future, partly due to demographics and partly due to the reduced attractiveness of the aerospace business as it may be perceived by young people. Future graduates will need additional skill sets most notably in multi-disciplinary approach, excellent communication skills, open-mindedness and cultural awareness.
P3: Research needs to be more efficient. The research funds used across Europe must be better coordinated with less duplication of work that has no justification for being conducted. This could perhaps start with areas of common societal interest (safety, security, environment, ATM). Some examples of progress are already evident such as the joint action between EUROCONTROL and the EC.
P4: Money alone is not enough. The creation and funding of research programmes will be to no avail unless European companies are encouraged to retain their European bases and to conduct their own research in Europe. In addition to the work outlined in the Agenda a number of policy actions are needed to ensure that the entire community involved in the aircraft and air transport sectors sustain a coherent and stable future. Part of this policy challenge is to ensure that the competition between major regions is recognised as a major factor in the development of industrial plans. Stability will be encouraged by equality of treatment both inside and outside of Europe.