The air transport sector is a major contributor to the globalization of the economy. Its growth was accompanied and to a certain extent caused by liberalization. The growth in traffic levels has led to congestion, at both major airports and in airspace, and to a lack of service on thin routes, thus mainly affecting core regions and remote regions. This Action investigates the relationship between air transport and regional development. The benefits that may be derived from it are both scientific and societal in nature. They include a better understanding of that relationship focusing on Europe; policy recommendations on how air transport infrastructure and service improvements should be made in order to support economic competitiveness and social cohesion; and the constitution of a network of researchers dedicated to air transport and its economic, social and environmental implications aligned with Europe 2020 strategy.
The objectives of this action are:
- Summarizing the existing knowledge about air transport and regional development focusing, on the one hand, on major airports, core regions (not only at the European level but also per country) and economic competitiveness and, on the other hand, on remote regions, low-demand routes and social cohesion.
- Designing a methodological approach for assessing the regional development impacts of air transport.
- Improving the existing knowledge base through on case studies carried out in the countries involved in the action. With the information available at this point with respect to participating countries, at least 45 case studies can be expected.
- Developing policy recommendations with respect to air transport related measures and actions needed to promote regional development particularly in core regions and remote regions.
- Identifying major areas for future research on the subject of air transport and regional development.
- 95% of COST participants say their careers developed and their prospects improved due to their involvement.
- During the 7th EU Framework Programme, COST Actions allowed the interconnection of EUR5 billion in national research and technology projects with a COST investment, as the ‘glue’ between them, of just EUR250 million.
- Competition for COST Actions is intense, highlighting demand and excellence: The success rate is 10%.
- COST Actions contribute to diversity in science: About 30% of participants are young researchers. Half the Actions include industry, large or small. All include researchers from at least five countries – and the average is 22.
- COST Actions have high impact in their fields. One Action, on photosynthesis, led to a new class of biosensors to monitor the environment and check food quality – and then, unexpectedly, suggested a new kind of light-harvesting cell for energy production. Another Action, on food safety and distribution, led to 29 research projects with EUR10 million in funding, a significant advance in nanotechnology-based food packaging technologies, and involved 13 companies alongside the researchers. Another Action, on honey-bee colony loss, produced a key international manual for studying this problem, and led to the creation of an international association for action. Yet another Action led to new statistical techniques adopted by the Swiss meteorological office in its national climate change strategy, and in flood monitoring on the Rhine and Aare rivers.