Europe has successfully managed, during the past decades, to ensure a world-leading position in the global civil Aeronautics and Air Transport (AAT) market. A substantial portion of this accomplishment should irrefutably be attributed to the excellently-trained human potential ensured through a number of world class European Universities offering aeronautics education. It has been realized, nonetheless, that during the recent years, both the European Aeronautics and Air Transport sectors have been facing tremendous societal, environmental and competitiveness challenges, as well as, concurrently, it has been noticed that aviation related studies are not considered as “prestigious” as other scientific fields such as medicine, law etc. As a result, the number and quality of aviation engineering students has not been keeping up with the evolving and increasing demand of the sector, to the point where the European Aviation industry has a shortage of highly skilled engineers.
Consequently, in order to reinforce and corroborate the global competitiveness of Europe in the
dynamic global market, it is imperative that the European aviation sector (i.e. Industry, Research
Establishments, Academia, etc.) improves the quantity, as well as the quality and skills of its
engineers and researchers on a high level. These should be able to promptly integrate, generate and implement the future technologies that will ultimately enhance the European global standing. Europe’s aviation must be underpinned by world class capabilities and facilities in research, development, test and validation, and should provide to the current and future employees of the sector a top level education that is adapted to its needs. Possessing both the right skills and a solid technological background when graduating, as well as being involved in life-long learning to maintain currency and capability, are arguably essential prerequisites for the future generations of aviation engineers, so that they are able to quickly integrate in the Aeronautical industry and become a useful part of this particularly demanding field of engineering.
The PERSEUS Coordination and Support Action, aims at firstly defining the evolving skill needs of the European aviation sector and subsequently at formulating strategic recommendations and corrective measures for the improvement and harmonization of the content of the curricula for aviation engineers towards the ultimate creation of an integrated European aviation education system, based on sound quality criteria capable of supporting the continuous improvement of the educational system in the sector.
The action will be developed in three distinct phases. The first phase is a conception phase. The learning outcomes and procedures will be defined looking at current practices and involving the main stakeholders of the higher education chain, from Universities to Industries and Research Establishments. The result should be a staged accreditation system, thereby gradually enhancing the quality level of the higher education degrees. The second phase is an implementation phase. The identified processes are tested on 6 aerospace curricula, from different EU countries. The third phase is a refinement phase. The results of the testing phase are compared to the expectations and the processes are updated taking into consideration the lessons learned from the testing phase. Suggestions for harmonizing the curricula and simultaneously developing knowledge and emerging technologies as well as facilitating students’ exchanges across the EU will be proposed. In parallel to the three phases, a dissemination and outreach activity is implemented to diffuse the culture of best practices among the EU higher education courses in the area of aerospace engineering and attract talented students to such studies.