The European Commission has unveiled 36 projects selected from the first EU-wide call for research proposals in aeronautics and air transport under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7).
Around €217m will be given to these projects from a total budget of €2.1bn available until 2013. The projects are now subject to final contract negotiations between the project teams and the European Commission.
This first call in the area of aeronautics received nearly 200 proposals. The 36 chosen are engaged in researching flight physics and alternative fuels; new systems to improve the safety of aircraft in bad weather; advances in ‘self repairing’ aircraft materials; and blast-proof cabin secondary structures. A number of projects targeted production and development costs of the airframe, structures, engines and components.
The projects include 26 collaborative research projects; six coordination and support actions aimed at encouraging the participation of SMEs; and four large projects aimed at bringing innovative technologies closer to market.
The four largest projects will receive half of the funding and include the DREAM (Validation of Radical Engine Architecture Systems) scheme and the MAAXIMUS (More Affordable Aircraft Structure through Extended, Integrated and Mature Numerical Sizing) project.
DREAM involves 47 partners from 13 countries and is led by Rolls Royce. It will develop new engine concepts based on open contra-rotating rotors, with a target of a seven per cent reduction in CO2 emissions and a three-decibel reduction in noise. It will also develop specifications for alternative fuels as well as assessing and testing future potential fuels. The project will receive around €25m from the EU budget.
MAAXIMUS has 58 partners from 18 countries and is led by Airbus. It will focus on improving the composition and design of fuselages to cut assembly time in half and reduce structural weight by 10 per cent with a lighter airframe leading to lower CO2 emissions. MAAXIMUS will receive around €40m.
‘Research holds the key to many of the challenges we face in today’s world, including how to make air transport safer, greener, quieter and more efficient,’ said European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potocnik. ‘The projects selected from the latest round of proposals all address one or other of these vital issues.’
The first projects should start their research in January 2008.