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Air Transport Network – Next Generation

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Transnational cooperation to bolster research and innovation in aviation

The continued growth of aviation in Europe depends on key enablers such as improving the coherence and coordination of research and innovation (R&I) activities at national and EU levels. An EU initiative helped to achieve this.

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The EU-funded AIRTN-NEXTGEN project is the last in a series of initiatives on transnational cooperation in Europe. Its AIRTN predecessors successfully established and maintained an extensive network of aeronautics stakeholder groups. This network was set up to address research and technology developments in aeronautics and air transport management. AIRTN-NEXTGEN further developed the network, creating a platform for networking and communication between national organisations and governmental institutions. The aim is to enhance coordination and stimulate cooperation in R&I among Member States and Associated Countries in the field of aviation. Project partners created a database of existing information about national funding programmes in Member States and Associated Countries. Users can identify appropriate transport R&I funding sources. The database was regularly enriched with new funding instruments. Special emphasis was placed on regional funding programmes. Researchers carried out a feasibility study on ERA-NET Cofund actions in the aeronautics and aviation sector. They also studied R&I strategies for smart specialisation, and synergies between Horizon 2020 and European Structural and Investment Funds. The AIRTN-NEXTGEN team proposed mechanisms to stimulate transnational cooperation in education and mobility. The objective was to reinforce the industry, attract students to aviation, facilitate graduate fellows in aviation careers, and strengthen the link between academic and global aviation challenges. In addition, it updated the existing infrastructures catalogue that offers an overview of European research facilities and provides a basis for coordinating further development to achieve the goals set in Flightpath 2050 – Europe’s vision for air transport. AIRTN-NEXTGEN continued to build on improved transnational cooperation in aviation research, technological development and innovation. It will create opportunities for collaboration in order to launch aeronautical research that could not otherwise be performed independently because of financial or technical constraints.


Transnational cooperation, research and innovation, aviation, AIRTN-NEXTGEN, aeronautics

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