On 11 October 1994 seven European research institutes in aeronautics signed a formal Association Agreement in Brussels. The signing ceremony was attended by Prof. Antonio Ruberti, the Commissioner responsible for science, research and development. The Agreement, signed by the heads of research institutes in Italy (CIRA), Germany (DLR), the United Kingdom (DRA), Sweden (FFA), Spain (INTA), the Netherlands (NLR) and France (ONERA), represents the first stage in the implementation of a joint action plan for strengthening the European aeronautical technology base. During the signing ceremony, Prof. Ruberti remarked that "the Association Agreement is an important step forward towards a European aeronautics research community, reflecting established trends in both the civil and military aeronautical industries". He added that "the participation of the research institutes in aeronautical research activities to be supported under the European Union's Fourth Framework Programme would be an excellent opportunity to reinforce the new links". Progressive cooperation, including centres of excellence, work sharing and the deliberate creation of interdependencies, will enhance the institutes' specific strengths and individual resources in order to provide a more effective European research service to industry, airlines, governments and other interested parties. The envisaged future cooperation will emerge through a process of gradual adjustments and transformations that will require the active support of governments, industry and the European Commission. The Association Agreement represents the first stage in this process and contains the following aims: - To develop and carry out joint research programmes and technology acquisition projects in order to increase their scope; - To take effective measures for the rational use of resources by establishing a policy for the coordinated use of and investment in major facilities and experimental assets for common European requirements; - To broaden the exchange of qualified personnel. Steps have already been taken to promote and perform these joint activities. The European Union has recently committed ECU 230 million to aeronautical research within the RTD programme on industrial and material technologies (BRITE/EURAM III), to be carried out under the EU's Fourth Framework Programme. This programme is an important development for the further promotion of cooperation between the aeronautical industry and European research institutes.
Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden