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EAG evaluates aeronautics key action

The formulation of the Key Action "New perspectives for aeronautics", with two strands of activities is adequate, according to the External Advisory Group (EAG), responsible for reviewing this, the fourth Key Action of the thematic programme "Competitive and Sustainable Growth...
The formulation of the Key Action "New perspectives for aeronautics", with two strands of activities is adequate, according to the External Advisory Group (EAG), responsible for reviewing this, the fourth Key Action of the thematic programme "Competitive and Sustainable Growth" under the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration.

The Key Action is divided into two activity strands:

- Acquisition of Critical Technologies (CT);
- Technology integration and validation on Technology Platforms (TP).

Although the EAG recognised these two stands, it had some recommendations regarding their definition. For example, the EAG advised that, in view of present budget expectation for the whole Key Action, four platforms should be launched in the first year. In addition, five platforms should be considered for launch in subsequent years, subject to confirmation by industry about its priorities and readiness.

In addition, taking into consideration the nature of the TP strand, the EAG advised that proposals should address in particular:

- The maturity of the technologies included and, where the technologies are still under development, assessment of the associated technical risks;
- The contemplation of alternative technologies and competition between different solutions to components of the platform.

Also, taking into consideration the special characteristics of this type of RTD activity, the EAG recommended that a specific mechanism for monitoring and reviewing these projects should be set in place.

The EAG also looked into the programming of calls for proposals and recommended that the budget for CT projects should be divided in three equal parts corresponding to three calls for proposals in the years 1999, 2000 and late 2001 or 2002. The first call for proposals should be opened to the whole of CT workprogramme.

Concerning TP projects, the EAG strongly recommended an emphasis on the first year in the distribution of the budget in order to achieve significant results within FP5. The Group favoured two calls for proposals, one in 1999 with 60% of the budget for TP projects and the other in 2000 with the remaining 40%.

Finally, the EAG looked into the participation of SMEs in the Key Action. Although the work programme covers the needs of SMEs for RTD, they need to have visibility of, and access to the content and the objectives of project proposals and to be encouraged to take part in them.

The EAG emphasised that SMEs should be included in the projects on the basis of the relevance and quality of contribution they would make. They should be expected to perform their element of the project effectively, according to the EAG.

Source: European Commission, DG XII

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