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International cooperation in aeronautics with Japan


Specific challenge: In order to leverage resources, mitigate risks and establish long term relationships, the European aeronautics sector should identify topics of common interest and mutual benefit with other regions of the world, in particular where these address societal challenges such as a worldwide safe and environmental-friendly air transport system, common standards (including for environmental aspects) and win-win situations for technological development. Aeronautics has inherently and increasingly an international dimension because almost all current aircraft programmes involve stakeholders from many different countries. Several areas of mutual interest with Japan have been identified through previous actions, such as the FP7 support actions SUNJET (EU-Japan) and IFARs (multinational aviation research forum). For the coming years, actions are called in the two following domains with Japan:

1.    To establish or deepen links with countries, building on previously established cooperation where relevant, with the aim to identify subjects of common interest and mutual benefit.

2.    To perform coordinated research and innovation actions on topics of common interest, involving the appropriate funding from both sides.

Scope: Proposals should address one of the two following domains, the first is opened in 2014 and the second domain is opened in 2015:

1.    Set up platform of communication between EU and Japan including research and innovation stakeholders (industry, research establishments, and academia) and aviation research and innovation funding authorities to maintain a common research and innovation roadmap. This could include organisation of workshops and short term studies to identify preferred areas of common interest and win-win situations, barriers and solutions for improved cooperation in research and technology development, and recommendations for future actions. Proposals should demonstrate good knowledge of research mechanisms in the EU and Japan and take into account past and on-going cooperation initiatives.

2.    The proposed research and innovation actions should address one of the following specific areas of common interest between Europe and Japan:

–      Future passenger-friendly cabin architecture and systems. Societal trends in demographics (e.g. aging population) and in behaviour (e.g. use of personal electronic devices) call for aviation to adapt towards a tailored passenger-experience. By taking into account societal demands, cultural specificities and technology strengths from Europe and Japan, research work should aim at innovative human-centred cabin space architectures and advanced on-board systems to enhance accessibility, safety, comfort, connectivity and availability of new contents and services. Aspects such as efficient cabin installation / re-configuration, power and data distribution, communications and electro-magnetic radiation should be addressed accordingly.

–      Lighter integrated heat exchanger systems. In order to decrease CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, future configurations will demand increasing levels of heat management e.g. for oil, fuel and air. Current heat exchanger systems will not be sufficient and new technological advances are required to comply also with other challenges, such as reduced space, weight and cost. Research work should aim at further developing technologies, at better integrating the components and at advancing manufacturing capabilities to enable compact low-cost heat exchanger systems.

–      Efficient composite structure manufacturing and monitoring. The increasing use of composite materials in aircraft calls for more efficient manufacturing processes in terms of resources, time and costs. In addition, the specific behaviour of composites in relation to high-temperature, lightning-strike, impact, etc. calls for better integrating structural health monitoring and protection mechanisms. Research work should aim at increased productivity, reliability and performance through new composite manufacturing and assembly processes for aircraft production.

–      Smarter flight control technologies for enhanced safety. Safety is embedded in aircraft design and operations making air transport the safest transport mode. Nevertheless, pilot assistance in case of exceptionally degraded flight conditions has potential to further enhance safety. Research work should aim at smarter flight control technologies such as fault-tolerant / adaptive control, in-flight self-learning systems and haptic interfaces for pilot assistance, especially at emergency situations.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 1.3 to EUR 1.8 million would allow each specific area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of other proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

Regarding domain 1, the action will contribute to deepen and widen cooperation with Japan and maintain a common research and innovation roadmap. Actions could assess their impact by estimating the volume / funding of research and innovation actions which could be undertaken in cooperation between EU and Japan.

Regarding domain 2, actions will demonstrate their potential to mature the level of readiness of technologies and concepts, identify how the project results will be of mutual benefit and evaluate the leverage effect resulting from the coordinating research and innovation funding of EU and Japan.

Type of action: 1) 2014: Coordination and Support Actions; 2) 2015: Research and Innovation Actions.