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Promoting European - South African Research Cooperation in Aeronautics and Air Transport

Final Report Summary - AEROAFRICA-EU (Promoting European - South African research cooperation in aeronautics and air transport)

The intention of the AEROAFRICA-EU initiative is to create a platform for enhancing aeronautics and air transport research and development (R&D) cooperation between the European Union (EU) and South Africa (SA), and to explore the potential for and, where appropriate, to promote the participation of other African countries in such cooperation. In pursuance of its objectives, the AEROAFRICA-EU team realised a number of achievements over the duration of the project (February 2009 - April 2011).

A comprehensive desktop analysis was undertaken to obtain information on the aeronautics and air transport R&D competencies, capabilities and activities within the South African government, research and private sectors. The data obtained were used to create a mapping database.

In support of the project activities, the project website (see http://www.AEROAFRICA-EU.org online) was developed. This website is the project's primary means of disseminating information on project activities, news in the field, up-coming events of interest to the community and other stakeholders, and provides links to important documents. AEROAFRICA-EU also produced a number of other dissemination materials / instruments, including brochures, posters, banners, newsletters, CDs, catalogues and a partner search database.

AEROAFRICA-EU hosted and / or participated in more than sixteen awareness development events in support of addressing the project objectives. Four thematic-focused workshops, with the aim of identifying areas of mutual priority and technological interest and to discussing mechanisms to best facilitate African-EU collaboration, were organised and held in Europe and Africa. These thematic workshops led to a number of collaborative EU-SA/African initiatives.

AEROAFRICA-EU acted as a facilitator for African R&D actors to enter Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) consortia. Information was disseminated on different aspects of FP7; including details on the technical work programmes, funding mechanisms, legal aspects and intellectual property rights. Two call analysis and training workshops and a number of one-on-one information sessions, were held. AEROAFRICA-EU represented SA R&D organisation interests, at the European Commission (EC)'s FP7 Transport Days and the brokerage events hosted by the ETNA network, in Brussels, Belgium. Other forums were also used to disseminate information. An interactive CD detailing participation in FP7 Transport (aeronautics and air transport) Theme was developed, as well as a FP7 page on the project website. The AEROAFRICA-EU circulation list (> 600 subscribers) and the website were also used to announce FP7 developments.

EU-SA collaboration was further strengthened through bilateral cooperation arrangements: four memorandums of understanding are in negotiation / were concluded between EU and SA institutions. These engagements constitute a foundation for further collaboration between EU and SA / African entities.

AEROAFRICA-EU facilitated a seminar in SA presided over Dr Andras Siegler, Director of Transport, DG Research, EC. Dr Siegler and Prof. Auf der Heyde, Deputy Director-General, International Cooperation and Resources signed a joint statement on behalf of the EC's Transport Directorate of DG RTD and the SA Department of Science and Technology, whereby the parties agreed to promote transport research between SA and the EU.

Following inputs from consultations with SA and EU aeronautics and air transport R&D representatives, a strategic framework for promoting SA - EU R&D cooperation in aeronautics and air transport was produced. Several key recommendations were made and a joint EU-SA workshop proposed to further explore these options, and define and constitute mechanisms for achieving the proposed actions.

AEROAFRICA-EU represents the first attempt to significantly capture the aeronautics and air transport capabilities and needs of the EU and SA in a complementary manner, useable as qualitative tools to enhance further co-operation.

Project context and objectives:

By the very nature of the skills and technologies involved, the world-wide aeronautics industry is a powerful driver of innovation across the industrial base. The air transport industry makes a significant contribution to the prosperity of Europe, both in terms of a globally competitive manufacturing sector providing goods and services, and also in terms of promoting the effective transfer of people and goods within Europe and globally. Over recent years, the European Union (EU) transport industry has changed under the impact of the internal market and of globalisation. Transport is a high-technology industry, making research and innovation crucial to its further development and conducive to European competitiveness, environmental and social agendas. European transport research has a role to maintain and increase the efficiency of the different transport modes, as well as their interaction and to foster progress. Technological progress, the organisation of transport and understanding the supply and demand factors are key elements in European transport research.

The Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe Technology Platform (ACARE) defined a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) that elaborates the long-term vision and strategic research agenda that constitute useful inputs to the approach and activities of the Transport Theme, and complement the needs of policy makers and expectations of society. ACARE's SRA elaborated upon future expected or potential technology requirements in the air transport sector; the major priorities constituting the 'greening' of transport, strengthening competitiveness and efficiency, and responding to the increasing demand for mobility and higher safety standards.

These priorities are encompassed in the overall objective of FP7 Transport Theme, namely based on technological and operational advances and on the European transport policy, develop integrated, safer, 'greener' and 'smarter' pan-European transport systems for the benefit of all citizens and society and climate policy, respecting the environment and natural resources; and securing and further developing the competitiveness attained by the European industries in the global market. FP7's Transport Theme, in agreement with the ACARE's SRA, addresses six activities in regards to aeronautics and air transport:

- the greening of air transport;
- increasing time efficiency;
- ensuring customer satisfaction and safety;
-improving cost efficiency;
- protection of aircraft and passengers, and
- pioneering the air transport of the future.

It is acknowledged that for the EU to become more competitive and play a leading role at world level, it is necessary for it to strengthened international research cooperation so as to reap the full benefits of internationalisation of research, technology and development, to contribute to the production of global public goods, and to further integrate the European Community into the world-wide research. international cooperation activities are, thus, encouraged in the FP7 transport theme.

The role of science and technology (S&T) is also being recognised to a greater extent in Africa. At continental, regional and national levels, African countries have begun to prioritise science and technology as important factors in efforts to attain the millennium development goals and to transform Africa's science and technology consolidated plan of action.

S&T is also gaining increasing focus as part of European - Africa cooperation programmes, with greater focus in S&T cooperation with Africa through collaborative R&D programmes and through development cooperation instruments.

The relationship with the EU is one of South Africa (SA)'s most strategic partnerships in international S&T relations. The first intergovernmental agreement concluded between the EU and SA, the agreement on science and technology cooperation was signed in 1996. Results of collaborative initiatives supported under the EU cooperation agreement have been recognised as not only significantly contributing to enhancement of the international knowledge base and human resource development, but also contributing markedly to improving the quality of lives of both SA and Europeans.

SA has relatively strong industrial capabilities; increased global competition, however, requires not only the strengthening of current capabilities, but also the development of new ones. There has been an accelerated effort amongst various SA government departments, in close consultation with industry and other stakeholders, to consider the potential opportunity offered by the aeronautics industry to reposition this industry as an emerging priority sector for government. It is clear that the SA industry is becoming, and will continue to do so, more integrated into the European aeronautics community, through significant new developments which have been unlocked by various policies of the SA government.

In order to enhance the competitiveness of the EU and SA airspace industry, it is essential that fields of shared interest be explored and elaborated into feasible research actions that are of mutual interest and mutual benefit to the participants.

The agreement on science and technology cooperation concluded between the EU and SA, amongst other benefits, afforded SA researchers the opportunity to participate fully in the EU's Framework Programmes (FPs) for research and technology development (RTD). SA is one of the most successful third country participants of the FPs.

In response to the 'Stimulating research with international cooperation partner countries (AAT.2008.7.6)' call issued by the EC, the AEROAFRICA-EU consortium sought to leverage and optimise its resources, partnerships and networks so as to promote active and purposeful cooperation between the EU, SA, and as appropriate other African, organisations, researchers and policy-makers, thereby strengthening the competitive position of the European, SA and other African aeronautics industries, and contributing to the solution of global problems of air transport.

AEROAFRICA-EU overall objectives are:

- to explore the potential for enhancing cooperation through an analysis (mapping) of aeronautics and air transport R&D cooperation between the EU and SA, as well as other African countries;
- to develop and enhance networks and partnerships between EU, SA and other African researchers and organisations in identified technical themes ideally suited for mutually beneficial aeronautics and air transport R&D cooperation;
- to promote SA and African participation in the aeronautics and air transport activities of FP7 through focused information and advisory services; and
- to establish an aeronautics and air transport R&D policy dialogue between the EU and SA, as well as other African partners, so as to also support economic and development cooperation.

AEROAFRICA-EU combines the resources of seven international partners:

- the Department of Science and Technology (DST, South Africa)
- the National Aerospace Centre (NAC) (formerly the National Aerospace Centre of Excellence (NACoE)) acting through the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits) and as third party, Wits Commercial Enterprise (Pty) Ltd (South Africa)
- Aerospace valley (AV - France)
- Fraunhofer institute for chemical technology (Fraunhofer, Germany)
- Royal institute of technology (KTH, Sweden) and
- Cranfield University (CU, United Kingdom (UK)).

Specific objectives for the project included:

(i) undertaking a mapping of EU and SA/ African aeronautics and air transport EU research capabilities, analysis and correlation of the mapping data, and consultation with stakeholders in regards to the outputs;
(ii) developing a project information platform in the form of an informative and authoritative website and suitable dissemination material, and extending the search and database capabilities of this platform;
(iii) hosting / participating in events, both in SA (Africa) and in the EU so as to create and develop awareness of the AEROAFRICA-EU initiatives and its objectives, sharing experiences and learning in aeronautics and air transport, and interrogating and proposing topics promoting European-African cooperation;
(iv) implementing a high level advisory group with well-known aeronautics and air transport European and African experts from academia, research and industry whose members will assist in advancing the project's objectives and beneficial SA / African and European networks and partnerships;
(v) creating within the SA / African community a greater awareness of opportunities within the aeronautics and air transport activities of FP7 through focused FP7 information sessions and other interventions;
(vi) advancing SA / African - EU FP7 collaboration through promotion of African aeronautics R&D expertise to potential EU partners;
(vii) initiating policy dialogue so as to identify mutual aeronautics and air transport R&D needs and priorities and advance cooperation between the EU and SA and other African countries.

Project results:

In pursuance of its objectives, the AEROAFRICA-EU team realised a number of achievements over the duration of the project (February 2009 - April 2011). An overview of the project's major achievements is given below.

Mapping the aeronautics and air transport landscape

Collation and analysis of the various interactions between EU and SA (African) partners is essential to supporting and maximising efforts to develop and enhance collaborative relationships between EU and SA / African researchers and institutions, so as to facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge, lead to the creation of programmes directed at solving challenges with global significance or that mutually impact on the participants, and nurture the development of scientific excellence.

A comprehensive desktop analysis was undertaken to obtain information on the aeronautics and air transport R&D competencies, capabilities and activities within the SA government, research and private sectors. The data obtained were used to create a mapping database. Relevant EU and FP7 initiatives / projects have been mapped against the SA contacts as part of the process. A consultation workshop was subsequently held with participants in the mapping exercise and inputs obtained from stakeholders. The database was subsequently revised and supplemented. Attendance of various events was used to inform and alert the community as to the database and to solicit further inputs for the database. Based on the information and data collected, two versions of the SA Aerospace Research and Development Catalogue were published (short and more detailed version). A CD of the short version catalogue was also produced.

Thematic areas and topics for SA - EU collaboration were identified from the inputs received for the database and as part of the activities of the workshops and meetings that the project consortium hosted / participated in during the course of the project. These themes / topics formed the basis for programme development for the thematic workshops and for proposals for potential SA-EU collaboration.

In support of the project activities, the project website (see http://www.AEROAFRICA-EU.org online) was successfully developed and launched in May 2009.

The AEROAFRICA-EU website is the project's primary means of disseminating information on project activities, news in the field, up-coming events of interest to the community and other stakeholders, and provides links to important documents. The website was subsequently supplemented and enhanced, with new functionality added: an online mapping / catalogue and database with associated applications, a documents depository, a section on multi / bilateral cooperation and revisions and updating of the FP7 pages. Website hits grew 3-fold over the project duration; from an average 4800 hits at the start of the project to an average 15 300 hits recorded on completion of the project. Visitors from 75 countries representing academia, industry, policy-makers and civil society, visited the AEROAFRICA-EU website.

As part of establishing the AEROAFRICA-EU 'brand' a logo was designed for the project and AEROAFRICA-EU posters and banners were created and used extensively for various events.

Development and enhancement of networks and partnerships

Activities in support of the key objective were strongly linked to major international events in Europe, as well as Africa. The integration of the project activities with these events ensured the potential of highest participation and maximum attention of experts from academia, research, industry, and the policy and funding communities.

The project was launched at an event held in Brussels in June 2009.

AEROAFRICA-EU hosted and / or participated in a number of awareness development events in support of addressing the project objectives; these included:

- presentation at the SAMPE Europe International Conference SEICO, Paris, France in March 2009;
- project showcasing as part of the Fraunhofer booths at the:

- Journal and Exhibition on Composites Show JEC, Paris, France in March 2009 and March 2011
- Composites Europe in Stuttgart, Germany in October 2009 and in Essen, Germany in September 2010
- K2010 - International Trade Fair No. 1 for Plastics and Rubber Worldwide in Düsseldorf, Germany in October 2010;

- project showcasing as part of Fraunhofer and Aerospace Valley booths at the International Paris Air Show - Le Bourget, Paris, France in June 2009. Representatives from the NAC also attended the show and held discussions with various relevant actors in the international aerospace community;
- attendance of the Aerospace Testing, Design and Manufacturing, Munich, Germany in April 2009;
- presentations and session-hosting at the International Aerospace Symposium of South Africa (IASSA). Three of the AEROAFRICA-EU consortium members participated in the conference's technical sessions. In addition, AEROAFRICA-EU organised and hosted a special IASSA session. More than 60 attendees participated in the session entitled 'Aerospace technology - Enhancing our partnerships'. A high level of discussion and participation took place both after each presentation, as well as during the panel discussion on 'International partnerships and SA aerospace R&D - The way forward'. AEROAFRICA-EU subsequently exhibited at the IASSA event held in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2010;
- attendance of the ILA Berlin Air Show, Berlin, Germany in June 2010;
- attendance of the Farnborough International Air Show, Farnborough, United Kingdom in July 2010 and project showcasing at the event as part of the Cranfield booth;
- project showcasing as part of NAC exhibit at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD), Cape Town, South Africa in September 2010;
- exhibiting at Aeromart International Business Convention, Toulouse, France in November 2010;
- presentation at the Aeronautics Days, Madrid, Spain in March 2011.

Exhibiting and / or participation in these events provided opportunities to showcase the AEROAFRICA-EU initiative and topical EU-SA collaborative research projects

Thematic-focused workshops were organised and held in Europe and Africa, based on inputs from the mapping and consultation exercises. The aim of these workshops was to identify areas of mutual priority and technological interest and to discuss mechanisms to best facilitate African-EU collaboration.

The Cranfield AEROAFRICA-EU Roundtable Meeting, which took place in July 2010 in the UK, focused on advanced technologies and advanced manufacturing. Topics included unmanned vehicle and sensors and titanium tooling and machining of complex shapes. Discussions also took place on the potential for participation of SA entities in the fourth FP7 calls for proposals in the Transport (including aeronautics) theme.

The 'Promoting European and SA research cooperation in aeronautics and air transport' technical workshop, hosted at the ONERA Toulouse Centre in France in December 2010, was aimed at identifying areas/topics in aeronautics and air transport for mutual collaboration - for the fourth and fifth FP7 calls, looking forward to Horizon 2020, and potential bilateral cooperation initiatives that could springboard into FP involvement. Two technical sessions were hosted: aircraft design and tools and aero-structures and production. A demonstration of design software tool CEASIOM software and a technical visit of the Airbus A380 final assembly line also formed part of the programme.

Both thematic workshops resulted in possible leads for collaborative EU-SA initiatives. Leading from the Cranfield discussions, a bilateral initiative is currently in negotiation, whilst the interactions held in Toulouse resulted in a successful FP7 research project, with advanced discussions underway on possible bilateral programmes.

Plans were progressed for a workshop on air traffic management (ATM). Unfortunately, due to events external to the project's influence, it was not possible to host this workshop. Renewed interest has, however, been indicated, and it is anticipated that this initiative will take place at a future date.

Topics / areas for EU-SA collaboration were also discussed as part of the 'Perspectives for strengthening aeronautics and air transport research cooperation between SA and the EU' seminar held in Pretoria, South Africa in October 2010. The seminar provided excellent insight to EU priorities in aeronautics and air transport research and innovation. The seminar audience were enlightened as to the various initiatives in the EU and advised on mechanisms and means of participation in such initiatives. SA presenters representing the private sector, academia and science councils provided information on SA R&D capabilities, resources and activities in air transport and.

Similarly, potential EU-African areas of cooperation were highlighted at the workshop on 'Promoting African and European research cooperation in aeronautics and air transport' held in April 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The workshop provided a framework for thematic discussions on aeronautics and air transport R&D being conducted in SA, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya and Uganda. Perspectives were also provided for the EU. Technical presentations, as well as overviews of R&D activities for the specific countries, were made by the representative researchers.

The Pretoria seminar led to the inclusion of a SA organisation in a consortium that submitted a level 2 proposal for the fourth FP7 Transport call, whilst the Johannesburg workshop provided the springboard for discussions on collaborative South-South, as well as North-South, R&D initiatives in air transport and aeronautics.

AEROAFRICA-EU solicited inputs from several well-known and networked European and African experts from academia, research and industry. These experts assisted in advancing the project's objectives; in reviewing and advising on project activities; in advocacy on behalf of the project and its stakeholder communities; in assisting to identify and select suitable and sustainable themes for R&D cooperation, and as appropriate, acted as match-makers advancing SA / African and European partnering. Agreement in principle was also reached in respect of establishment of a 'Long term advisory group' for fostering European-African cooperation in the future.

Consolidation and mobilisation towards supporting European FP7

One of the main objectives of the AEROAFRICA-EU was to raise awareness within the African R&D community of the EU FP7 in general and in the thematic area 'aeronautics and air transport' in particular. Vice versa, the project also sought to promote African, and in particular SA, aeronautics R&D expertise in Europe. In many instances, so as to optimise resources and maximise impact, activities in support of this objective were integrated with events associated with other project objectives.

AEROAFRICA-EU offered services related to the dissemination of information on different aspects of FP7. This information included details on the technical work programmes, but also covered for example, funding mechanisms, legal aspects or intellectual property rights. In general, the AEROAFRICA-EU initiative acted as a facilitator for African R&D actors to enter FP7 consortia.

Two call analysis and training workshops, to create awareness around the FP7 third calls for proposals in the Transport (including aeronautics) Theme, were held in September 2009, in Pretoria and Stellenbosch, South Africa. Presentations covered an overview of AEROAFRICA-EU, FP7 call analysis, FP7 project processes and DST supporting instruments. The workshops were well attended and interest generally was high.

Information gathered from the analysis and training workshops was used to populate the mapping database, as well as prepare for the FP7 Transport Day and Brokerage event hosted by the EC and the ETNA network respectively, in Brussels, Belgium in September 2009.

AEROAFRICA-EU presented at the ETNA event and also provided partner profiles of SA organisations interested in joining consortia making submissions for the third FP7 call. The project, its objectives and the aspiration for increased SA (African) collaboration with EU partners, especially within the context of FP7, were also highlighted at a cocktail reception organised at the SA Embassy in Brussels, Belgium in September 2009. As an outcome of hosting / participating in these events, several European organisations indicated interest in possible partnering with SA organisations.

The fourth call for proposals for the FP7 Transport (including aeronautics) Theme concentred mainly on level 2 research topics in aeronautics and air transport. Discussions and consortia addressing this call were initiated early in the process; entry of SA organisations into these consortia was consequently challenging. AEROAFRICA-EU again participated in the FP7 Transport Info Day and also presented the project and potential partner profiles in the context of the 'ETNA brokerage event' in July 2011, in Brussels, Belgium. There were a number of European organisations that indicated an interest in potentially collaborating with SA partners and a contacts list was compiled and circulated.

Opportunities for SA participation in FP7 consortia were also solicited at the:

- ETNA Network Technical Forum held on 8-9 March 2010 in London, UK
- Cranfield AEROAFRICA-EU Roundtable Meeting, July 2010, UK
- Promoting European and South African Research Cooperation in Aeronautics and Air Transport Technical Workshop hosted at ONERA, December 2010, Toulouse, France.

The project also featured in the Parliament Magazine's Research Review, where a short communiqué was compiled on the project and its key activities and the FP aeronautics and air transport projects, in which SA organisations participate, were highlighted.

In response to the July 2010 call, the consortia chose not to host general FP7 and call information sessions in SA, but rather to target organisations with the potential to engage in the call topics and engage one-to-one.

The SA and African aeronautics and air transport R&D communities were, however, kept appraised of the opportunities for collaboration in the FP through the following:

- Development and dissemination of an interactive CD detailing participation in FP7 Transport (aeronautics and air transport) Iheme. The CD is intended to serve as a depository of relevant information on the FP.
- Use of the AEROAFRICA-EU circulation list (> 600 subscribers) and website to announce / highlight FP7 developments. Revision and supplementation of the FP7 page on the website.
- Information provided at the AAD exhibit in September 2010, Cape Town, South Africa.
- Awareness raising as part of AEROAFRICA-EU Seminar, October 2010, Pretoria South Africa.
- Information provided at the IASSA exhibit, November 2010, Cape Town, South Africa.

As an outcome of these engagements and the efforts of project champions and partner representatives, SA organisations participated in three consortia making submissions in response to the FP7 July 2010 call, with two submissions being successful.

Opportunities from Marie Curie calls for international exchanges, especially the IRSES call, were also promoted to the community.

The AEROAFRICA-EU 'Promoting African and European Research Cooperation in Aeronautics and Air Transport' workshop, held in April 2011 in Johannesburg, SA, provided a platform for African aeronautics and air transport researchers to share their research work. The African representatives, from Egypt, Kenya, Tunisia, Uganda, and SA, were also introduced to the FP and the potential for R&D collaboration between Africa and the EU in the areas of aeronautics and air transport. Opportunities for participation in the July 2011 FP7 aeronautics and air transport call were emphasised.

AEROAFRICA-EU representatives and SA researchers attended the Aerodays, March 2011, Madrid Spain. The researchers not only represented their organisations in the selected technical areas, but also engaged on behalf of the greater R&D community. A presentation was made highlighting the AEROAFRICA-EU initiative and the SA skills, capacities, resources and R&D areas of interest in aeronautics and air transport. It is hoped that the contacts made at this event will facilitate the development of SA EU collaborations.

In support of promotion of the project, its objectives and activities, building awareness of SA organisations and promoting R&D collaboration in aeronautics and air transport between SA and EU, AEROAFRICA-EU produced a number of dissemination instruments. Two project brochures and annual project newsletters were also designed and published. The project information platform was enhanced, by extending the dedicated project website to include a searchable expertise database on the capacities of African R&D actors. As part of this activity, a profile page was created, facilitating the provision of organisational information and allowing for easy uploading to the AEROAFRICA-EU database. An MS Access database was also created for easy maintenance of information and development of reports. The organisational catalogues were also made available online via the website. In addition, an interactive catalogue CD was developed for dissemination.

Regular contact and information sharing was maintained with the AEROAFRICA-EU community (circulation list in excess of 600 subscribers) through e-mail communiqués.

Identification and demonstration of mutual interest and benefit in S&T cooperation

AEROAFRICA-EU's intent was on highlighting and improving existing S&T cooperation in the aeronautics domain between the EU and SA and other African countries and on identifying mutual needs and priorities, and instituting actions to address these, so as to derive mutual benefit. Activities in support of these aims are also embedded in the actions of other project objectives.

Contributions were made to the outlined objectives through the creation of the mapping database and partner profiles and through development of a 'contacts list' that facilitated matching and collaboration of SA and EU organisations. To facilitate and develop an awareness of bilateral cooperation instruments between SA and EU Member States, a page was developed on the AEROAFRICA-EU website, highlighting the various existing S&T agreements.

Opportunities to initiate and broaden current collaborative initiatives, as well as develop new collaboration frameworks were promoted through the hosting of and participation in the various workshops and meetings as discussed. Efforts towards identifying research areas of joint research needs and priorities and developing of research agenda to address requirements were undertaken through leveraging targeted initiatives and through engaging with groups of researchers.

AEROAFRICA-EU was kept abreast of actions of the EU aeronautics and air transport technology platforms through the involvement of consortium partners in these initiatives, as well as through the support, advice and championship provided to the project by its European academic, research and industry experts. The project also engaged in the ETNA brokerage events and with the CAAST-NET ERANET and ABEST II support action.

These activities were important in maintaining the overall profile of the project, its objectives and activities, as well as informing the consortium on potential areas where there exists mutual need and interest.

EU-SA collaboration was further strengthened through bilateral cooperation arrangements. In this regard, four memorandums of understanding have been concluded / are in negotiation between EU and SA institutions. Collaborative initiatives are being pursued to develop advanced capabilities and world leading applied research. Access to resources, as well as student / staff exchanges is also being undertaken as part of these programmes. These engagements comprise a foundation for further collaboration between EU and SA / African entities.

Dr Andras Siegler, Director of Transport (including aeronautics research), Directorate-General Research, EC, and Dr Arnoldas Milukas, Head of Unit: Horizontal Aspects and Coordination Transport visited South Africa in October 2010. The AEROAFRICA-EU consortium facilitated a seminar on 'Perspectives for Strengthening Aeronautics and Air Transport Research Cooperation between SA and the EU'. On conclusion of the visit, Dr Siegler and Prof. Auf der Heyde, Deputy Director-General, International Cooperation and Resources signed a joint statement on behalf of the Transport Directorate of DG RTD of the EC and the SA Department of Science and Technology (DST), whereby the parties agreed to promote transport research between SA and the EU. The recommendations from this meeting will form part of the EU-SA Joint Science and Technology Coordination Committee (JSTCC) discussions going forward.

Following inputs derived from the various consultations with SA and EU aeronautics and air transport R&D representatives throughout the duration of the project, a draft framework was created and formed the basis for the discussion with representatives from government, academia, science councils and industry. A subsequent refined, interim Strategic Framework for Promoting South Africa - EU Research and Development Cooperation in Aeronautics and Air Transport was produced. The key recommendations arising from this process are:

- maintenance of a focused, well-coordinated initiative achieved through policy dialogues between SA and the EU;
- development and maintenance of strategic relationships with large EU OEMs;
- maintenance of these networks through frequent technical and policy level interaction and joint human capital development programmes;
- improvement in the levels of information sharing;
- an interaction structure, with identified instruments and programmes, was suggested for enhancing EU-SA interactions on aeronautics R&D.

A joint EU-SA workshop is proposed to further explore these options and, define and constitute mechanisms for achieving the above-mentioned.

Potential impact:

The AEROAFRICA-EU initiative represents the first attempt to significantly capture the aeronautics and air transport capabilities and needs of the EU and SA in a complementary manner, useable as qualitative tools to enhance further cooperation.

AEROAFRICA-EU used diverse platforms and delivery formats to convey information. AEROAFRICA-EU activities included support of its website, brochures, leaflets, posters; e-communiqués, training materials, etc. A crucial aspect of AEROAFRICA-EU was the promotion of the project and the EU-SA / African cooperative initiatives. The outcome of events and the promotion of AEROAFRICA-EU, its objectives and its activities were captured in both electronic and printed media.

AEROAFRICA-EU also utilised various briefings, forums, workshops, exhibitions and conferences to achieve its objectives, to convey the outcomes of its activities, and to promote the development of excellence. AEROAFRICA-EU also contributed to JSTCC meetings and events for the aeronautics and air transport EU national contact points (NCP) network.

Public access to information and the development of knowledge-based societies are key policy objectives of both the EU and SA. AEROAFRICA-EU activities included furthering policy sharing and debate between the EU and SA, and promoting joint identification of priorities for policy makers in the respective countries. The website, communiqués and various events were also used to share policy information to the end-user community, as well as the broader public. The various instruments employed by the project were intended to not only to disseminate information to the S&T community and government representatives, but to provide forums for participation of the non-governmental sector, the media, the private sector, and society as a whole. The dissemination instruments, therefore, were intended not only for sharing information with the end-user community, but also the broader public.

AEROAFRICA-EU is inherently about the use and sharing of knowledge. This intent was intrinsic to its activities and formulated into most of its deliverables. Similarly, AEROAFRICA-EU was in itself a disseminating instrument; all its objectives and activities were intricately linked with communication of information to the project team, to the EC, to the SA, African and EU research communities, to partners and networks, to the policy environment, to the general public, and to all other stakeholders.

The use and dissemination of the information and knowledge collected throughout the project after the official closure of the project is an important consideration of the project team. In this respect, plans have been implemented to maintain the project website for a period of 12 months after official closure of the project, whereafter the webpage will constitute a link on the DST / ESASTAP websites. Similarly, catalogue information will be updated and supplemented via the website, and the community will continue to be informed through e-communiqués during this period. Access to the project document depository, presentations and the like will, thus, continue for an indefinite period. The information and documents created and / or assembled by the AEROAFRICA-EU consortium will be shared, as appropriate, with other projects / stakeholders. These actions are, therefore, designed to maintain and grow the impetus of the AEROAFRICA-EU initiative and the original intent in establishing the project.

Relations with the EU are undoubtedly SA's most strategic partnership in international S&T relations. The SA government and the EC affirmed their commitment to closer cooperation on research issues during the Sixth annual meeting of the SA-EU JSTCC held in Brussels in 2007. The parties committed to 'pursue collaboration with renewed vigour, both within the context of FP participation, as well as through collaboration via other relevant instruments. AEROAFRICA-EU in supporting the realisation of the JSTCC actions, contributes to the commitments made during the meeting, thereby beneficially impacting on the SA-EU relationship.

AEROAFRICA-EU interventions have assisted national and institutional activities in the establishment of long term S&T partnerships and networks between scientists and institutions of SA and the relevant EU member states. These relationships facilitate access to knowledge and expertise that would otherwise not be available to the participating parties. This in turn promotes the development of a strong and coherent scientific and technological base, allowing for greater innovation and promoting competitiveness in the global economy.

AEROAFRICA-EU has, through the leveraging of resources with information and research platforms and the linking of NCP networks, promoted the exchanges of best practices, thereby enhancing systems and processes for the development of networks and partnerships between EU-SA third countries, and also facilitating greater FP7 participation. AEROAFRICA-EU activities in this regard are thus contributing to the internationalisation of the European Research Area (ERA).

AEROAFRICA-EU leveraged the potential synergies arising from the identification of areas of bilateral cooperation in aeronautics for R&D cooperation, into enhanced FP7 cooperation. AEROAFRICA-EU emphasised the opportunities and benefits associated with networking and partnership development. FP7 participation was introduced to all sectors of the SA aeronautics and air transport R&D communities, concomitantly addressed economic growth evolving from S&T innovations. Participation by SA in FP7 contributes to building research and development capacity, and enforces the requirement of greater government investment in S&T. The impact of involvement in FP7 and the enhancement of S&T capacity promote SA meeting its targets of investment in R&D. SA involvement in FP7 contributes to the EU's goals of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world and to strengthening international research cooperation so as to reap the full benefits of internationalisation of research, technology and development, to contribute to the production of global public goods, and to further integrate the European Community into the worldwide research.

Contact details:

Project website: http://www.AEROAFRICA-EU.org
E-mail: info@AEROAFRICA-EU.org and transport.ncp@esastap.org.za

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 234092

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    2 February 2009

  • End date

    1 May 2011

Funded under:

FP7-TRANSPORT

  • Overall budget:

    € 419 754,32

  • EU contribution

    € 363 165

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND JOHANNESBURG

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