Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - BEWARE (Bridging East West for Aerospace REsearch)

Executive Summary:
The BEWARE project had set a mission to increase the participation of Eastern European regions in pan-European research activities through Horizon 2020 in the field of Aeronautics and Air Transport. The project targeted regions which had not managed to realize their full potential with respect to EU Framework Programme collaborative projects.
As it has been referred in the FP7 Work Programme of Transport under Topic AAT.2013.7-4 description, it is essential for all concerning parties to “put in direct contact potential coordinators and potential partners in future projects in the field of Aeronautics and Air Transport, which are established in regions that lack of mutual knowledge.” Herewith, the BEWARE project addressed the goal of the action referred in the Topic description and it was in conjunction to the recommendations provided by the Fifth Annual Report prepared by the Transport Advisory Group on the Development of the 7th Framework Programme, as it posed an excellent opportunity to:
• build familiarity and trust towards cooperation between industry and academia, Eastern and Western European countries;
• give regions/ industries (in particularly in the New European Member States) the chance/possibility to present their capabilities to their peers in Europe to identify high-potential aerospace players.

The BEWARE project was well-aligned with, and contributed towards the new research and innovation programme for 2014-2020, Horizon 2020, while tailored its approach according to the following challenges and obstacles stemming from the specific structure of the aeronautics sector:
• To increase the participation of partners from regions which have not yet managed to realize their full potential with respect to EU Framework Programme Collaborative Projects in the field of Aeronautics and Air Transport does require a functioning communication and support network as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular rely preferably on personal contacts.
• The competitiveness of those countries and regions, which have not yet realized their potential in EU Framework Programme Collaborative Projects, is primarily based on their innovation capabilities.
• Spiralling development costs and the decreasing number of aircraft manufacturers will require SMEs to form collaborating entities or rely on regional associations, aerospace clusters, which could take over a key supporting role, in case they want to survive.

Although the European aerospace industry naturally tends to be dominated by a few prime contractors, the supply chain of these OEMs is composed of thousands of smaller companies and research institutes that play a vital role in a high-tech sector, where state-of-the-art technologies are considered to be crucial for achieving decisive breakthrough. Aerospace sector experiencing an inflection in customers` preferences from performance to customization, small scale and narrow scope can be turned to decisive advantage. In that respect, in particular process innovation by small suppliers can be just as effective in helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) achieve significant cost and weight reductions of whatever they are producing. While positioning themselves at the cutting edge of innovation, SMEs often face serious challenges accessing aerospace industry and benefiting from pan-European research programmes. As stated by the European Commission while tackling an issue of SME`s in aeronautics2, aerospace research, in general, is particularly difficult and high-risk endeavour and the payday often years later while demanding considerable efforts and large R&D expenditures beforehand.

Project Context and Objectives:
The main mission of the BEAWARE project was to create contacts between the potential project coordinators and partners in the field of Aeronautics and Air transport (AAT) in order to increase the participation of the aeronautical organisations, especially from Eastern Europe and other countries with low participation in Collaborative Projects compared to their capacity, in the Framework Programme (FP).

According to the survey, Eastern partners were almost 15 times less successful in absolute terms, even though relative success rates were comparable to the Western counterparts. Given the latter fact, the BEAWARE project took necessary steps to activate organisations performing aeronautical research in regions with lower participation in AAT calls of FP by identifying and removing obstacles hindering more active participation and by facilitating direct communication between actors in Eastern and Western Europe.

In order to reach the general objective, a set of specific objectives were originally defined:
• Regional capacity mapping for identifying the potential AAT R&D projects’ coordinators and partners from Eastern European countries:
o To map 300 organisations in 10 aerospace regions;
• Organisation of workshops, B2B meetings and factory tours in order to build familiarity and trust towards cooperation between industry and academia, Eastern and Western European countries, as well as to give regions/ industries (in particularly in the New European Member States) the chance to present their capabilities to their peers in Europe to identify high-potential aerospace players:
o To organize 7 Workshops, Study and Factory tours;
o To identify at least 5 potential project consortiums in aeronautics.

The outcome of the set goals is a reinforced network of actors and widened opportunities in research and innovation that is also contributing to stronger European Research Area in the field of AAT.

Project Results:
Not applicable

Potential Impact:
The immediate impact of the BEAWARE project is manifested in its performance indicators:
• thematic mapping of competences of 296 organisations involved with aeronautical research in 11 aerospace regions (incl. nearly 250 from Eastern Europe, remaining from Andalucía) enabled to;
• To organize well targeted 7 Factory tours & Workshops with 417 participants from 26 countries attending the workshop sessions, 236 participants visiting factories and research labs (study tours), and 326 B2B meetings connecting companies and research organisations looking for new partners;
• And to structure innovation chains, which links aero-SME`s – almost 20 SMEs identified in the target regions with a high potential to integrate to innovation chains of OEMs
• For facilitating the emergence of new project consortiums in aeronautics with partners and coordinators from Eastern Europe – at least 10 new project consortiums (50% coordinated by an Eastern actor) and at least 1 project funded by the European Commission identified.
At the same time the sustainability of the results and long-term impacts have been of high priority to the project consortium:
• The mapping database contains public information about key technologies, skills and competences, as well as innovations of the respondents from the target regions. Such information has been made available to the BEAWARE partners from the leading Western aerospace clusters (Aerospace Valley, Pole Pegase, and Hamburg Aviation) and the database effectively serves as a tool for partner search. If a member organisation of the Western aerospace cluster builds up a consortium for collaborative research proposal and looks for partners with specific skills, technologies and competences from Eastern European countries, then the mapping database is used by cluster managers. Therefore, the collected data will be valorised beyond the lifetime of the BEAWARE project.
• The feedback forms of the BEAWARE events confirmed a high level of satisfaction of the attending companies and research organisations with the workshops and with the B2B sessions. There were several respondents who did not report immediate collaboration with new partners met during B2B sessions, but were positive about both, joint research projects in coming few years and about establishing business ties with newly found potential suppliers or customers. Even though the creation of collaboration between Eastern and Western European actors was the focal theme of the BEAWARE project, the project also contributed to the development of regional supply and innovation chains in Eastern Europe according to the feedback survey performed during the final month of the project.
• As a result of the activities of WP4, the best practices are available for existing and emerging clusters in Eastern Europe for improved and better targeted business support services. Almost 20 SMEs identified in the target regions with a high potential to integrate to innovation chains of OEMs like Airbus Helicopter or Lufthansa Technics. These SMEs are good candidates for more effective consultancy and mentoring services to be provided by their local clusters or business development organisations in the Eastern European countries beyond the lifetime of the project. The identified SMEs are technologically proficient, but must be reinforced from an organizational point of view in order to integrate to the innovation chains of the OEMs.

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Tõnis Eerme
T: +37253407861

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