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Aeronautics research on the rise

A new approach to group and select SMEs related to the aeronautics industry has allowed five of these businesses to embark on EU-funded programmes. The initiative has also strengthened networking and industry databases .
Aeronautics research on the rise
Following up on an earlier similar project, the EU-funded project 'European communities aeronautics research plus' (ECARE+) aimed to involve research-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the aeronautics field in more EU projects.

The project organised seminars on opportunities within the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and expanded the database of SMEs online to promote networking. This allowed stakeholders to forge partnerships through the project website.

In addition to strengthening the network of aeronautics businesses and stakeholders, ECARE+ led to five SMEs being taken aboard by consortia to participate in EU projects. This was made possible through a novel approach elaborated in the first ECARE initiative, which involved training the representatives of SME clusters and associations, then using them to relay information to local SMEs. There were 20 sessions organised to this end, and involved more than 500 SMEs.

The project allowed these SMEs to advertise their areas of competence and update their information in the project database. Several technology-based workshops also emerged from the project and were organised in four regions, with a panel of SMEs from various countries and project proposal coordinators from industry.

A final ECARE+ event enabled clusters and SMEs to outline the positive impact of the project and its bridge-building activities with European-funded research. There are plans for the ECARE Group to now become a self-sustainable body at the European level, taking European aeronautical research to the next level.

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