EACP Clean Aviation Comment

Brussels, 27th August 2019

In the framework of the European Union initiated European Partnership for Clean Aviation, which in the end should result into the Clean Sky 3 project, the EACP has been asked to deliver a statement

Furthermore, a series of top level European organisations, such as DLR, NLR, industrial MTUs and UTCs or public authorities, have been asked to do the same. In order to read their statements towards the European Partnership for Clean Aviation, follow this link: ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2019-4972457/feedback_de


The EUROPEAN AEROSPACE CLUSTER PARTNERSHIP (EACP) supports the proposal of a European Partnership on Clean Aviation to address the European and Global challenges. The objectives and expected impacts set clear targets for the challenges ahead and how these should be addressed.

With decarbonisation as the main goal and the technologies necessary to achieve this, there is an important role to be played by Micro, Small and Medium sized Enterprises (MSMEs). These ‘skip a generation’ mind-set of disruptive technologies and transformative research is particularly present at start-ups, spin-offs and small companies because of their intrinsic ingenuity. To further improve their participation and allow disruptive technologies under development by MSMEs a strong partner will be needed who has access to a broad and cross-sectoral network of MSMEs.

Whilst every proposal to lower the administrative burden on companies is welcome and lowers the barrier for entrance, care should be taken not to lower the financial support for MSMEs.

In fact, EACP would ask for additional support for MSMEs, at least duplicating the support to MSMEs with respect to H2020. We envision important disruptive technologies to come from MSMEs, hence this has to be stimulated, but in particular the Partnership is expecting industry to embark on higher risk research in order to develop disruptive innovations with high impact. Ongoing discussions suggest a different project management to allow ‘quick failures’ in the future projects, but increased uncertainty on potential outcome goes hand in hand with researching and developing disruptive technologies. It would thus seem counter intuitive for MSMEs to receive less financial support for embarking on higher risk projects; instead, a better financial support shall be envisaged.

European programmes in support of R&D&I activities are proven funding mechanisms and widely used by MSMEs, large industry and research entities across Europe. Yet, the new European policy requires complementary exploitation or combination with European Structural Innovation Funds (ESIF) and Member States national and regional funds.

A combination and scanning through multiple funding schemes raise many challenges both for candidates and Funding Agencies, adding a totally new dimension. Again smaller players are the ones facing bigger issues to cope with the added complexity.

If this envisaged Partnership will be the only vehicle for aerospace research, we would be concerned that other important areas (safety, security, passenger experience, faster flight, UAVs, urban mobility, economic feasibility) would fall behind in research and endanger the future competitiveness of our industry. Either research programmes to further evolve these key areas can be set up under a different scheme in Horizon Europe or this Partnership would need to incorporate them better to give them the necessary attention.

The MSMEs can play an important role in this European Strategy with the support of stronger entities such as regional clusters. Thanks to the regional relationships of its members, EACP is in a favourable position to facilitate proper intersections and interactions among the various regional RIS3, thus creating the conditions to better sustain multiple funding mechanisms. EACP may demonstrate to be the proper element to support the best implementation of available agreements and MOUs to integrate European research and innovation funds and ESIF given to nations and regions.

EACP looks forward to discuss the implementation of the above proposals and its involvement in the European Partnership on Clean Aviation.