By Eric Dautriat, Executive Director, Clean Sky JU
The air transport industry is paying a lot of attention to growing public concern about the environmental issues of air pollution, noise and climate change. Although today air transport only produces 2% of man-made CO2 emissions, this is expected to increase to 3% by 2050 with the continuous and steady growth of traffic.
Clean Sky, a Public Private Partnership between the European Commission and the Aeronautical Industry, was set up to bring significant step changes regarding the environmental impact of aviation.
Clean Sky is the most ambitious aeronautical research programme ever launched in Europe. Its mission is to develop breakthrough technologies to significantly increase the environmental performances of airplanes and air transport, resulting in less noisy and more fuel efficient aircraft, hence bringing a key contribution in achieving the Single European Sky environmental objectives.
The Clean Sky JTI (Joint Technology Initiative) was born in 2008. It is managed by the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking until 31 December 2017.
The programme gathers 12 industry leaders, 74 associates and around 500 partners (industries, academia, research organisations, SMEs) selected via calls for proposals.
The level of SMEs successfully participating in projects reaches up to 40% in the Clean Sky JTI calls for proposals, which makes our programme particularly "SME friendly".
Today, the programme is well on track and the first technical results are delivered. But we need to look to the future, as Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, is taking shape.
As everybody in the European research arena is expecting "simplification" from Horizon 2020, we have set an example with the possible continuation
of the Clean Sky initiative: we just call it "Clean Sky 2".
Through different steps, including a public consultation and a formal impact assessment, the relevant proposal from the industry should be ready before the end of this year.
Being part of the "Societal Challenges" pillar of Horizon 2020, it will address further high technological maturity and high societal impact. It will build on Clean Sky and aim for a high level of integration on flying test vehicles. It will also prepare for the next wave of technologies able to answer the still more ambitious targets of Flightpath 2050 and the upcoming ACARE Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, for the environment and for other goals like mobility and safety.
It will strongly contribute to the global leadership of the European aeronautical industry.
Clean Sky 2, building on a successful Public-Private Partnership, should still rely on the leadership of the major European aircraft and systems integrators, and be widely and efficiently open to competition through different kinds of Calls. The definition and prioritization of the projects should be objective-driven, for each of them to demonstrate its impact and its relevance.
These projects should start when necessary along the Horizon 2020 period, from 2014 onwards. The participation of SMEs, a strong asset of Clean Sky, should be encouraged and enhanced.
And of course, the lessons learnt from Clean Sky should drive the future programme into more efficiency and effectiveness. The Clean Sky Joint Undertaking is engaged in this process, interfacing with the industrial leaders, the European Commission and many stakeholders, be they already involved in the current Clean Sky or not. I have no doubt that the case for Clean Sky 2 will convince the European Council and the European Parliament in due time.