EU Collaboration – Coordinated Call for Aerospace R&D Projects

The Europeans were the first to recognize that important research outcomes could be realized in the aerospace sector with Canada. Canada has a thriving aerospace business led by strong companies like Bombardier and Pratt and Whitney and universities who are doing world class research in aeronautics. It took a total of five years and the sustained interest of many key players who worked to identify common interests before success was realized. ERA-CAN II and ERA-CAN+ were instrumental in providing valuable advice through workshops to Canadian researchers on how they could access Framework Program (FP 6&7) and then Horizon 2020 funding.

CANNAPE (Canadian Networking Aeronautics Project for Europe) was a joint project (funded by the EU on the European side), aimed at creating a platform for enhancing aeronautics and air transport research and development (R&D) cooperation between Europe and Canada, and to explore the potential for and, where appropriate, to promote the participation of Canadian stakeholders with their European counterparts in common activities. The five major organizations in Canada who led this initiative as a Core Group were NSERC, NRC, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), DFATD and Industry Canada. There was also a Steering Group which involved CRIAQ, GARDN, Ontario Aerospace Council (OAC), Aero Montreal, the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), CCMRD – Composites and 3 aerospace companies – Bombardier, Pratt and Whitney and Thales.

The overall objectives for CANNAPE were:

  • To explore the potential for enhancing cooperation through further analysis, (mapping of themes and topics), of aeronautics and air transport R&D cooperation between the EU and Canada;
  • To develop and enhance networks and partnerships between EU and Canada in identified technical themes ideally suited for mutually beneficial aeronautics and air transport R&D cooperation;
  • To promote Canadian participation in the aeronautics and air transport activities of FP7 through focused workshops, information and advisory services;
  • To develop a technology roadmap that will have clear objectives with identified partners, with the Involvement of Canadian partners, who are representatives of key, enabling Canadian organizations.

CANNAPE facilitated four cross-networking workshops from May 2011 to June 2013 in Paris, Ottawa, Montreal and London. These workshops complemented a high-level series of bilateral conversations between the EU and Canadian governments and the aerospace industries in Europe and Canada; this dialogue has led to a greater understanding of the common technological areas of strategic importance shared by the two regions, and which may require further R&D investment to enable both regions to maintain their positions within the global aerospace market.

As a result of the CANNAPE activities, three programs of R&D featuring Canadian participants have successfully applied for funding though the 5th and 6th Aeronautics calls in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of funding. This is considered a strong measure of success which is further highlighted by the first ever Coordinated Call for proposals, managed by the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC), between Canada and the EU, a direct result of the 4th CANNAPE Workshop held in London.

Three research projects submitted under the Coordinated Call were selected for funding involving 30 partners; half from Canada and half from eight countries in Europe including France, England, Poland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands. CARIC and NSERC are jointly supporting the Canadian portion and teams of these projects. The topics were super-ice phobic surfaces to prevent ice formation on aircraft icing of airplanes (PHOBIC2ICE), additive manufacturing of aerospace components (AMOS) and electromagnetic platform for lightweight integration/installation of electrical systems in composite electrical aircraft (EPICEA).

Kick-off meetings were held in Montreal and Warsaw in February 2016 to introduce the different parties involved, discuss overall expectations, work packages, requirements as well as deliverables. The projects are off to a good start, with very engaged participants who are eager to work together to ensure the success of those projects. Those meetings also provided an opportunity for the EU and Canadian funding agencies to discuss best practices and present the reporting and other administrative requirements for those collaborative projects.

This result wouldn’t have been possible without the sustained effort of a number of individuals representing their respective organizations who gave of their time because they recognised the value of this international sharing of information. Though the paperwork involved when dealing with the European Union could be daunting – knowledgeable people such as those involved with ERA-CAN II and ERA-CAN+ helped provide crucial guidance.

Overall this ended up being a successful model that has stimulated important international connections and strong collaborations.

Collaboration ,