The meeting of representatives of European research organizations as part of the European Technology Transfer Offices Circle (TTO Circle) was held in Berlin. One of the topics was the initiative concerning the development of a new research infrastructure that will allow research to be carried out at a higher technological level. The idea is supported by the European Commission, the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation and the EREA association, which brings together research institutes operating in the field of aviation.
Technological infrastructure, i.e. a wind tunnel or a laboratory, allows to move to higher levels of technological readiness (> TRL 6). It is more extensive than the research infrastructure as it can test technology demonstrators. It is therefore possible to test an aircraft or its scale model as a whole system in a wind tunnel.
The initiative presented by European institutions during one of the TTO Circle panels is based on mapping the needs in terms of building new infrastructure, its development, modernization and launching the financing mechanisms needed for this.
“Test, experimental and validation facilities are an indispensable part of the innovation chain. In many cases, companies provide themselves with such capabilities, but in many cases such facilities cannot be built, operated or managed by industry for a variety of reasons. Facility is not commercially viable, lacks the critical mass, and affects mainly SMEs, or TRL level, that is too low. Therefore, it is extremely important to support the development of infrastructure”, said Paweł Stężycki, director of Łukasiewicz – Institute of Aviation and EREA Chairman.
Development of technological infrastructure as an opportunity for the European aviation sector
Director Stężycki was one of the experts invited to the panel entitled “Technology Infrastructure: A New Approach to Sustainable Collaboration with Partners”. During the TTO Circle, he represented research institutes associated in the EREA association.
EREA has already experience in mapping existing infrastructure under the RINGO project and is actively involved in the initiative’s activities.
As Director Stężycki emphasized, this initiative is important and would be, right after the European Transonic Wind Tunnels (ETW 1988), the second such joint European action in the field of aviation. What is important, however, is the cooperation of the European Commission, Member States and Representatives of the Aviation Sector.
The panel with Director Stężycki was moderated by the Secretary General of EARTO, Muriel Attané. The participants were: Paul Harten, Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Andrea Gentili, Clean Planet Partnership Manager and Deputy Head of Unit “Low Emission Future Industries”, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission.
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