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Towards a flying testbed for European leadership in aviation
Horizon Europe - Cluster 5 - Destination 5: Clean and competitive solutions for all transport modes
Estimated EU contribution per project
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This topic aims at significantly reinforcing the EUs leading position in Aerospace innovation through radical, experimental innovation needed for zero-emission aircraft of the future. By creating a flying, experimental test bed the twin transition of Europe towards a climate neutral and digital society will be accelerated and EU global industrial leadership will be strengthened. The European flying testbed, the E-Plane will enable disruptive ideas to be tested and will shape the sustainable, zero-emission air transport of tomorrow.
Faced with the urgent imperative to decarbonise aviation, the industry is expected to be prepared to change from the current traditional aircraft designs evolved over decades and move to new sustainable disruptive solutions across its complete portfolio of aircraft for the long-term.
A fundamental steppingstone to achieve the long-term goal of developing more sustainable disruptive solutions are experimental aircraft which have shown over the decades to have a lasting influence on the industry’s long-term design choices and competitiveness. Experimental aircraft have been essential to de-risk and understand the possibilities of new solutions before irreversible decisions need to be made.
In addition, experimental aircraft programmes have an agglomeration effect on key skills and facilities throughout the research and development value chain, as well as providing a notable source of inspiration to multiple generations of future aspiring aerospace professionals and society in general.
Therefore, this type of endeavour is an ideal opportunity for a pan-European approach to lead the way and build upon the findings from the H2020-RINGO project where a strong need was found for sub-scale to full-scale flying demonstrators for validation and demonstration of new configurations and concepts. These flying test beds should focus on innovations that go well beyond anything currently addressed in Clean Aviation and should focus on generating impact in 2050 and beyond.
The concept aircrafts are also expected to address long-range (>4000km) missions, where new radical configurations are still needed to be explored to fill gaps for implementation in time to help ensure global aviation carbon neutrality by 2050. To allow for new, disruptive business models, no passenger range or payload is prescribed. However, future competitiveness of the concept should be addressed.
This topic should contribute to the European Skills Agenda The topic addresses primarily to RTOs/Academia/SMEs, with guidance from suppliers and aircraft integrators. One retained project for this topic will allow meaningful validation and feasibility studies and common platform.
Projects should contribute to Europe's industry lead the twin transitions towards climate neutrality and digital leadership. The project is expected to deliver on all of the following expected outcomes:
- Design of concepts and validation of an experimental aircraft that will test, validate and accelerate radical new technologies and aircraft configurations that go well beyond the state-of-the-art;
- Deliver feasibility studies of the targeted aircraft concept, towards a preliminary design review, making use of sound/proven advanced simulation and modelling techniques;
- Deliver detailed technical roadmaps that demonstrate the path towards a flying test bed. Such roadmaps should include a needs and gaps analysis in terms of Technology Infrastructures with respect to radical aircraft configurations and related technology validation and certification;
- Provide a preliminary implementation and execution plan for the targeted aircraft concept, including a business and operating model.
Proposals may also address any of the following expected outcome(s):
- Address the impact on the air transport system of the targeted aircraft concept. Depending on the chosen concept, this may include Air Traffic Management, Safety and Security (including Cyber), New business models, Unmanned Aerial Systems, societal acceptability and impact, noise and quality of life, aircraft end-of-life aspects;
- Address sustainable and agile design, digital manufacturing methodologies and technologies, as well as the promotion of systemic circularity throughout the value chain;
- Provide a preliminary labour market analysis, including skills and education needs, needed for the development and full-scale commercial production of the concepts;
- Address the critical dependencies of aviation on imported fossil fuels and critical materials, contributing to a significant reduction of overall Europe’s dependencies and promotion of European resilience and competitiveness;
- Propose new approaches to shorten the time to market, such as through digitalisation of key processes, virtual certification techniques, open innovation, etc.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
other eligibility criteria
Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project.
If projects use satellite-based earth observation, positioning, navigation and/or related timing data and services, beneficiaries must make use of Copernicus and/or Galileo/EGNOS (other data and services may additionally be used).
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.