Since 2002, the Programmes (FW) for Technological Research and Development and European Innovation has supported research and innovation activities in priority areas, including aeronautics. In the 7th FW (20072013), the European Commission and 12 founding members (Leading European Companies from the sector) started a common technological company, Clean Sky [1] (JTI – Joint Technological Initiative), according to a public-private partnership (PPP), with the objective of sustaining the competitiveness and leadership of the European aeronautical industry. Since then, the Clean Sky programme has increased its level of ambition leading to the creation of Clean Sky 2, now framed in the scope of Horizon 2020 (2014-2020).

The plan of action of Clean Sky was designed according to the priorities of the European aeronautical industry aiming to contribute to the objective of the long-term plans SRIA 2050 (Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda), proposed by the European technological platform of the sector ACARE [2] (Advisory Council for Aviation Research in Europe). Clean Sky is aimed at the development of aeronautical technologies for the reduction on the environmental impact of pollutants, noise, consumption and gain efficiency. The Clean Sky programme (Clean Sky 1) began in the 7th Framework Programme and had a global budget of 1.600 M Euros, financed in equal parts by the European Commission and the European Industry. The €800M European funding were used, 50% by the 12 leaders, 25% by the 65 associated members (Core partners) and 25% (200 M Euros) by almost 500 European partners within the sector, selected through an open tender among SME’s, industry, research centres and universities. The leaders and associates contributed in-kind with 50%. The partners were financed between 50%, 75% or 100% of their fixed costs, depending on whether it was a large industry, SME or research centre, respectively. In Clean Sky 1, a total of 16 Portuguese entities (ANA, Edisoft, GMVIS Skysoft, NAV, TAP, Active Space Technologies, Critical Materials, Critical Software, Fibersensing, GLEXYZ, Optimal, Spin.Works, FFCUL, INEGI, ISQ and IT) participated as partners in 21 projects, having accumulated a return of approximately €3.6M [3].


Horizon 2020 or H2020 (2014-2020) confirmed the strategic importance of the Clean Sky programme to the competitiveness of the European industry to create a new Clean Sky 2 with a reinforced budget of €4 000M, widening the base of founding members to 16, integrating the (general or small aviation) in the action plan and tripling the budget for partners (€600M). Clean Sky 2 increases the level of ambition and is structured (Fig. 1) around three demonstrators (IADP) for the technological integration of three platforms (rotorcraft, Large Passenger Aircraft and regional aircraft), three modules (ITD) for technological development (aerostructures, systems and engines) and three transversal modules (EcoDesign, Small Air Transport and Technology Evaluator). The PPP format is maintained, and now the European Commission is responsible for contributing with a funding of less than 50% (€1.755M) and members with the remaining in-kind. In the Clean Sky forecasts another 50 associate members (core partners) and 800 partners will join these 16 founding members, resulting in an initiative with a truly European scale.


Clean Sky defines funding limits, 40% for founding members, 30% for core partners and 30% for partners. The funding rules for H2020 are simple and only define two levels, 70% and 100% of direct costs and a fixed percentage of 25% for overheads. Therefore, the activities of Innovation (IA – Innovation Actions) are 70% funded and the activities of Research (RIA – Research Innovation Actions) or coordination (CSA – Coordination and Support Actions) are funded at 100% regardless of the type of Entity [4].



With only two years of implementation, Portuguese entities have shown a growing and clear ability to participate in a total of 13 Portuguese entities (TAP, Tekever, Active Space Technologies, ISQ, INEGI, Caetano Aeronautics, GMVIS Skysoft, Alma Design, Critical Materials, Edisoft, Optimal, CEIIA and Aertec) with a return of 9.2 M€ [5] resulted from the participation in six project, also managing to register four national entities on the restricted list of core partners.

The very positive evolution of the results obtained by the Portuguese entities in the last seven years mirrors the competitiveness, maturity and technological skills of the national aeronautical sector while also opening good perspectives for the affirmation of the Portugal aeronautic cluster internationally. The follow up of Clean Sky is ensured by the group of representatives of the State Members of the European Commission SRG (State Representative Group) and the Board of Clean Sky. In Portugal, the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), the National Innovation Agency (ANI) and the Office for the Promotion of the Framework Programme (GPPQ) gather to support the SRG. The SRG members advise the Board of Clean Sky, monitor the definition of the terms of reference for tenders, analyse the results and support transversal activities for all State Members.

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