Several EU programmes are relevant to air transport. As we are now fully in a new funding cycle 2021-2027, there are lots of new funding opportunities available. Moreover, part of CINEA's mission is also to foster synergies and natural links between its different funding programmes.
First, from a research point of view, Horizon Europe supports research projects developing and testing new clean energy and transport technologies. In particular, the societal challenge on smart and sustainable transport aims at developing solutions and services for clean, competitive, smart and resilient transport and mobility. More concretely, CINEA supports state-of-the-art research on various aviation domains, such as propulsion, eco-materials, aerodynamic noise, and safety, among others. The Horizon 2020 Framework Programme supports projects conceiving breakthrough technologies up to validating prototypes in the real environment. All these projects are contributing to designing the aircraft of the future.
Second, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) focuses on building modern EU infrastructure (transport, energy and telecoms) and more precisely on deploying innovative solutions on a large scale.
More particularly relevant to air transport is the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) priority which aims to improve the performance of air traffic management (ATM) in Europe by modernising and harmonising ATM systems, synchronising the deployment of essential ATM functionalities, enhancing civil-military interoperability, reducing fragmentation and consolidating the provision of air navigation services. Furthermore, the Programme’s "Urban Nodes" priority provides funding for studies to link airports and urban centres.
A new set of CEF Transport calls were published last September with a deadline of 18 January 2023 and are currently being evaluated. There will be other CEF Calls published in the second half of 2023 and on a yearly basis. It is worth noting that the 2022 CEF Transport Calls included four topics related to SESAR.
Out of the four SESAR topics mentioned above, the topic "Common Project One" focused on short-term implementation needs resulting from the SESAR Deployment Programme.
For this specific topic, applicants had to coordinate their applications with the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) who advised them on the relevance and compliance of their proposals with the SESAR Deployment Programme and the priorities of this Call. The SDM also consolidated the relevant implementation projects into several project clusters to ensure the effective and optimal synchronisation of the projects in accordance with the SESAR Deployment Programme.
Moreover, there was also another topic focusing on "Other SESAR Projects" that aimed to support projects that implemented Communications, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) ground and airborne infrastructure, routes and procedures, which are not addressed by the Common Project One. The Other SESAR Projects included more specifically works related to Performance Based Navigation, Datalink Services and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast.
The 2022 Call also included the possibility to support further digital sky demonstrators. It followed the five grants recently signed for digital sky demonstrators resulting from the 2021 Call.