ASD recommendations for sustainable implementation of European Research Public Private Partnerships in Aeronautics and Space

  • July 27, 2020

27 July 2020 - Ongoing discussions on European R&I partnerships will have a major impact on industry participation in these initiatives. Therefore, ASD would like to actively contribute to these discussions and settle the best foundations for the future Partnerships in Aeronautics and Space. An effective involvement of industry is particularly important in the context of the Covid-19 outbreak which has deeply affected the Aeronautics and Space sectors. It is foreseen that companies will first strive for several years to safeguard their business and, as a consequence, reduce their mid-term investments as well as long term R&T. In this context, Industry needs more than ever the support of the institutions both at EU and national level in order to maintain its technical cutting edge and its competitiveness, two key factors for delivering the Green Deal and strengthening European strategic autonomy. We are therefore keen to take an active part in the ongoing works by contributing practically to the definition of the rules for participation and the overall programme implementation through a few concrete proposals, as follows. The codesign approach should be continued all along the process. 

Our recommendations 

Funding rates:

We understand that the European Commission is proposing to increase the industry’s contribution by reducing the funding rates level. These revised funding rates could lead to a dramatic reduction in public funding as low as 35 % of real costs. In addition, the draft provisions would decrease the estimated value of “in-kind “contributions by taking as a reference the European Commission defined eligible costs instead of the total costs supported by the private contributors.

We believe these changes would discourage companies to participate in European Partnerships. While the Aeronautics and Space industry is facing massive liquidity problems, any increase of burden would disincentivise companies to invest in mid to long term research.  

Therefore, establishing temporarily a funding rate of 100% of eligible cost, plus 25% flat rated overhead, is of utmost importance for Partnerships in Aeronautics and Space. Additionally, the H2020 methodology for calculating private in-kind contributions to partnerships should be preserved. Finally, industry financial contribution should only cover up to 50% of running costs.  

Corporate Model Grant Agreement /
Intellectual Property rights:

In order to preserve industry intellectual property rights, principles accepted for peer-reviewed scientific publications should suitably be adapted to industrial research data bearing in mind competitive issues. Any mandatory publication of research data and results, other than those selected by the participants according to their dissemination strategy, will endanger European Industrial competitiveness.  

We understand the interest to ensure a coherent and rapid exploitation of results out of HE projects. However, the exploitation of results proposed should be adapted to the reality of industry.  

Furthermore, rules for dissemination of results should protect partners’ IPR especially in the worldwide highly competitive environment. 

Commitment from private partners:

The Aeronautics and Space community is determined to commit to European Partnerships in line with the requirements for ex-ante commitment and the Green Deal strategic challenges while ensuring the global competitiveness of the sector. However, we believe that no commitments should be taken from the industry until the rules of participation, governance, and budget of the proposed partnerships are known.  

Participation in calls:

Further clarification is necessary with regards, the governance, and the closed/restricted calls. All partners of Partnerships in Aeronautics and Space should be eligible to participate in Open calls.  

Simplification of personnel costs / General use of Lump Sum funding to European Partnerships

We understand the European Commission’s new approach is aiming at simplifying financial processes. However, regarding the calculation of personnel costs, the proposed shift from hourly to daily rates (which are not used in national projects) would make the process much more complex. In addition, it would reduce the real personal cost estimate and thus minimize industry in kind contribution.      

As far as general use of lump sum funding in European Partnerships is concerned, we believe it would endanger projects’ “collaborative” approach as it may lead to the exclusion of several new entrants – including SMEs and Universities - and would favour the selection of only traditional partners. Therefore, it would go against the inclusiveness promoted by the European Commission.

For all these important implementation considerations, our experts are ready to continue an efficient dialogue with the Commission’s services and confirm our industry’s commitment to future ambitious Public-Private Partnerships in a win-win approach.

Key Messages 

  • The codesign approach for the definition of the rules for participation and the overall programme implementation should be considered and continued all along the process. 

  • Suitable and increased funding rates for the partnerships are a key condition for their attractiveness to the industry.
  • The current approach of cost calculation (especially for in-kind contributions), as successfully implemented in H2020, should be maintained, while simplifying its declaration.

ASD Contacts:
Alexandros Ouzounopoulos

LINK TO THE POSITION PAPER