EADS takes a major role in France’s new institute for the collaborative development of aerospace technologies and competences

24 May 2013

A French institute with the mission to create an integrated, collaborative environment for the development of new technologies and related competences in aeronautics, space and embedded systems was formally launched today – backed by the significant support of EADS.

The Institut de Recherche Aéronautique-Espace-Systèmes Embarqués (IRT AESE) will offer an open innovation framework to accelerate and drive technology developments in technology areas that are critical for the performance of next-generation aircraft, platforms and space systems.

It is to bring engineers from the major aerospace manufacturers and systems suppliers together with personnel from public laboratories and universities – creating opportunities for technology risk reduction throughout the supply chain and beyond, according to Jacques-Ariel Sirat of EADS Innovation Works, who today was nominated the IRT AESE’s general manager. The focus will be on three areas: materials, systems, and electric aircraft/platforms. The institute’s main location is to be at Toulouse, with a secondary site in Bordeaux.

“As a public/private partnership, IRT AESE’s originality is its emphasis on transferring the competences developed by this institute back to its partners, thereby lowering the risk of new technology integration in future development programs,” Sirat explained. “In contrast to the typical collaborative projects where partners retain their own infrastructure and equipment, the IRT AESE unites its participants from industry, research laboratories and universities in a common environment with its own equipment and resources – with people working side-by-side in contributing to same technology developments.”

The IRT AESE will be staffed by a mix of personnel seconded from industry (representing approximately 40 percent of the total headcount), PhD students (accounting for an estimated 25 percent of the staff), researchers (for approximately 15 percent of the total), along with its own personnel for technical, management and business functions.

IRT AESE engineer participants seconded from industry will typically spend three years on their projects, providing sufficient time to develop technologies and benefit from the institute’s environment of broad interaction. The activity will begin in 2013 with an initial set of 11 projects across the focus areas of materials, systems and more electric aircraft/platforms. A second set of projects is expected to be launched in early 2014.

Industrial participants are the Airbus, Astrium and Eurocopter business units of EADS, its EADS Innovation Works research and technology arm in France, along with Safran, Thales, Liebherr, Zodiac and other aerospace industrial players. French public laboratories and agencies taking part in IRT AESE activities are France’s CNRS national center for scientific research, the University of Toulouse and University of Bordeaux, and the CNES national space agency.

The IRT AESE’s 2013-2019 budget is set at 325 million euros, with 145 million euros coming from industry – for which EADS will provide more than 40 percent, and 145 million euros funded by the French government. Twenty-five percent of this budget will be invested into high-end research and technology equipment.