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Clean Sky European Programme


Since 2002, the European Research & Technological Development and Innovation Framework Programmes (FP) have been supporting research and innovation activities in priority areas, including aeronautics.

A multinational initiative of the European Union

clean sky logo

In FP7 (2007-2013) the European Commission and 12 founding members (leading European companies in the sector) started the Joint Technological Initiative (JTI), according to a public-private partnership (PPP), with the aim of sustaining the competitiveness and leadership of the European aviation industry.

From there the Clean Sky programme has been raising its level of ambition giving rise to Clean Sky 2, now framed in the scope of Horizon 2020 (2014-2020).

The Clean Sky Action Plan was designed in line with the priorities of the European aviation industry to contribute to the objectives of the Long-Term Strategic Research and Innova-tion Agenda proposed by the European Technology Platform of the ACARE sector [2](Advisory Council for Aviation Research in Europe).

Clean Sky aims to develop aeronautical technologies to reduce environmental impact, pollutant emissions, noise and consumption and gain efficiency.

The Clean Sky (Clean Sky 1) programme started in the 7th Framework Programme and had an overall budget of €1,600 M, funded in equal shares by the European Commission and European industry. The €800 M of Community funding was used 50% by the 12 leaders, 25% by the 65 associate members (associates) and 25% (€200 M) by the almost 500 European partners in the sector, chosen by open competition between SMEs, industry, research centres and universities. Leaders and associates contributed in-kind with 50%. The partners were financed between 50%, 75% or 100% of their fixed costs, depending on whether they were large industry, SMEs or research, respectively.

Clean Sky aims to develop aeronautical technologies to reduce environmental impact, pollutant emissions, noise and consumption and gain efficiency.

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 close to 3.6 M€ [3].

Clean Sky Evolution in Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 or H2020 (2014-2020) confirmed the strategic importance of the Clean Sky programme for the compe-titivity of European industry by creating a new Clean Sky 2, with an enhanced budget of 4,000 M€, extending the founding member base to 16, integrating small aviation (general or small aviation) into the action plan and tripling the partner budget (€600 M).

Clean Sky 2 raises the level of ambition and is structured (Fig. 1) around three demonstrators (IADP) for technological integration of three platforms (helicopter, commercial aircraft and regional aircraft), three modules (ITD) for the development of technologies (structures, systems and engines) and three cross modules (eco-design, small airplanes and evaluation).

The PPP figure remains, and it is now up to the European Commission to contribute less than 50% (€1,755 M) and members with the rest in-kind. In Clean Sky estimates, these 16 founding members should join more than 50 core partners and 800 partners, resulting in a truly European-scale initiative.

Clean Sky 2 sets funding limits, 40% for founding members, 30% for core partners and 30% for partners. H2020 financing rules are simplified and define only two tiers, 70% and 100% direct costs, and a fixed percentage of 25% for overheads. Thus, Innovation Actions (AI) activities are funded at 70% and Research Innovation Actions (RIA) or Coordination (CSA) activities are funded at 100%, regardless of the type of entity [4].

National support for Clean Sky

With only two years of execution, the Portuguese entities show a growing and clear capacity 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) and a return of 9.2 M€ [5] as a result of participation in six projects, also managing to register four national entities in the shortlist of core partners.

The very positive evolution of the results obtained by the Portuguese entities in the last seven years reflects well the competitiveness, maturity and technological capacity of the national aeronautical sector, besides opening up good prospects for the affirmation of the aeronautical cluster Portuguese at the international level.

The monitoring of Clean Sky is guaranteed by the group of representatives of the Member States of the European Commission (SRG – State Representative Group). The SRG brings together representatives of the Member States, the European Commission and the Clean Sky Board. In Portugal, the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), the National Innovation Agency (ANI) and the Office for the Promotion of the Framework Program (GPPQ) are articulated in support of the SRG.

SRG members advise the Clean Sky Board of Procedure, monitor the construction of the tender terms of reference, analyse the results and support cross-cutting activities across all Member States.


[1] Clean Sky http://www.gppq.fct.pt/_7pq/7pq.php?tema=UWA-RAYlhtTObvsG6RIHjHjAZhjuNAKh9xZqyybCWQ0g)

[2] ACARE website http://www.acare4europe.com

[3] The amount of €3.6 M of National Return Clean Sky 1 represents 1.9% of the amount of open tenders and 0.5% of the total Clean Sky 1 financing.

[4] With the exception of non-profit entities, public or private, which are funded at 100% for any type of activity (RIA, IA or CSA).

[5] The €9.2 M national return amount clean sky 2 represents, in March 2016, 2.7% of the total clean sky 2 financing amount.

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Coordinator of the Aerospace Department of the National Innovation Agency (ANI) and national representative to SRG Clean Sky

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