CMU Portugal Program ERI: Innovation Dynamics in Aeronautics and Embraer in Évora 

1st Edition of Innovation in Aeronautics Roundtables Joins Academia and Companies

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“Uncertainty, Globalization and Skills” was the title of the first edition of Innovation in Aeronautics Roundtables organized in the scope of the Entrepreneurial Research Initiative (ERI) Innovation Dynamics in Aeronautics and Embraer in Évora: Towards a Distributed Platform for Entrepreneurial Initiatives, New Employment and Skills Development, carried out within the CMU Portugal Program. The session took place on January 16, 2015, at INESC TEC, in Porto.    

This was the first of a series of debates designed to foster the exchange of ideas between different players on critical issues regarding the development of aeronautics. Discussing research results and directions using complementary viewpoints from industrial partners, the idea is to pave the way for the development of a comprehensive perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing the aeronautics industry. 

The contribution of small technology-based companies to the aeronautics industry and the use of 3D metal printing, which are critical for the development of aeronautics, were some of the issues discussed at the session. Other topics included the industry’s uncertainty and the development of skills in and for the sector.

According to Joana Mendonça, researcher at IN+/IST-UL and the principal investigator of the ERI Innovation Dynamics in Aeronautics and Embraer in Évora in Portugal, “some technological areas aren’t sufficiently explored in Portugal; however, small technology-based companies can play a fundamental role in this sector,” and the ultimate goal here “is to create an opportunity for industry and university players to share experiences.” 201501 ERI Innovation in Évora 02 

The ERI, which is led by Granger Morgan at CMU, looks at the increasing complexity and uncertainty of technological advances and related value chains and business configurations in aeronautics. Motivated by the installation of two new Embraer plants in Évora, Portugal, the project’s goal is to secure the role of these plants as centers of excellence in aeronautics. Evora’s plants are a singular case as they are fully Embraer and also first tier suppliers of Embraer Brazil. This requires their activities to be fully integrated with the needs of Embraer, while keeping a competitive edge. 

The session at INESC TEC welcomed various experts and representatives of all partners involved in the project, with John Whalley (Aerospace Wales Forum) as keynote speaker. (agenda available here) The idea with this session was, according to Joana Mendonça, “to empower Portugal to play a significant role in aeronautics" in three different components: value chain (addressing the role of technology-based companies), technology with implementation potential, as is the case of additive manufacturing, addressed in this session by Jaime Bonnin Roca, dual degree Ph.D. student in Engineering and Public Policy at IST-UL and CMU, and improving competences in this particular industry. “And even though there is much to be done, companies are now willing to cooperate with higher education institutions,” Joana Mendonça stresses.

The ERI Innovation Dynamics in Aeronautics and Embraer in Évora: Towards a Distributed Platform for Entrepreneurial Initiatives, New Employment and Skills Development involves several institutions IN+/IST-UL, INESC TEC, IDMEC, EmbraerCEIIA and CMU as partners, and it is funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT).

February 2015