The key actors of ÆRTOs, an FP7 ERA-NET (2008-2012), are seven major research organizations (VTT, TNO, SINTEF, Fraunhofer, CEA, SP, Tecnalia) from six Member States (FI, NL, DE, FR, SE, ES) and one Associated State (NO).
ÆRTOs accepted the challenge to initiate a new, integrated pan-European RTO infrastructure. The projects' overall objective was to foster greater RTO cooperation within Europe and to achieve important efficiency gains by exploiting synergies.
ÆRTOs has created a number of strategic initiatives and cooperation projects, such as two pilot programs in the field of "Sustainable energy with a special focus on energy neutral building and off-shore wind energy" (2009) and on "Value from Waste"(2012). A unique procedure in Europe has been implemented by launching these pilot programs, enabling researchers from the project partners to apply internally for funds and perform joint research activities.
Additionally, the project generated a green paper and Strategic Research Agendas on seven crucial topics in the area of grand societal challenges, such as raw materials, resilient cities and bio-based economy. ÆRTOs also served as a catalyst for implementing horizontal activities, like the Task Force on Human Resources. This group has set up a management training program and a joint HR policy of cross RTO-border mobility.
In this way, ÆRTOs has demonstrated its capacity for joint programming and to achieve important efficiency gains by exploiting synergies and avoiding duplication of effort, thereby further strengthening European innovation potential.
Future of ÆRTOs
The ERA-Net project ÆRTOs has officially been completed on March 31, 2012. Since all partners wanted to continue their successful cooperation, the project continues as ÆRTOs Community from April 1, 2012 on.