SESAR Knowledge Transfer Network to inspire the next generation aviation workforce

Building on the legacy of its predecessor, Engage 2 seeks to expand the SESAR Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), bridging the gap between Industry and Academia.


[Rome, Italy, 19/09/2023] – Engage 2 has officially started. The kick-off meeting, hosted by Deep Blue – Project Coordinator – took place in Rome on the 13th and 14th of June 2023 and gathered together representatives of all the partners involved.

Engage 2 – The SESAR 3 Knowledge Transfer Network aims to share the resources and findings of the SESAR Digital European Sky research and innovation programme, with a view to informing future fundamental research, as well as transferring results towards application-oriented work. Engage 2 will have a strong impact on the future of the Air Traffic Management (ATM) sector by attracting students to a career in ATM and, at the same time, by bridging the gap between Academia and Industry.

Drawing upon the accomplishments of its forerunner, Engage 2 capitalizes on the outcomes yielded by its predecessor Engage KNT – the SESAR 2020 Knowledge Transfer Network. Thanks to the extensive experience in applied research and exploratory research of all nine partners, Engage 2 includes representatives from Academia, Industry and Research worlds in a balanced way. The network is co-funded by the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking (SESAR 3 JU) within the framework of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme.

  • Events and activities to attract the new generation of ATM workforce

During the four years of implementation, Engage 2 will promote more than 30 different activities to foster collaboration within the aviation community. Such activities include two hackathons, three open days and three summer schools. Moreover, calls for PhD students that will support the collaboration between industry and researchers will be open, as well as mentorships for Master’s students to perform their master theses on key topics identified within the project.

  • Bridge the gap between Industry and Academia: reinforce synergies between stakeholders

One of the main goals of Engage 2 will be to create a collaborative landscape for identified target groups (e.g. Academia, Industry and Policymakers) through a wide range of activities. These activities will encompass study-oriented initiatives and networking opportunities, fostering fruitful participant exchanges. Engage 2 will organise 18 workshops, both onsite and online. The aim is to bring together all key stakeholders to discuss current issues, exchange ideas and practices, and comment on the thematic challenges identified through specific calls launched by Engage 2. The first call for Thematic Challenges is currently open. Our ultimate goal is to identify innovative areas of interest within the ATM domain. In addition, select stakeholders from the industry will be invited to participate in a roundtable consultation with the aim of converging on future research opportunities and needed skills in the ATM sector.

Moreover, an ATM concepts roadmap including information on R&D topics, future priorities and challenges, will be developed by using several project outputs and actions such as thematic challenges and roundtable consultation.

Finally, Engage 2 will financially support Catalyst projects that will fast-track specific activities in support of developing solutions to the thematic challenges and moving closer towards industry goals and objectives as well as towards higher TRLs.

  • Engage 2 WIKI: the one-stop, go-to source of information

The already existing EngageWiki will be pushed and improved in order to achieve the maximum impact possible. Acting as the ATM Knowledge Hub, the WIKI will take up the baton of its predecessor and continue to be the main repository of useful data and opportunities for researchers in the ATM field.

The WIKI will monitor, identify and analyze new opportunities for innovative ATM research of relevance to the evolution of the European ATM system. Researchers may turn to the WIKI as an accessible meta-source of research data, while industry partners may seek inspiration from exploratory and unconventional research and promote their application towards the operational context.

  • The Matchmaking app: a breakthrough tool for work opportunities Engage 2 intends to go beyond a simple forum to build a comprehensive online community engagement programme. For this reason, the Consortium will design and develop a mobile app that will serve as a matchmaking platform.

The app will allow students, universities and companies to create their profiles and search for joint opportunities. At the same time, it will allow face-to-face meetings to be booked at the Engage 2 open days and seats at the Engage 2 hackathons. Students will also be able to browse through the original videos which will explain and describe the job types in ATM.

  • How Engage 2 will support SESAR: SIDs and the Digital Academy Since 2011 SESAR 3 JU has organized the SESAR Innovation Days (SIDs), which are the main vehicle for the ATM community to disseminate research results. The SIDs take place every year in a different European city and nowadays have become a landmark event in the European aviation research calendar.

Engage 2 will support SESAR 3 JU in organizing and carrying out the upcoming four editions of SIDs. This will encompass various activities, such as the preparation and implementation of the call for contributions and the selection process for submitted papers and posters. The SESAR Innovation Days 2023 will take place in Seville (Spain), 27-30 November, hosted by the University of Seville at the Faculty of Engineering.

  • About SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking

The SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking is an institutionalized European private-public partnership set up to accelerate through research and innovation the delivery of the Digital European Sky. The partnership is developing cutting-edge technological solutions to manage conventional aircraft, drones, air taxis and vehicles flying at higher altitudes.

The SESAR 3 JU partnership brings together the EU, Eurocontrol, and more than 50 organizations covering the entire aviation value chain, from airports, airspace users of all categories, air navigation service providers, drone operators and service providers, the manufacturing industry and scientific community. The partnership also works closely with the regulatory and standardization bodies, notably EASA and Eurocae, as well as key stakeholders, such as professional staff organizations, the space and military communities and global partners.

  • About individual partners

Engage 2 is a collaborative project involving the following organizations:

  1. Deep Blue Srl (DBL, IT)
  2. Technische Universitaet Braunschweig(TUBS, DE)
  3. University of Belgrade – Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering(UB-FTTE, RS)
  4. Fundacion Instituto de Investigacion Innaxis(INX, ES)
  5. Frequentis(FRQ, AT)
  6. EASN Technology Innovation Services(EASN, BE)
  7. Eurocontrol(ECTL, BE)
  8. University of Trieste(UNITS, IT)
  9. University of Westminster(UoW, UK)

Quote 1 – Micol Biscotto (Deep Blue, Project Coordinator): I am glad to coordinate the collective effort of Engage 2 consortium members. Together, we will bridge the gap between industry and academia, investigate the future of ATM including the needed skills, as well as inspire and support the next generation of aviation professionals in facing the challenges of the digital era. 

Quote 2 – Prof. Andrew Cook (UoW, former Coordinator of the first Engage KNT 2018-2022): We are delighted to have the opportunity of expanding on the previous 4.5 years of work, building on the extensive foundation established with the super team, and taking forward exciting further initiatives with the new consortium, led by our colleagues at Deep Blue. 

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