R&D+I Funding in the UAV sector


The full name of the study is: “European Union funding of R&D in the UAV sector: Strategies, programmes and calls for proposals”.

The different parts which it comprises are set out below, along with useful information about the study.


The organisation selected to conduct the study was the Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia (CTAG), whose website is www.ctag.com.

CTAG is a non-profit entity created by a range of public and private bodies closely linked to the Galician automotive and mobility sectors. The core mission of the centre is “to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of automotive companies, through the acquisition and transfer of related technologies, as well as guiding and driving technological research, development and innovation in the sector”.

Despite being primarily focused on the automotive world, CTAG understands the potential of two-way technology transfer between the automotive and aeronautical sectors. An example of this is the fact that in recent years it has been getting involved in various large-scale aeronautical projects in Galicia, such as the Civil UAVs Initiative (CUI), promoted by the Xunta de Galicia, in the framework of which it has contributed to the development of onboard electronic systems and different types of validation tests in partnership with Babcock and Business Factory Aero (BFAero), an initiative aimed at driving the creation and acceleration of innovative companies in the value chain of the Galician aerospace industry, which the Centre promotes. It is also worth highlighting CTAG’s participation in two European projects: Fortape (Research on efficient integrated systems for the manufacturing of complex parts based on unidirectional tapes for the automotive and aeronautical sectors, funded by the Factories of the Future call for proposals FoF-02-2014), and Radiant Panel (multifunctional, heated, autoregulated PTC radiant panel), funded by the Clean Sky call for proposals JTI-CS2-2017-CfP07-AIR-02-55.

Research team

For this project, CTAG has assigned a team of top-level experts, assigning four employees belonging to the centre’s Technological Innovation Division who specialise in R&D+i, both from the technological and strategy and management perspectives, as well as training in different branches of Engineering and Business Management. Below we provide a brief summary of the backgrounds of the people involved, who will be in charge of conducting the studies.

Ana Paúl Tomillo – Director of Technological Innovation

An Industrial Engineer, specialising in Automation and Electronics (University of Valladolid) and with an M.Sc. in Automotive Engineering and Management (UPC – Polytechnic University of Catalonia), she has over 25 years of experience in the automotive and mobility sector, particularly in the area of research and development of advanced technologies. She is currently CTAG’s Director of Technological Innovation overseeing, among others, the European Projects office, analysis of public funding opportunities, management of the centre’s R&D project portfolio, etc. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the BFAuto and BFAero accelerators and a professor of the M.Sc. in Automotive Engineering taught at the University of Vigo. Ana has also participated as an expert in a range of European and national R&D calls for the proposals.

Laura González Larroy – Head of Technology Surveillance and Consulting

An Industrial Engineer, specialising in Industrial Organisation and with an M.Sc. in Technologies and Processes in the Automotive Industry, she is in charge of CTAG’s Department of Technological Surveillance and Consulting, with experience in defining R&D+i business strategies, comprehensive project management and preparing technology surveillance and foresight studies, activities which she has been performing for over 12 years. Laura has played an active role in developing a range of initiatives related to business consulting, notable among which are the Galicia Industry 4.0 Opportunities Study, supported by IGAPE, to identify and analyse opportunities for applying emerging Industry 4.0 technologies in Galician industry, and her role as a technical advisor in the BFAero and BFAuto accelerators.

Lucía Seco Núñez – Technology Innovation Engineer

Industrial Engineer. An expert in R&D+i management, she has worked in CTAG’s Technological Innovation Division since 2017. Lucía has experience in R&D consulting, identifying and presenting projects to a range of calls and funding programmes, as well as identifying new technological trends and their alignment with public policies and strategies supporting innovation.

María Rodríguez – Technological Innovation Engineer

A Technical Industrial Engineer, she holds an M.Sc. in Industrial Innovation and Process Optimisation and an M.Sc. in Automotive Engineering (both from the University of Vigo). She has more than 10 years of experience in R&D+i management, with the following activities within the Technological Innovation Department of particular note: Competitive Intelligence and Technology Foresight in the mobility industry; the search for regional, national and European-level funding opportunities; project definition, planning and monitoring; and the preparation of ad-hoc reports for companies.

Study summary

The study on R&D funding in the UAV sector is divided into a series of objectives which are set out below and the main purpose of which is to promote activity in the aerospace sector, providing the different companies involved with access to the public funding projects which currently exist in the sector. These objectives include:

  • General characterisation of the UAV sector at the European level.
  • Identification of the main stakeholders.
  • Identification of key technology trends.
  • Identification of strategies for supporting R&D+i and funding opportunities identified.
  • Generation of an aid map.

To permit the correct fulfilment of the objectives set out above, it was necessary to compile and organise the latest information on the European R&D+i ecosystem in the UAV sector, identifying qualitative and quantitative information.

Furthermore, relevant statistical information was analysed which allowed for the characterisation of the system, taken from sources such as Eurostat. This allowed for the identification of the different plans and studies relating to the applicable legal framework which may influence technological development, originating from reference sources such as the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Spanish Aviation Safety and Security Agency. It also allowed for the identification of plans and studies related to the multiannual planning framework of public R&D+i policies, such as Horizon Europe and other relevant European programmes, the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan for the Spanish economy, and the State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation 2021-2023.

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