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Innovation Dynamics in Aeronautics and Embraer in Évora

Towards a Distributed Platform for Entrepreneurial Initiatives, New Employment and Skills Development 

Portuguese PI – Miguel Amaral (Técnico/IN+) 
CMU PI – Granger Morgan (CMU; EPP)

Research teams: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU); Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research (Técnico / IN+); Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência (INESC TEC); Instituto de Engenharia Mecânica (IDMEC)
Organizations: Centro para a Excelência e Inovação na Indústria Automóvel (CEIIA); Embraer Portugal Estruturas em Compósitos, S.A (Embraer Portugal) 
Main Research Unit: Centro de Estudos em Inovação, Tecnologia e Políticas de Desenvolvimento (IN+)
Funding Reference: FCT CMUP-ERI/TPE/0011/2013 
Duration: 48 months
Keywords: Innovation and Industrial Production; Aeronautics Value Chain; Technological Change and Regional Development; Management of Uncertainty

“There is an increasing concern that deindustrialization is hampering growth and undermining the competitiveness of developed economies leading to increases in unemployment and export capacity, becoming a social economic risk. Looking at the specific case of aeronautics, and considering in manufacturing nature and complexity, this ERI will facilitate the development of a research agenda to address the complexity of the issue, putting together the right scientific and industry partners. This project will contribute to sustain industrial strategy and policy developments with impact in Portugal and other areas of the world.”

This project assesses technological advances, business configurations and value chains in modern aeronautics, within a context of increasing complexity and uncertainty. Particular focus is put on the Portuguese case, with the ultimate goal of understanding (and contributing to) the creation and evolution of an aeronautics cluster in the country and securing the role of Portuguese firms as centers of excellence in aeronautics. 

At the core of the Portuguese aeronautics cluster is the recent installation of two new Embraer plants in Évora, Portugal. These two plants constitute a singular case: although being fully Embraer, both plants are also considered first tier suppliers of Embraer Brazil. This requires the full integration of their activities within the needs of Embraer Brazil while also keeping a competitive edge with respect to other suppliers in Embraer’s supply network. Nowadays, ICT is crucial to addressing supply chains issues between manufacturers and suppliers. ICT systems are essential to anticipating problems and opportunities in the supply chain management, supporting decision-making at five levels:

i) identification, capacitation and qualification of new technology based suppliers (for specialized products and services);

ii) monitoring suppliers performance in order to pro-actively address risky situations or opportunities, such as the increase in production pace;

iii) identification of backup suppliers,

iv) assessing network effects that endanger or synergize the supply chain, and

v) supporting the implementation of advanced methods of manufacturing.

Much of the work of this project focuses on building and managing unique data sets, culled from direct and indirect indicators, and ICT-based platforms among OEMs and suppliers. In addition, the project focuses on the creation, integration and development of new technology and technology-based firms in the value chain of the aeronautics sector that can serve as key economic agents to foster and facilitate technological innovations. The project’s key results and analyses are expected to unveil the necessary technological advances, opportunities for new employment and skills development in the Portuguese aeronautics cluster as well as its impact on regional development; bringing, therefore, a contribution to academics, entrepreneurs and policy-makers.


E4Value Final Report
E4Value Final Presentation

Aeronautics Innovation Roundtables:

  • January 16th 2015 Theme: Fostering Global Supply Networks – the case of Portugal Venue: INESC TEC, Porto, PT
  • February 24th 2015 Theme: Challenges in engineering design for complex engineering systems in Aeronautics: looking at case studies Venue: Técnico, Lisboa, PT
  • June 20th 2015 Theme: Regulation of additive Manufacturing, Venue: Washington DC (funded with CMU resources)
  • July 23rd 2015 Theme: Challenges in Innovation Studies: lessons from the analysis of aeronautic industries, Venue: Técnico, Lisboa, PT
  • February 7th 2016 Theme: Additive Manufacturing Venue: Marinha Grande
  • E4Value had an active participation in all annual events of the Aeronautic, Space and Defense Cluster – the AED Days during the project duration (2015-2018).

Journal Papers: 

Articles published: 

Experts Analyze in Porto Critical Issues of Aeronautical Development [Porto Canal Online – January 2015]2016 I