Research & Innovation updates: Research Agenda and Certification Readiness Level scale

Research & Innovation updates: Research Agenda and Certification Readiness Level scale

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has updated its Research & Innovation webpage and revamped the Innovation Services webpage (formerly ‘Pre-Application Services’). The new pages will make it easier for all stakeholders to find the required information on the Agency’s varied Research & Innovation (R&I) portfolio and activities. The following two main novelties are brought to your attention:

  • The publication of the 2024 Aviation Authorities’ Research Agenda on Research & Innovation

    EASA has drafted the Aviation Authorities’ Research Agenda for the first time this year in cooperation with the Member States (MAB Research Group). The Agenda contains research topics of EASA and of national aviation authority (NAA) interest, related to aviation safety, environmental protection, (cyber)security, and health. Once submitted to the European Commission, the Agenda’s topics could potentially become research projects managed by EASA if they are funded by an EU Research-funding Programme (e.g. Horizon Europe) if EASA signs
    a contribution agreement with the European Commission.

  • The introduction of the Certification Readiness Level (CRL) scale on Innovation Services
CRL Levels Description
CRL 1 Safety regulator familiarisation with technology and Concept of Operation (CONOPS)
CRL 2 Confirmation of the CONOPS assumptions and safety objectives by all stakeholders          
(Note: the CONOPS will steer the identification of safety objectives)
CRL 3 Identification of key regulations that would be mainly affected along with an identification of those that would need to be amended/developed in priority          
(Note: so-called Gap Analysis)
CRL 4 Identification of the main principles for technical standards and roadmap for overall necessary rulemaking and/or recommended industry standard activities associated to the novelties/specificities of the design                    
(Note: stemming from the Gap Analysis)
CRL 5 Identification of the roadmap / action plan for a comprehensive aviation framework readiness (it includes Air Traffic Management (ATM), Air Operations (Air OPS), Flight Crew Licencing (FCL), Continuing Airworthiness (CAW), as well as any other affected regulations)
CRL 6 Confirmation of necessary technical knowledge and availability of the first draft of rulemaking material (through an Innovation Partnership Contract (IPC), Technical Advice Contract (TAC), Pre-Application Contract (PAC))
CRL 7 When applicable: mature draft generic elements of a certification basis, in the form of published Generic Special Conditions (SCs), Interpretative Material, or Means of Compliance (MoC)
CRL 8 Product (integrating the technology) certified.        
Design organisation approval (DOA) granted.
CRL 9 Actual system (design, operation, maintenance) proven in operational environment.

The CRL scale is designed by the CONCERTO Project in Clean Aviation to assess the future certifiability of an innovative concept of operation, business model, and product/system, while engaging progressively with aviation authorities to facilitate future shared oversight activities. The CRL scale is offering a crucial complement to the traditional Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs). Interested parties like applicants, tech developers, or system suppliers requesting EASA Innovation Services, e.g. Innovation Partnership Contracts (IPCs) or Pre-Application Services Contracts (PACs), should familiarise themselves with this scale to measure the maturity level of their product or Concept of Operations (CONOPS). 


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