Students are asked to fly their ideas and join the spirit through competitive challenges

13 September 2012 Feature story

Motivating students to become future aerospace industry decision-makers and to spur new thinking in problem-solving are the goals of two competitions now underway by Airbus and its EADS parent company.

Airbus’ latest “Fly Your Ideas” contest – its third such competition – is asking university students to “think big” and propose innovative ideas for six key 21st century aviation industry challenges identified by the company: energy, efficiency, affordable growth, traffic growth, passenger experience and community friendliness.

Axel Krein, the Senior Vice President and Head of Research and Technology at Airbus, said students participating in “Fly Your Ideas” are to learn from Airbus staff mentoring and feedback from assessors, along with guidance from an expert at key stages of the competition.  As a result, the competitors will benefit by enhancing their creativity and innovation while gaining insight into the workings of Airbus and the air transport industry.

“Since we launched the ‘Fly Your Ideas’ competition in 2008, more than 5,000 students from around the world have taken part, representing 82 different nationalities among the participants,” said Krein during a presentation at the ILA Berlin Air Show.  “A total of 287 universities were involved, with 76 per cent of the teams being international and multi-disciplinary.”

For the latest challenge, the successful team is to receive a €30,000 cash prize and their campus will welcome experts from Airbus’ Innovation Cell – the organization created in 2010 to discover and implement game-changing innovations beyond current products and services for the benefit of all Airbus stakeholders.

A separate challenge was launched at this week’s ILA Berlin Air Show by parent company EADS, whose corporate research and technology network – EADS Innovation Works – announced its “Join the Spirit” competition.  For the inaugural challenge, EADS Innovation Works is putting the focus on high-performance computing for graduate students, with participants asked to solve a real-life problem from aeronautics and systems applications. Competing students will submit their codes for live testing on a dedicated website, and can follow their ranking on a leaderboard. 

“The computing involves a simulation for problem-solving in the area of electromagnetic compatibility issues,” explained Yann Barbaux, the Head of EADS Innovation Works. “The issue of electromagnetic compatibility is increasingly important for Airbus and EADS’ other divisions, as it is driven by the trends toward more composite airframes, more onboard electronics and electrical systems, as well as increased miniaturization.”


For more information on these competitions, visit the “Fly Your Ideas” dedicated website.