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The Aerospace Vehicle Systems Institute (AVSI) has executed a memorandum of understanding with the Aerospace Valley Association in Toulouse, France that will greatly enhance its presence within the European aerospace community. AVSI is a Texas A&M Engineering Experimentation Station (TEES) center organized under the Aerospace Engineering Division and an important partner of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. AVSI addresses issues that impact the aerospace community through international cooperative research and pre-competitive collaboration among industry, government and academia.

First established in 1998 by a team of original industrial members that included only US-based companies, the center expanded to include the U.S. Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration in 2003. International collaboration began with the participation of researchers from European business units of existing AVSI Members and later grew to include the first international partner, Airbus, which joined in 2008. Brazilian airframer Embraer followed in 2011, Rolls Royce in 2012, and most recently Saab in 2013.

This fall, AVSI has moved to further grow its partnership with European companies. At its annual Executive Board Meeting in Toulouse, France, Director Dr. Dave Redman formalized the relationship between the center and Aerospace Valley, a "World Competitiveness Cluster" located in Toulouse. The objective of the cluster is to foster relationships and promote collaborative research among its 625 member companies. According to AVSI Assistant Director Dr. Darren Hartl, "By teaming with Aerospace Valley, AVSI greatly increases its visibility and access to new research among the many aerospace companies located in southern France."

In a separate development at the same meeting, the role of AVSI Executive Board Chair was passed by unanimous vote to Pascal Joly, Director of Engineering at Airbus North America. This is the first leadership appointment of a representative from an internationally based company. Moving forward, AVSI is exploring the possibility of establishing a new position, "Assistant Director-Europe," to more directly support European participation.

Given our global and interconnected economy, AVSI will continue to promote new aerospace research partnerships to address issues shared by aerospace industry stakeholders worldwide.