IFAR - International Forum for Aviation Research

Based on an initiative by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft‑ und Raumfahrt, DLR), key leaders of 13 international aeronautical research organizations met on 26-27 May 2008 at Steinhoefel Castle, close to Berlin, Germany to address the question of the Air Transport of the Future in the context of climate change. In this regard, the participants agreed that any research and strategy contributing to new solutions would have to reconcile the increasing need for international mobility in a globalized work-sharing economy with the challenge of simultaneously developing new solutions to balance the climate effects of the accompanying worldwide air traffic growth. They agreed to establish the Berlin Summit as an international platform for such a dialogue to coincide with the International Berlin Airshow (ILA), with additional meetings to be held in the interim outside of Europe.

IFAR Emblem

To continue the work of the 2008 Berlin Summit, the first IFAR Summit was held on 6-7 June 2010 in Schloss Lübbenau, close to Berlin, Germany in connection with the ILA Berlin Airshow. Seventeen key leaders of international aeronautical research organizations met to establish the International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR), as an alliance of the worldwide aviation research institutions. The focus of this summit was on climate change which has currently the highest priority in the public.


Established on a voluntary, non-binding basis, IFAR is the world aviation research establishment network and aims to connect research organizations worldwide, to enable the information exchange and communication on aviation research activities and to develop among its members a shared understanding of challenges faced by the global aviation research community.

IFAR develops views and recommendations, e.g., the IFAR Framework Document on future research strategies and facilitates opportunities for networking and partnerships. IFAR develops a regularly updated IFAR Framework Document outlining global research objectives and technological opportunities for use by its Members. The focus of IFAR is on non-competitive aviation research and development related to global technical challenges such as those pertaining to emissions, noise, security, safety, efficient operations, and steps to reduce the impact of aviation on climate and the environment.


In 2021, twenty-six organizations were members of IFAR, representing five continents and approximately 35,000 researchers worldwide.


On the occasion of the 5th IFAR Summit, held in conjunction with the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, China, Members came together on the invitation of the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment (CAE) from 8 to 12 November 2014. Discussions focused on current and future technical collaborative activities in areas of importance to the global aviation community, including the impact of aviation on the environment; alternative fuels for aviation; global approaches to air traffic management research, addressing regulatory barriers to civil supersonic aircraft flight over land, and wind tunnels testing and other test capabilities. Members welcomed the idea of working with ICAO to develop international standards and recommended practices, such as providing technical and scientific data and information. Members discussed opportunities for IFAR to address global challenges in air transportation efficiency, with a particular focus on enhancing efficient airspace operations in busy airport terminal areas. The Members endorsed the creation of a Working Group that will leverage existing bilateral agreements and collaborations wherever possible, and explore new agreements as appropriate. It was agreed that initial efforts would focus on the development and integration of air traffic management tools related to airport arrivals, departures, and surface traffic to enable improved operations at airports around the world, and opportunities to inform development of future global standards and recommended practices associated with the ICAO future Aviation System Block Upgrades.


The 7th annual IFAR Summit held at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) in Daejeon, South Korea hosted 18 member organizations from 27 to 29 September 2016. With regard to IFAR´s contribution to other international organizations, the summit discussed the possibility of future collaboration with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO. IFAR decided to analyze IFAR´s potential role and contributions to ICAO by providing scientific data and concepts for future developments in related fields of aeronautics research. IFAR will continue to look into possible areas of common interest for enhanced partnerships and cooperation with ICAO.


The 8th annual IFAR Summit held at the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa hosted 17 IFAR member organizations from 23 to 25 October 2017. The participants exchanged information on members´ aviation research focus areas, discussed collaborative activities with internal and external partners, considered issues of common interests, among others. IFAR is important as a global networking platform for CEOs and scientists focuses on the future of aviation, and wanted to act as a bridge for ICAO, for example.


During the IFAR’s 11th Summit (3-5 November 2020) held at the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, Ottawa, ICAO and IFAR formalized a new Declaration of Intent aimed at accelerating and improving the effective assessment of new aviation technologies and innovations. The agreement establishes two new ICAO-IFAR Expert Groups which will review latest innovations in the areas of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in aviation. After their first year, each group will report back to ICAO and IFAR and the two organizations will use the findings to optimize and formalize IFAR’s future contributions to ICAO and international aviation. “This new collaboration will see IFAR’s community supporting ICAO’s activities by sharing its consensus view on current areas of technical challenge and opportunity, and in turn, ICAO will augment its ability to engage with and benefit from IFAR’s processes and expectations,” said ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu. The second part of the 2020 Summit was planned to be held in March 2021 as a mini-Summit in Ottawa, Canada.


During the 12th IFAR Summit held in 18-21 November 2021 at the Łukasiewicz Research Network - Institute of Aviation (ILOT) at Warsaw, Poland, IFAR Principals discussed an IFAR-ICAO Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to outline the IFAR-ICAO partnership following the expiration of the existing collaboration framework under the Declaration of Intent. NRC (Canada) will coordinate an IFAR-ICAO event for April 2022 in Montreal, Canada to formally sign the MoU and to present a draft of the UAM Scientific Assessment. The Steering Committee was tasked with facilitating the participation of any interested researchers from IFAR member organizations in the IFAR UAM Working Group in support of the IFAR-ICAO UAM Collaboration. A brief summary document was produced to introduce the collaboration to researchers new to IFAR in acknowledgement of IFAR’s missions to support human resources development, facilitate external partnerships and encourage information exchange on technical issues.


ICAO and IFAR scaled up their cooperation and information sharing to promote innovation through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concluded on 5 April 2022. This MOU follows the signing of a Declaration of Intent signed in November 2020 by IFAR and ICAO representatives. The agreement was signed on the occasion of a high-level meeting between the Secretary General, the President of the ICAO Council and Council members and IFAR Principals held at a National Research Council event in Montreal, Canada. Both parties acknowledged the need for the independent assessment of innovations to frame and protect the notion of general interest, within the context of a variety of transformative changes within the aviation industry. Focusing on the promotion of the innovative and sustainable development of international civil aviation globally, the MOU calls for ICAO and IFAR to cooperate towards their respective safety, security, and sustainability goals, and collaborate on the scientific assessment of new avenues for innovation. With the aviation sector contributing directly towards 15 of the 17 UN Agenda 2030 sustainable development goals, the support provided by the agreement will help ensure that these innovations contribute fully to aviation’s broader role as a catalyst for sustainable development worldwide.