Senior Researcher Award Airborne for Bruno Santos

News - 24 November 2022

Bringing an award with you from Lisbon to Delft, congrats Bruno! Please explain?

“The award is the recognition of my contribution to the European Research and Development effort, with innovative ideas and concepts, based on results from EU-funded projects in the field of air transport. The award is not for a specific project but for my contribution in several European projects.”

What was the jury's justification?

“The jury highlighted the data-driven approaches that we, me and my team, have developed in the past in EU-funded projects and other initiatives with aviation stakeholders. In particular, they mentioned the effort regarding the scheduling of aircraft maintenance activities. And although this award is not related to a specific project in which I was involved, I believe that my role as coordinator of the EC Horizon 2020 ReMap project contributed a lot to their decision.”

Awards make people feel good. What does this award mean to you?

“It is always great to see our work acknowledged and valued by peers. To have other European partners, particularly the European Commission, awarding me is very gratifying. I am particularly proud that I only started working on aviation problems ten years ago. My learning curve seems to have been maximised. It helps a lot to work at our Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, where I get inspired by the work of many colleagues.”

“The award gives me even more confidence to follow my research path. I believe that airline operations need to be more adaptive by fast reacting to new information as it becomes available. This digitalisation effort can make operations more efficient and climate-aware by using smart data-driven methods.”

How can this award boost your work?

“Well, it confirms my capability to cooperate with multiple stakeholders in formulating and executing research projects that can deliver innovation in practice. This can facilitate future interactions with research and industry partners, hopefully fostering the involvement of my group in other research and innovation projects. As an academic, this award supports my claim that my vision and research work is valuable to society. This is important to continue building my career and engaging peers and students to collaborate in my research roadmap.”

What are your next steps?

“I am already busy with new projects. In the aircraft maintenance domain, we are extending our collaboration with KLM Engineering & Maintenance to continue to develop data-driven solutions. The focus is still on improving using predictive maintenance to increase the efficiency of maintenance scheduling of current aircraft. However, in the future, I want to extend this research to consider future technologies, like hydrogen-powered aircraft.”

Other projects we should know about?

“Speaking about future technologies, I will also be involved in a Clean Aviation project in which we will use machine learning models to understand hybrid-electric aircraft's operational feasibility and marketability. We are leaving exciting times in aviation with significant challenges ahead of us. I hope my knowledge and experience will contribute to finding solutions for sustainable aviation operations.”


Bruno Santos received the TRA VISIONS 2022 Senior Researcher Award Airborne earlier this month at the TRA Conference in Lisbon.

Bruno’s work as the coordinator of the EC Horizon 2020 ReMap project was perhaps the major contribution to his award. Want to know more about this project? Please check the several illustrative videos, which explain the challenges of planning aircraft maintenance and some of their solutions. They are educative and easy to follow.