This paper describes a novel Thermal Management Function (TMF) and its design process developed in the framework of the Clean Sky project. This TMF is capable of calculating optimized control signals in real-time for thermal management systems by using model-based system knowledge. This can be either a physical model of the system or a data record generated from this model. The TMF provides control signals to the air and vapor cycle which are possible sources of cooling power, as well as load reduction or shedding signals. To determine an optimal cooling split between air cycle, vapor cycle, and its associated ram air channels, trade factors are being used to make electrical power offtake and ram air usage (i.e. drag) comparable, since both have influence on fuel consumption.An associated development process is being elaborated that enables a fast adaptation of the TMF to new architectures and systems. This will be illustrated by means of a bleedless thermal management architecture. Finally, results and expected benefits of the TMF with respect to specific fuel consumption are shown.