Organisations capable of developing smarter, more energy-efficient technologies to advance the UK aerospace industry have until 23 January to apply for up to £150m in grant funding.
Innovate UK has announced its latest call for proposals that will grow the UK’s global competitiveness in civil aerospace – particularly around innovation design and manufacture.
There is up to £150m available across the year in a series of regular calls, with the best applications invited to apply for grant funding.
The investment is part of a £3.9bn programme between government and industry that aims to maintain and grow the UK’s leading position in civil aerospace.
According to Innovate UK, which is coordinating and managing the programme with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, projects should look to:
- strengthen whole-aircraft design and system integration in the UK
- build smart, connected technologies and more electrified aircraft
- develop the UK as a global leader in large, complex aviation structures, especially wings
- develop new propulsion technologies, for example, large turbofans.
The deadline for expressions of interest is at midday on Wednesday 23 January 2019
- depending on the project type, UK-based business, research and technology organisations and academic bodies can be the lead
- businesses could attract up to 70% of their eligible project costs
- applicants must sign up to the ATI framework agreement
- projects need to demonstrate that their expected costs and timescales are in proportion with their objectives
UK aerospace funding
An exponential growth in aerospace is happening at the same time that demand for lighter, more efficient aircraft has never been higher. However, OEMs are having to deliver against an ever-increasing number of aircraft from their mostly existing and aging facilities.
As such, this competitiveness and continuously increasing production rates are fueling the need for aerospace manufacturers to transform towards digital factories, utilising automation, augmented reality, IoT connectivity and data analytics.
In December 2018, a new multi-million-pound Aerospace Sector Deal that builds on the UK’s excellence and heritage in aerospace, aims to transform the future of flight, through electrification and autonomy, and commits to increasing gender equality in the sector, was announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark.
Among the proposals mentioned in the deal, which is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, are the £250m Future Flight Challenge. This will go towards developing new ground infrastructure and aircraft technology that will hopefully make the aerospace industry more environmentally-friendly.
It will also be spent on developing autonomous air vehicles and better airspace management.
At the beginning of 2019, Sharing in Growth – the industry-led productivity and competitiveness improvement programme funded by private and public sector contributions – announced that it has now helped UK aerospace suppliers win orders worth more than £3.4bn – almost a third of which was achieved in 2018.