UK innovators are set to benefit from a £300m investment in more sustainable flight solutions for people and goods, with researchers developing electric planes and cleaner jet fuels set to receive an additional £5m boost.
Those developing cleaner forms of fuel and new technological platforms such as flying urban taxis, electric passenger planes and even freight-carrying drones, are all expected to benefit from this latest round of funding.
The government will provide £125m, which will be supported by industry co-investment of up to £175m.
Five new transport research networks will receive a £5m cash injection – care-of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – for their work developing cleaner forms of fuel and other tech innovations to reduce emissions and improve air quality.
The new transport research networks will be led by: the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, and Durham, Cardiff University and University College London.
The government hopes that the investment will “speed up the development of greener flights, and new ways of delivering the goods we order online”, as well as support the nation’s efforts to “reduce its carbon footprint”.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps commented: “New technologies like electric and autonomous aircraft can help us tackle climate change, making journeys greener and working better for passengers.
“This funding will support the extraordinary talents of UK industry and academia, and demonstrate our country’s position as a world-leading transport innovator.”
The Future of Flight Challenge
The £250m Future of Flight Challenge is part of the government’s Aerospace Sector Deal that will help develop new ground infrastructure and aircraft technology that will hopefully make the aerospace industry more environmentally-friendly.
The challenge has three primary goals: building on the UK’s excellence and heritage in aerospace; transforming the future of flight through electrification and autonomy; and increasing gender equality across the sector.
The challenge is delivered by UK Research and Innovation, and industry will initially focus on smaller aircraft and drones to ensure the suitability of the new technologies before developing them for larger passenger aircraft.
The first Future Flight Challenge competition, to create compelling concept studies will open on 30 September 2019.
There will be a briefing about the competition by videoconference on the morning of Thursday 5 September.
Details of how to register for the briefing will be released shortly at https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/search
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*All images courtesy of Depositphotos.