UK govt launches funding for SMEs to develop new aerospace technology

aerospace technologyImage: Business Minister announces £24m funding competition to develop new aerospace technology. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.

The UK government has launched a £24m funding competition to encourage small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the country to develop new aerospace technology to address challenges faced by the sector.

Announced at the Paris Airshow by UK Business Minister Andrew Stephenson, the new funding will be for collaborative research and development (R&D) projects. It is expected to help the UK aerospace suppliers to keep a leading position in aerospace manufacturing.

The new funding will be available under the Open Collaborative Research and Development (CR&D) competition, which is supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute Programme.

Under the competition, the government is looking up to high risk, high impact projects that can offer future-thinking, revolutionary and disruptive solutions to the aerospace challenges faced by the country.

The invitation for the competition is scheduled to open in October 2019 and prior to that, potential applicants can contact the Aerospace Technology Institute to talk about the preparation of their bids.

Stephenson also announced the launch of the new round of the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP 3) during the Paris Airshow. NATEP 3 is designed to help SMEs come up with innovate technology such as 3D aerospace structures to lighten aircraft and virtual reality training for cabin crew, and to introduce them to market quickly to enhance their global competitiveness.

The Business Minister said: “Innovation and R&D are crucial for the UK aerospace sector and I am delighted that we have today launched two programmes to support R&D for SMEs.

“Through our Industrial Strategy we are ensuring the UK remains a world-leader by boosting R&D activity, developing new technology and increasing the UK’s share of the growing aerospace market.”

The government and the industry made a total joint funding commitment of £3.9bn towards civil aerospace research from 2013 to 2026 in order to boost R&D activity in the UK aerospace and to develop new aerospace technology.

ADS chief executive Paul Everitt said: “The UK’s successful Aerospace Industrial Strategy is helping companies in this innovative sector to develop advanced new technology, raise their productivity and create high value jobs in every part of the country.

“Programmes like these are generating new R&D investment at every level of the industry. This investment is vital to boosting our international competitiveness and to developing the technologies of the future that will deliver improved fuel efficiency and significant reductions in the environmental impact of aviation worldwide.”