Funding competition UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme: fast-track collaborative R&D EoI

UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £8 million to carry out collaborative R&D, collaborative fast-track and feasibility projects that enhance the UK’s position in civil aerospace.

This competition is now closed.

Start new application

Competition sections


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK (part of UK Research and Innovation), will invest up to £8 million in research and technology projects. This is to deliver world leading aerospace technologies in the UK.

The aim of this funding is to support and speed up industry investment focused on supply chain companies. We are looking for high risk, high impact projects that demonstrate forward-looking, revolutionary and disruptive solutions to UK aerospace challenges.

Your proposal must fit with the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy or with one of ATI’s technical priority areas:

  • enabling future sensing for harsh environments and integrated vehicle health monitoring (IVHM)
  • coping with extreme conditions
  • creating secure, smart, connected and efficient sub-systems
  • technologies to improve factory efficiency.

All proposals must be business-led and collaborative.

The competition is split into 3 strands. In this strand we expect to fund a total of up to £2 million for fast-track collaborative research and development (R&D) projects.

This is phase 1 of a 2-phase competition. In this phase we are looking for expressions of interest (EoIs). Phase 2 of this competition will open in January 2019. We will monitor changes between your phase 1 and phase 2 submissions and will not accept unjustified major changes in the consortium or costs.

We are also running a collaborative research and development EoI competition alongside this one. There will be a competition for feasibility studies in January, which does not have an EoI phase.

We expect to open a second round of this competition in late 2019.

If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, email at least 10 days before the competition closes.

Funding type


Project size

Your project can have total project costs of £425,000 to £1 million. Projects must start by August 2019 and end by August 2021. They can last between 12 months and 2 years.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • plan to carry out an aerospace research or technology development project in the UK
  • address the specific requirements of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Raising Ambition’
  • sign up to the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) framework agreement
  • work in collaboration with other organisations to develop proposals and deliver projects

To lead a project you must:

To collaborate you must be a:

  • business
  • research organisation
  • public sector organisation
  • charity

We encourage larger businesses, SMEs, universities and research and technology organisations to collaborate.

Multiple applications

Any one SME can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications. If an SME is not leading an application, they can be a collaborator in up to 3 applications.

A large business, research organisation, charity or public sector organisation cannot lead on an application but can collaborate in any number of applications.

Partners with no funding

Projects can include partners that do not receive any funding (for example, non-UK businesses). Their costs will count towards the total project costs but they will not count as collaborators.


If Innovate UK judges that your proposal is not materially different from your previous proposal, it will be classed as a resubmission.

If your application is unsuccessful, you can reapply with the same proposal once more, taking into account the feedback received from the assessors. You can reapply into another round of this competition or another competition. In other words, you can make a maximum of 2 applications in total with any proposal.


There is up to £8 million available to fund fast-track collaborative R&D, collaborative R&D and feasibility studies projects.

For all projects, funding is limited to:

  • 50% for businesses (regardless of size)
  • 80% full economic costing (FEC) grant for universities

  • 100% grant for other research organisations, public sector organisations and charities

For all projects, no one project partner can incur more than 70% of the total project costs.

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to develop and encourage SMEs (within the aerospace sector or outside) who have a technology which can be exploited in the next 5 years.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets and technological maturities. We will apply this portfolio approach across the 3 competitions: fast-track collaborative R&D, collaborative R&D and feasibility studies.

Fast-track collaborative projects must focus on technologies with exploitation timeframes of 3 to 5 years.

Specific themes

Your project can focus one or more of the following themes.

Enabling future sensing for harsh environments and integrated vehicle health monitoring (IVHM)

Topics can include, for example:

  • harsh environment rotorcraft IVHM
  • harsh environment engine sensors
  • embedded sensors in composite structures

Coping with extreme conditions

Topics can include, for example:

  • materials
  • processes and tools for material manufacture

Creating secure, smart, connected and efficient sub-systems

Topics can include, for example:

  • compact, multi-modal, power efficient communications
  • modular security solutions for airborne systems
  • thermal management sub-systems and components

Technologies to improve factory efficiency

Topics can include, for example:

  • factory automation and robotics
  • in-situ monitoring and inspection
  • component and assembly tooling and fixtures
  • digital factories

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • projects which are primarily aligned to defence, space or other industrial sectors, but we will recognise dual-use technologies provided the primary application is in civil aerospace
  • projects that cover fundamental research or experimental development
  • projects with scope outside of the ATI's Raising Ambition national aerospace strategy

18 September 2018
Applicant briefing and consortium building event
24 September 2018
Competition opens
2 October 2018
Briefing event. Watch the recording
5 December 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
11 January 2019 12:02pm
Applicants notified
14 January 2019
Phase 2 competition opens
21 January 2019
Phase 2 applicant briefing
20 February 2019
Phase 2 competition closes
3 April 2019
Phase 2 applicants notified
5 April 2019
Phase 2 feedback released

Before you start

Please read the general guidance for applicants. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

You should also read specific information about this programme before you start your application.

When you start an application, you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. You will need an account to track the progress of your application.

As the lead applicant you will be responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

You will be able to invite:

  • colleagues to contribute to the application
  • other organisations to collaborate in the application (and in the project if your application is successful)

Applications are assessed on individual merit:

  • for strategic fit with the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy and competition specific technical themes by the ATI
  • for policy review by BEIS
  • by independent assessment process by Innovate UK

What we will ask you

The application is split into 2 sections:

  1. Project details
  2. Application questions

1. Project details

Explain your project. This section is not scored, but our assessors will use it to decide whether the project fits with the scope of the competition. If it doesn’t, it will be immediately rejected.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and length.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application.

List any partner organisations you have named as collaborators.

Your answer can be up to 200 words long.

Project scope

Describe how your project is aligned to the scope. If your project is not in scope it will be rejected. We will give you feedback on why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

In this section, answers to these questions are scored by the assessors. After assessment, you will be given assessor feedback and told whether you are being progressed to the next stage of the application.

Question 1. Business opportunity

What is the business opportunity that your project addresses? (300 words)


  • the business opportunity identified and how you plan to take advantage of it
  • how it is done today and the limits of current practice
  • the customer needs that have been identified and how the project will meet them
  • the challenges you expect to face and how you will overcome them

Where possible, quantify the problems and project outputs that you will be targeting.

You can submit charts in a single PDF appendix no larger than 10MB and up to 1 page long to support your answer. It must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 2. Market

What is the size of the potential market for your project? (300 words)


  • the details of the target market, including the size, margins, market leaders, key competitors, price competition and barriers to entry
  • the expected share of market, such as wide body, narrow body or services
  • the growth opportunity your project will create, including the projected market share it will make possible
  • the specific target product, platform and service applications underpinning the market opportunity, and when you expect them to come into service
  • the return on investment that the project could achieve, providing relevant source data references
  • the existing or future customer relationships that would benefit from this project

Question 3. Results

How will you exploit and disseminate your project results? (400 words)

Address and describe your:

  • expected project outputs, including products, services, processes and capabilities
  • consortium exploitation plan, including the route to market, intellectual property, changes to business models or processes, research and development (R&D), and manufacturing services
  • consortium spill-over or dissemination plan, demonstrating how your activities will contribute to the wider aerospace industry and other sectors

Question 4. Benefits

What economic, social and environmental benefits do you expect your project to deliver, and when? (300 words)

Describe all the benefits you expect your project to generate, both inside and outside of the consortium.

Project expenditure

Describe the R&D, capital and training expenditure which you expect to be made as a result of this project. What do you expect the expenditure to be made on?

Jobs impacts

How many jobs do you expect the project partners to either safeguard or create as a direct result of this project? Which jobs will be safeguarded? Explain why the project is needed to safeguard or create these jobs.

Where relevant you can also describe any expected training or jobs safeguarded or created as an indirect result of this project.

Other impacts

Describe any other impacts that would not happen without your project. For example, effects on greenhouse gas, noise, air quality and so on.

Question 5. Technical approach

What technical approach will you use and how will you manage your project? (300 words)

Describe the areas of work and your objectives. List all resource and management needs. Provide an overview of the technical approach.

You must:

  • describe the technical approach, including the main objectives of the work
  • explain how and why the approach is appropriate
  • tell us how you will make sure the innovative steps in the project are achievable
  • describe rival technologies and alternative R&D strategies
  • explain how you will measure your success

You must submit a work breakdown structure (including cost of each work package) as a single PDF appendix no larger than 10MB and up to 1 page long to support your answer. It must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 6. Innovation

What is innovative about your project? (300 words)

Tell us:

  • how it will push boundaries beyond current leading-edge science and technology
  • how it will apply existing technologies in new areas
  • what competitors are doing, and how they are trying to achieve the same outputs
  • how and why any IP from the project will be free from restriction and readily exploited
  • how the research is new in an industrial and/or academic context

Give evidence in support of any statements or claims.

You can detail the level of innovation though patent search results, competitor analyses or literature surveys. If relevant, you should also outline your own intellectual property rights.

You can submit a table in a single PDF appendix no larger than 10MB and up to 1 page long to support your answer. It must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 7. Risks

What are the risks (technical, commercial and environmental) to your project’s success? What is your risk management strategy? (300 words)

Identify or give:

  • the main risks and uncertainties within the project
  • a detailed risk analysis and mitigation steps taken or planned for each risk
  • the new level of risk with mitigation in place
  • the project management resources required to minimise operational risk

Question 8. Team and facilities

Does your project team have the right skills, experience and facilities to deliver this project? (300 words)

Demonstrate that the project team:

  • has the right mix of skills and experience to complete the project
  • has a track record in managing research and development projects
  • has clear objectives and roles or responsibilities

Describe the benefits of your collaboration. What advantages does being part of a consortium offer the project?

Question 9. Costs

What will your project cost? (300 words)

Give, along with supporting evidence:

  • the total project costs and level of grant funding you are requesting
  • justification for large project expenditure, and any significant costs such as subcontractors
  • reassurance that the budget is realistic for the scale and complexity of the project
  • a statement that funding is within the limits set by this competition
  • a list of any other sources of funding outside of the programme, and explain why they are needed
  • a realistic budget breakdown, including a funding profile and timeline
  • a description, justification and costing of individual work packages

You must submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 10MB and up to 2 pages long to support your answer. This must be a table with these headings: partner name, total costs, subcontract costs and grant funding request. Describe the total costs and grant funding request for each partner. Include costs for subcontractors. All costs must be in GBP. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 10. Added value to the UK

How does financial support from the UKART Programme add value to the UK? (300 words)

Address both of the following:

  1. Why do you need this much funding? Explain what other sources of funding have been considered, including private investment, and why it is not available. Your supporting evidence could include, but is not limited to: business cases, internal rate of return analysis, or other financial comparisons of the scenarios with funding and without funding.
  2. What will happen to the project in the absence of funding? Describe and provide evidence for what will occur if the application for funding is not successful, in particular whether:

  • some or all of the project would be likely to be carried out overseas, listing overseas sites able to carry out the work, explaining the implications for cost, quality and timescales, and outlining any likely support from overseas governments
  • the project investment and benefits will be scaled back in the UK, explaining where applicable the impact a delay or a change of scope would have on starting the project

Background and further information

The ATI’s mission is to help the UK realise growth by creating a coherent and ambitious portfolio of research and technology (R&T) projects. It is responsible for developing the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy and encourages industry-led projects that fit with this strategy and maximise the potential to the UK economy.

The ATI oversees the R&T pipeline, co-chairing the Strategic Review Committee with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and advising on project investments. BEIS is the government department accountable for the £150 million yearly programme budget. BEIS decides which projects will be funded and assesses the value for money for projects.

Innovate UK administers the UK Aerospace R&T Programme. It provides independent assessors and manages the programme, from the contracting of projects, through performance monitoring to close-out. Innovate UK, along with BEIS, also manages project change requests, provides feedback on project strategic alignment and supports evaluation of the programme.

In securing funding from this programme, each industry participant receiving a grant will pay an industrial contribution to the ATI operating budget. This will be proportional to its grant. Contributions are detailed in the ATI Framework Agreement

If you need more information, contact the Innovate UK competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us.

Need help with this service? Contact us