Funding competition October expression of interest: UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme

The UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme provides grant funding to industrial research and capital projects to encourage UK civil aerospace.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


The UK Aerospace Research and Technology (UKART) Programme represents a £3.9 billion joint government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace.

This programme is co-ordinated and managed by:

  • the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Innovate UK
  • the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI)

We work in collaboration to deliver a portfolio of projects to meet the objectives of the Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Raising Ambition

This is stage 1 of 4 of the application process. The whole process takes at least 6 months.

  1. Expression of interest (EOI): opens monthly and is reviewed by ATI only.
  2. Full stage application (FSA): invite only, if successful in stage 1. Proposal development on IFS by applicants.
  3. Independent assessment by Innovate UK, value for money (VfM) and policy review by BEIS and strategic assessment by ATI.
  4. Final approvals by BEIS and contracting through Innovate UK.
More information can be found on the ATI website.

Funding type


Project size

Total project costs and project duration should be appropriate and in proportion to the planned objectives and prioritisation within the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy.

Who can apply

To apply you must:

  • be a UK-based organisation
  • plan to carry out an aerospace research or technology development project in the UK
  • address the specific requirements of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy
  • sign up to the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) framework agreement
  • work alone or with others (businesses, research base or third sector)

Funding and participants

Industrial research projects

If you are a single applicant, or in a collaboration, then total grant funding must not exceed 50% of total eligible project costs or your eligibility will be affected. This is regardless of individual partner grant claims.

Individual partners in a collaboration can claim grant funding up to:

  • 100% if you are an academic or non-profit Research and Technology Organisations (RTO)
  • 70% if you are a small business
  • 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • 50% if you are a large business

Research organisations cannot lead. Their eligible costs must not exceed 30% of the total eligible project costs unless otherwise agreed in writing.

Capital investment projects

RTOs can lead this project.

If you are a single applicant, you can claim grant funding of:

  • up to 100% if you are an academic or non-profit RTO
  • up to 50% if you are a business regardless of size

If you are in a collaboration, total grant funding must not exceed 50% of total eligible project costs. This is regardless of individual partner grant claims. Failure to do this will affect project eligibility.

You can find the definition of research and capital project on page 39 of the State Aid Manual.

Programme scope

Projects must have a potential application within the civil aerospace sector. Priority areas identified within the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy include:

  • whole aircraft design and integration
  • aerostructures
  • advanced systems
  • propulsion technologies

Your project must focus on industrial research.

Only projects which score well against the below criteria will receive funding from the UKART Programme:

  1. Strategic fit with the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy.
  2. Value for money for the UK and potential impact of the exploitation of your idea once the project is over.
  3. Project deliverables such as time, cost and quality (including risks).

If you are successful in this EoI stage, you will be invited to proceed to stage 2. You will then be asked to provide further details on your project.

Do not assume the assessors have access to your EoI application in stage 2.

Specific themes

The UK Aerospace Technology Strategy provides detailed information on the specific themes of the competition. These include but are not limited to:

  • aircraft of the future: strengthening the UK’s whole-aircraft design and system integration capability, and positioning it for future generations of civil aircraft
  • smart, connected and more electric aircraft: developing UK advanced systems technologies to capture high-value opportunities in current and future aircraft
  • aerostructures of the future: ensuring the UK is a global leader in the development of large complex structures, particularly wings
  • propulsion of the future: advancing a new generation of more efficient propulsion technologies, particularly large turbofans

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that:

  • 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
  • cover fundamental research or early stage technologies
  • cover experimental development

1 October 2018
Competition opens
8 October 2018
Online applicant briefing.
17 October 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
2 November 2018 2:43pm
Applicants notified

Before you start

Please read the general guidance for applicants for Innovate UK funding competitions. It includes information on the application process and advice on 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 participate in the project as collaborators if your application is successful

Partner organisations can be other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities.

What we will ask you

The EoI 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 does not, it will be immediately rejected.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and length. List any partner organisations you have named as collaborators.

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.

Your answer can be up to 100 words long.

Project scope

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

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be eligible for funding.

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 and what is the size of the potential market?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.


  • 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
  • the target market, and how the outputs from this project are required to progress or achieve strategic targets
  • the growth opportunity your project will create

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: Exploitation and dissemination

How will you exploit and disseminate your project results? What economic, social and environmental benefits do you expect your project to deliver, and when?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.


  • expected project outputs, including products, services, processes and capabilities
  • your initial exploitation plan: the route to market, intellectual property, changes to business models or processes, research and development (R&D), and manufacturing services
  • spill-over or dissemination of ideas, demonstrating how your activities will contribute to the wider aerospace industry and other sectors
  • the UK benefits expected to be delivered as a result of this project, such as R&D and capital expenditure, supply chain, jobs, training and skills, and environmental benefits

Question 3: Technical approach and management

What technical approach will you use and how will you manage your project?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.


  • the technical approach, including the main objectives of the work
  • how and why the approach is appropriate
  • how you will make sure the innovative steps in the project are achievable
  • how you will measure your success
  • the areas of work and your objectives

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 4: Innovation

What is innovative about your project?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Upload a table as an appendix to support your answer. List the technology, why the technology is innovative, and the change in technology or manufacturing readiness at the start and end of the project.


  • 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 novel in an industrial and/or academic context

You must 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 5: Skills, experience and facilities

Does your proposed project team have the right skills, experience and facilities to deliver this project?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Demonstrate that the likely 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
  • includes project partners with clear objectives and roles or responsibilities

If you are part of a consortium, describe the benefits of the collaboration. What advantages does being part of a consortium offer the project?

Question 6: Adding value

How does financial support from the UK Aerospace R&T Programme add value to the UK? What will happen to the project in the absence of funding?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Describe what will occur if the application for funding is not successful.

Question 7: Finances

Provide us with estimates of partner contributions and the funding you are seeking.

Type “Table attached” in the field below and give your estimates in a table in an attached appendix. It can be a single PDF no larger than 10MB and up to 1 page long. It must be legible at 100% zoom.

Give your table the following headings:

  • partner
  • partner contribution (£)
  • funding sought (£)
  • total (£)

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 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 with government resources. It also performs value for money (VfM) assessments on project proposals.

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.

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