Funding competition NATEP: helping SMEs innovate in aerospace, autumn 2019

UK micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million for industry led civil aerospace research projects.

This competition has not yet opened.

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Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is working with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Together we will invest up to £10 million in aerospace innovation projects as part of the ATI Programme.

This competition is the first of 4 rounds. We plan to open the others every 6 months. The last round is scheduled for spring 2021.

The aim of this competition is to provide help for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative aerospace technologies. These will enhance your capabilities and increase your ability to win new business.

Your proposal must align with the priorities stated in the UK Aerospace technology strategy, Raising Ambition. ATI will add new themes to the strategy before the competition closes. Projects which address the new themes will also be eligible for funding.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £300,000. The total project grant must be less than £150,000.

Who can apply

State aid

Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance.

Your project

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £300,000. Your project’s total grant must be less than £150,000. If your organisation is a business, or you are a research and technology organisation (RTO) participating as a business, you must show that you can provide match funding from entirely private sector sources, across all projects you are involved in.

Your project must:

  • be collaborative
  • be led by a UK registered SME

Projects must start by 1 May 2020 and end by 31 October 2021. They can last between 12 and 18 months.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

We primarily expect to fund businesses that are new to research and development (R&D) or are restarting R&D activity.

Academic institutions, charities, public sector organisations, and RTOs cannot lead.

Project team

All project partners must sign up to the ATI framework agreement to allow data sharing with the ATI.

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or RTO
  • plan to carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding and enter their costs as part of the application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses or an end user. Their costs will not count towards the total eligible project costs.

If your organisation is a business, or you are an RTO participating as a business, you must show that the match funding you are providing comes from entirely private sector sources, across all projects you are involved in. You must also show how you will exploit the results of the project to grow the wider sector.

Multiple applications

Any one business can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications. Academic institutions, charities, public sector organisations, and RTO can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

Resubmissions

You can use a resubmission to apply for this competition. A resubmission is a proposal Innovate UK judges as not materially different from one you have submitted before. It can be updated based on the assessors' feedback.

If you submit a new proposal this time you will be able to use it in no more than one future NATEP competition that allows resubmissions.

Failure to exploit

If you applied to a previous competition as the lead or sole organisation and were awarded funding by Innovate UK or UK Research and Innovation, but did not make a substantial effort to exploit that award, we will award no more funding to you, in this or any other competition. You will not be able to contest our decision. We will:

  • assess your efforts in the previous competition against your exploitation plan for that project
  • review the monitoring officers’ reports and any other relevant sources for evidence
  • document our decision, which will be made by 3 team members, and communicate it to you in writing

Previous projects

Under the terms of Innovate UK funding, you must submit an independent accountant’s report (IAR) with your final claim. If you or any organisation in your consortium failed to submit an IAR on a previous project, we will not award funding to you in this or any other competition until we have received the documents.

Funding

We have allocated up to £2.5 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

You must show that you can provide match funding from entirely private sector sources, across all projects you are involved in.

For all projects, funding per organisation is limited to:

  • 50% for businesses (regardless of size)
  • 80% full economic costing (FEC) for academics
  • 100% grant for non-profit research and technology 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 grant funding. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under article 25, ‘Aid for research, development and innovation’, of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to help SMEs to develop their own innovative technologies. These should enhance their capabilities and increase their ability to win new business within the civil aerospace sector.

Your project must have a credible route to market and preferably have identified your end users. Your project should:

  • demonstrate improvement in business productivity and competitiveness
  • show clear benefit technically
  • be able to pull through new technology or processes for use in current or future product or manufacturing process
  • show clear benefit in creating or safeguarding jobs
  • be able to enhance capabilities within the broader aerospace industry, as well as other sectors including advanced manufacturing

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories.

Specific themes

Your project can focus one or more of the following value streams from the UK aerospace technology strategy, Raising Ambition (2016):

  • aircraft of the future
  • smart, connected and more electric aircraft
  • aerostructures of the future
  • propulsion of the future

ATI will update this strategy in November 2019. Projects which address any new elements included in the updated strategy are also in scope for funding.

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects, as defined in the general guidance.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding:

  • projects primarily aligned to defence, space or other industrial sectors, but we will recognise dual-use technologies if the primary application is in civil aerospace
  • projects that cover fundamental research or experimental development
  • projects with scope outside of the UK Aerospace technology strategy

21 October 2019
Competition opens
29 October 2019
Online briefing event
4 December 2019 12:00pm
Competition closes
31 January 2020
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start.

We recommend you contact the NATEP office before you submit your application as a NATEP Technology Manager may be able to give advice about your application.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

1. Project details

This section sets the scene for the assessors and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on the project. Invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration. Is the application a resubmission?

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

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 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail, in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will be immediately rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will give you feedback on why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score your answers. You will receive feedback from them for each one.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers.

Question 1. Business opportunity

What is the business opportunity that your project addresses?

Describe:

  • 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 5 pages 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?

Describe:

  • the details of the target market, including the size, margins, market leaders, main 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? What is your route to market?

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
  • plans for end user or customer engagement
  • 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?

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?

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 5 pages long to support your answer. It must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 6. Innovation

What is innovative about your project?

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 5 pages 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?

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

You can upload a risk register as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 10MB and up to 5 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8. Team and facilities

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

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?

You can submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 10MB and up to 5 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9. Costs

What will your project cost?

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

Question 10. Added value to the UK

How does financial support from NATEP add value to the UK?

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

You can submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 10MB and up to 5 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academic institutions will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

NATEP is funded by the ATI programme. It supports companies in the aerospace supply chain to develop innovative technologies, working in collaboration with others and supported by higher tier companies. It equips them to win new business with existing customers and to diversify their customer base.

As well as grant funding, NATEP projects can get free access to a high calibre Technical Manager. They will help companies accelerate their technology development towards market readiness. NATEP projects are exempt from paying the industrial contribution to ATI.

Extra help

If you want help with NATEP, for example finding a partner or getting the Technical Manager’s support, contact the NATEP National Office. Call 020 7091 4543, email info@natep.org.uk or visit their website.

If you need help with your application, email support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

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