Funding competition ATI programme: R&D funding for smaller business, expression of interest, Autumn 2020

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £8 million to carry out industry-led civil aerospace collaborative R&D projects. This funding is from the ATI Programme.

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Competition sections

Description

Up to £8 million is allocated from the ATI Programme for SMEs to deliver world leading aerospace technologies in the UK. This supports and encourages industrial investment into the aerospace sector and its supply chain, through the funding of innovative and high impact projects. These projects will demonstrate forward-looking and disruptive solutions to UK civil aerospace challenges.

This phase is for expressions of interest. The full stage competition will open on 1 March 2021.

Only successful applications from the expression of interest competition will be invited to apply for the full stage competition. Successful applications from this competition will be reviewed alongside the successful full stage applications.

We will not accept unjustified changes to the project consortium or costs. If you make changes between the expression of interest and the full stage competition we may reject your application.

Your project start date must be no later than 1 September 2021.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £300,000 and £1.5 million.

Who can apply

State aid

Innovate UK is unable to award grant funding to organisations meeting the condition known as undertakings in difficulty (UiD). However, as per the amendment on 2 July 2020 to the General Block Exemption regulation, we will provide funding to organisations that can prove they were not a UiD on the date of 31 December 2019 but became a UiD between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2021. We will ask for evidence of this.

Any UK registered business claiming grant 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 on state aid.

Your project

Only successful applicants from this expression of interest competition will be invited to take part in the full-stage competition. We are not allocating any funding to this competition.

Your project must:

If your project’s total eligible costs or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, research and technology organisations (RTO), public sector organisations or charities
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions, charities, public sector organisations or research and technology organisations (RTO) cannot lead.


Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation, research organisation or RTO
  • involve a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited by the lead organisation

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will not count towards the total eligible project costs but must be included in the attached appendix in your answer to question 9.

If an RTO is 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.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition and must be selected through a participant’s normal procurement process. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK. If an overseas subcontractor is selected, a case must be made as to why no UK-based subcontractor can be used including a detailed rationale, evidence of UK companies that have been approached and reasons why they were unable to do so. A cheaper cost is not deemed as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

Multiple applications

When a business leads on an application it can collaborate in a further 2 applications.

If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

An academic institution, charity, public sector organisation, research organisation or RTO can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Funding

The ATI Programme has allocated up to £8 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

We are not allocating any funding in this competition. If you are successful in this expression of interest stage you will be invited to apply into the full-stage competition.

Full-stage competition

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

At least 50% of the total grant funding must go to the SMEs in your consortium.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 70% if you are a UK registered micro and small organisation
  • 60% if you are a UK registered medium organisation
  • 50% if you are a UK registered large organisation

No one project partner can incur more than 70% of the total project costs.

UK registered large businesses in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total project costs. If your consortium contains more than one large business, this maximum will be shared between them.

The UK registered research organisations in your consortium undertaking non-economic activities can share up to 30% of the total project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them. They can each claim 100% of their total eligible costs.UK registered research organisations undertaking economic activities will be treated as businesses.

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, including in relation to undertakings in difficulty.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to help SME’s to develop and encourage technological innovation within the civil aerospace sector, which can be exploited in the next 5 years.

Your project must align with the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy.

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

Specific themes

Your project must have a potential application within the civil aerospace sector. This can include dual use technologies.

Your proposal must align with the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Accelerating Ambition’, which is split into these areas:

  • vehicles: strengthening the UK’s whole-aircraft design and system integration capability, and positioning it for future generations of civil aircraft
  • advanced systems: developing UK advanced systems technologies to capture high-value opportunities in current and future aircraft
  • aerostructures: ensuring the UK is a global leader in the development of large complex structures, particularly wings
  • propulsion and power: advancing a new generation of more efficient propulsion technologies, particularly large turbofans
  • cross-cutting enablers: developing high value design capabilities, advanced materials, manufacturing and assembly, and advanced through-life engineering technologies

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding 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
  • that cover fundamental research, feasibility studies or experimental development
  • with scope outside of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy

2 November 2020
ATI information day: register here
10 November 2020
Competition opens
16 November 2020
Online briefing event: view here
6 January 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
19 February 2021
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

Innovate UK is unable to award grant funding to organisations meeting the condition known as undertakings in difficulty (UiD).

What we ask you

The application is split into 2 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.

1. Project details

This section provides background 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.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We collect and report on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data to address under-representation in business innovation and ensure equality, diversity and inclusion across all our activities.

You must complete this EDI survey and then select yes in the application question. The survey will ask you questions on your gender, age, ethnicity and disability status. You will always have the option to ‘prefer not to say’ if you do not feel comfortable sharing this information.

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, and 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.

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 200 words long. Do not include any links to websites 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 one A4 page PDF appendix to support your answer. It must be no larger than 10MB and the font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 2. Market

What is the size of the potential market for your project?

Describe or explain:

  • 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? What is your route to market?

Describe or explain 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 and 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 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/indirect result of this project?

Describe or explain:

  • which jobs will be safeguarded
  • any training requirements
  • why the project is needed to safeguard or create these jobs

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.

Describe or explain:

  • 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
  • rival technologies and alternative R&D strategies
  • how you will measure your success

You must submit a work breakdown structure (including the cost of each work package) as a one A4 page PDF appendix to support your answer. It must be no larger than 10MB and the font 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 must submit a table listing the technology, why it is innovative, and the change in technology or manufacturing readiness at the start and end of the project.in a one A4 page PDF appendix to support your answer. It must be no larger than 10MB and the font 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 explain:

  • 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?

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

Provide us with estimates of partners’ costs and the funding you are seeking.

Type “Table attached” as your answer.

You must submit an appendix of your estimates of the total costs and total funding requested for this project in a table as a single A4 PDF or spreadsheet. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Give your table the following headings:

  • partner’s name
  • country where work is being carried out
  • partner’s eligible costs (£)
  • funding sought by partner (£)
  • partner’s ineligible costs (£) for example end user or non-UK businesses. (Non-UK businesses should enter their funding sought as zero).

Question 10. Added value to the UK

How does financial support from the ATI Programme add value to the UK?

Address the following:

  1. Why you need your requested amount of 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.

Your answer must detail 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.

You must also describe whether 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

This competition is funded from the ATI programme budget. The ATI 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, part of UK Research and Innovation
  • the Aerospace Technology Institute

We work in collaboration to deliver a portfolio of projects to meet the objectives of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Accelerating Ambition’.

BEIS is the government department accountable for the programme budget and decides which projects will be funded.

Further help and information

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).

The KTN is hosting an information day for this competition on 2 November 2020. Find out more and register on the KTN site.

If you need more information about how to apply email support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Enterprise Europe Network

If you are a UK SME and successful in receiving an award, you will be contacted by your local Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Innovation Advisor. They act on behalf of Innovate UK to discuss the growth opportunities for your business.

They offer bespoke business support services to help you maximise your project and business potential. This service forms part of your Innovate UK offer under our commitment to help UK SMEs grow and scale.

Please engage positively with your EEN contact so that, working together, you can determine the most appropriate form of growth support for your business.

Need help with this service? Contact us