Funding competition NATEP helping SMEs innovate in aerospace – Spring 2021

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2.5 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

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is working with the Aerospace Technology Institute and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

NATEP competition is held approximately every 6 months. This is call 4 of 6 and for each call there is up to £2.5m funding available.

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, Accelerating Ambition. Your proposal will be subject to:

  • independent assessment by Innovate UK.
  • strategic review by the Aerospace Technology Institute.

You will need to pass both assessments in order to for your application to be recommended for funding. BEIS has the final funding decision. .

If you are successful, Innovate UK will perform financial viability and eligibility checks. Final approvals are issued by BEIS. You will be contracted by Innovate UK.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. The competition closes at 11am 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.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £300,000.

Your project must:

  • start by 1 October 2021
  • end by 31 March 2023

They can last between 12 and 18 months.

If your organisation is a UK registered business, or a research and technology organisation (RTO) participating as a business, you must show in your answer you can provide match funding from entirely private sector sources, across all projects you are involved in.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, research technology organisations (RTO), public sector organisations, charities or Academic Institutions
  • plan to carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • sign up to the Aerospace Technology Institute framework agreement

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, large businesses and RTOs cannot lead.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, research organisations, 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
  • sign up to the Aerospace Technology Institute framework agreement

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

Each partner must be invited into the service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account. All partners claiming funding must enter their own eligible project costs .

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.

Their costs must be listed in your answer to the question on costs not the finance section.

If you are a UK registered RTO participating as a business (undertaking economic activities), 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.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in the question on costs for why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must also provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you.

We expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

Number of applications

Any eligible UK registered business can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications.

Any non-leading UK business can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

All other organisations 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:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

European Commission State aid

You must apply under European Commission State aid rules if you are an applicant who is conducting activities that will affect trade of goods and electricity between Northern Ireland and the EU as envisaged by Article 10 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

In certain limited circumstances, the European Commission State aid rules may also apply if you are an organisation located in England, Wales, or Scotland and conduct activities that affect the trade of goods and electricity between Northern Ireland and the EU. For further information, please see section 7 of the BEIS technical guidance.

For further information see our general guidance on state aid and BEIS guidance on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

For applicants subject to the European Commission State aid rules, applicants will be required to prove that they were not an “Undertaking in Difficulty” 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.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, please take independent legal advice.

You must make sure at all times that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.
This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Funding

The ATI programme allocated up to £2.5 million to fund innovation projects in this 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.

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

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

No one project partner can be responsible for more than 70% of the total eligible project costs.

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

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

Academics must enter 80% of their full economic costs (FEC) into the application to match the costs on their Je-S form

Your proposal

Text update 24 March 2021: we have moved two bullet points to the correct position under 'projects we will not fund' to make it clear what projects are in scope.

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 in 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 a 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 such as advanced manufacturing


We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets and technological maturities.

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 general guidance.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects:

  • that focus solely on defence, space or other industrial sectors, but we will recognise dual use technologies providing the primary application is in civil aerospace
  • that focus on fundamental research, feasibility studies or experimental development
  • with scope outside of the UK aerospace technology strategy
  • that are dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country.

  • that are dependent on domestic inputs usage- for example if we insisted that a baker use 50% UK flour in their product.
6 April 2021
Competition opens
14 April 2021
Online briefing event: watch the recording
19 May 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
16 July 2021
Applicants notified

Before you start

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

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

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

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.

Please note we may share your application with other government departments with an interest in research on dual use aerospace technologies. We will ask you for your consent before doing so.

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 not be eligible for funding.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The Innovate UK assessors will score your answers for questions 3 to 12, questions 1 and 2 are not scored. You will receive feedback in IFS from them for each scored question.

Your application will also be assessed by BEIS and the Aerospace Technology Institute and their feedback will be provided separately.

The Aerospace Technology Institute evaluation is based on the answers to the ten scored questions in the application form and all the attached appendices.

The evaluation will consider the following criteria:

  • Market value – this includes the strength and validity of the business need and market opportunity; and the extent to which the delivery of this project provides UK competitive advantage
  • Market risk – this includes the level of market risk involved in delivering the stated economic value and the level of commitment to the exploitation within the UK
  • Technology value – this includes alignment with the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, the credibility and viability of the approach and an assessment of the potential to deliver innovation
  • Technology risk – this includes the match of technical capabilities and skills of the consortium and the strength of the management structures and procedures, including project, technical, risk and innovation management

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

Question 1. Project partners location (not scored)

Please state the name of each organisation along with its full registered address. If you are working with an academic institution this doesn’t need to be included.

Question 2. ATI Framework agreement (not scored)

List all organisations, within your project team, including your own, and indicate whether they have signed up to the ATI agreement.

Question 3. 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 a single PDF appendix no larger than 10MB and up to 5 A4 pages long to support your answer. It must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4. 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 5. 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 6. 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 7. 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 the cost of each work package) as a single PDF appendix no larger than 10MB and up to 5 A4 pages long to support your answer. It must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8. 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 intellectual property (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 to show your technology progression in a single PDF appendix no larger than 10MB and up to 5 A4 pages long to support your answer. It must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9. 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 the 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 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 10. 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 describing the skills and experience of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF no larger than 10MB and up to 5 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 11. 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

If you have an unfunded partner or partners that are not eligible for funding, you must include their costs in your answer here and not in the finance section.

Question 12. Added value to the UK

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

Address both of the following:

  • 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.
  • What will happen to the project if the application for funding is not successful? In particular say 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 in a PDF format no larger than 10MB and up to 5 A4 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

3. Finances

Each organisation claiming grant in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form.

Do not include any ineligible costs (for example costs of non-grant claiming partners) in this section, they must be listed in your answer to question 11.

For full details on what costs you can claim 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 The Aerospace Technology Institute.

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’.

Extra help

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. The NATEP office can also provide help finding a partner. Call 020 7091 4543, email info@natep.org.uk or visit their website.

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK EDGE

If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK EDGE.

This service forms part of our funded offer to you. These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth.

Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.

We encourage you to engage with EDGE, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Contact us

If you need more information, email support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

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