The Programme

The UK Aerospace Research & Technology (R&T) Programme represents a joint Government and industry investment that seeks to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in aerospace design and manufacture. It is principally a strategic programme addressing large-scale technology and capability challenges over the medium- to long-term timeframe. Under the UK Aerospace R&T Programme, government provides grant funding for research projects up to 50% of the total project value, and for capital investment projects up to 100% of the total investment value.

The programme is coordinated and managed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute. All three organisations work in close collaboration to deliver a coherent portfolio of projects to meet the objectives and priorities of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy.

The budget holder, BEIS, is accountable for the final decision regarding projects to progress and fund with Government resources, as well as performing Value for Money (VfM) assessment on project proposals when required.

The ATI is responsible for developing the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, supported by a network of advisory groups, and stimulating industry-led R&T projects that align with this strategy and maximise the potential to deliver UK economic benefit. The ATI provides strategic oversight of the R&T pipeline and portfolio, co-chairing the Strategic Review Committee with BEIS and advising on project investment.

Innovate UK is the delivery partner for the UK Aerospace R&T Programme, performing independent assessment of proposals, commercial management and downstream portfolio management, encompassing the monitoring of projects under contract.

Developing the ATI Strategic R&D Project Portfolio

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK are transitioning to a new application process for the UK Aerospace R&T Programme. The changes will improve the effectiveness of assessment and efficiency of the process, reducing application and funding timescales.

An independent process evaluation of the UK Aerospace R&T programme, commissioned by BEIS and conducted by Ipsos MORI, identified that the ATI has been effective in creating a UK Technology Strategy, Raising Ambition, and engaging with the UK aerospace sector to develop ambitious technology proposals. The application process was shown to be rigorous and fair, providing high-quality feedback and ensuring well-defined project objectives.

The evaluation also highlighted the potential to improve the efficiency of the funding process, for both prospective applicants and assessors. The time from the initial applicant engagement to contract could be as much as 14 months. Within an increasingly fast-moving technological landscape, these delays could be detrimental to the impact and exploitation of R&T projects, as well as raising administrative costs.

In response to the evaluation ATI, BEIS and Innovate UK are launching a new application process.

The new application process aims to make it possible for applicants to get to contract in 6 months, subject to the applicant achieving certain deadlines and passing requirements of the programme. The revisions described below are the first and most significant step to achieving this.

As part of the improvements, Full Applications will be created, assessed and managed on the new Innovate UK digital platform, the Innovation Funding System (IFS). The platform is being introduced across all Innovate UK funding competitions, and allows more efficient application and application management. IFS will be live for Full Applications following the February Strategic Review 1 (SR1).

Monthly SR1 reviews will continue until further notice. BEIS, Innovate UK and ATI are considering altering the approach to the first stage of application, and will update this notice in Q1 2018 with further information. Until further notice, applicants should continue to develop outline proposals following the 10-question format using off-line documentation of their own and submit these to the ATI for SR1. Applicants successful at SR1 will be sent an access link for the IFS system.

Click here for a summary of the application process

Click here for the detailed Guidance For Applicants

New quarterly Full Application batches will take place in January, April, July and October to review Full Applications. Once submitted, the Full Application is frozen and will undergo ATI, BEIS and Innovate UK independent assessment in parallel. The Strategic Review Committee (SRC) will continue to review and agree funding recommendations between BEIS and ATI.

Click here to download the latest ATI submission and decision dates

As before, all applicants must sign the Institute’s Framework Agreement before submitting proposals.

Click here for more information on the ATI Framework Agreement

Engaging with the ATI

Complementing the formal process, the ATI works closely with industry and consortia during proposal development and may act as the catalyst for entirely new R&T activity. The ATI’s objective is to maximise the impact of projects, both technical and economic.

Potential applicants wishing to engage the ATI to discuss potential projects can do so by contacting us using the form below.