The ATI has been working with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to provide direction for early-stage research led by the University of Bristol, Cranfield University, Newcastle University and University College London (UCL).

The research studies scoped key issues such as future hybrid and electric aircraft and structural challenges associated with new materials. Focusing on themes set out in the ATI’s technology strategy Raising Ambition, the six-month studies covered structures, propulsion, systems, and environment and economics. The studies were successful in scoping out next steps and mapping opportunities for future research, development and collaboration.

The ATI supported the programme by helping to shape potential research opportunities with a view to them becoming a larger, more integrated programme that the universities could progress into mature research, and open up opportunities for industry collaboration. Industry was also on hand to help with technical advice and direction, showing how important these topics are to the whole aerospace sector.

The university study leads were invited to present their findings at a recent joint EPSRC and ATI Hybrid-Electric and Electric Aircraft Research Dissemination Symposium. The event was well attended with 150 delegates representing a diverse aerospace audience. The energy, passion and engagement in the room was incredible. And what echoed most throughout the day was the desire to continue the work the studies have begun.

The morning of the event featured presentations from the universities and a panel session, while the afternoon was largely focused around break-out sessions dedicated to the individual research topics. The sessions were engaging and they provided attendees with an opportunity to discuss the research directly with the leads, and contribute to ideas of how the work could be advanced.

Our thanks to UCL for hosting this event that on the day created such a powerful outcome.

The ATI is keen to continue the momentum and leverage the enthusiasm from the event to provide even greater insight into some of the early stage research challenges identified in Raising Ambition. Building on the success of the event, the ATI, EPSRC and others recently came together to progress discussions on the research studies.

Hybrid-electric and electric aircraft development is a hugely exciting area and a potential Grand Challenge for the UK. Academia has grasped the opportunity to scope out research that will help UK aerospace lead this disruptive new technology, and the Institute is keen to support this area of work. We look forward to sharing updates and insights with the sector as they develop.

Photo: James McMicking, Chief Strategy Officer for the ATI, gives the keynote address at the symposium.