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 Research and Technology (R&T) Programme.  The changes will improve the effectiveness of assessment and efficiency of the process, reducing application and funding timescales making it possible for applications to get to contract in six months.

A BEIS independent process evaluation of the UK aerospace R&T programme, conducted by Ipsos MORI, identified that the Institute 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 compromise the impact and exploitation of R&T projects, as well as raising administrative costs.

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

The new process

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

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. An overview of the process and key dates for 2018 are provided below.

Application process overview:



Further information

Informational webinars will be made available during February to provide an overview of the changes and what it means for applicants.  Details of how to connect can be requested via The sessions will also be recorded and made available on the ATI website.

For all other enquiries, please refer to the information below:

  • Questions about the new process can be sent to:
  • Questions about IFS specifically should be directed to the IUK IFS team: / 0300 3214 357