BEIS is the government department with national policy responsibility for science, innovation and higher education, as well as industry. As the UK government representative on the Aerospace Growth Partnership (see below), it co-sponsors the ATI in conjunction with the civil aerospace industry. It provides £150m per annum to the ATI programme (matched by industry) and supports 50 per cent of the ATI’s running costs. It sits on the ATI board, and approves the projects and programmes supported by the ATI.
UKRI is the national institution bringing together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England. The ATI works principally with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK (IUK). Both organisations sit on the ATI board. ATI works with EPSRC on areas of common interest, consistent with EPSRC’s independent position in supporting academic research. Innovate UK partners the ATI in operational processes such as promoting R&D calls, assessing applications for support, managing contracts with beneficiaries, and monitoring projects.
The AGP is the national leadership forum for civil aerospace policy. It brings together government and industry to determine the main strategic challenges facing the UK civil aerospace industry and to create initiatives to overcome them. It constitutes a top-level board, supported by working groups addressing overall strategy, skills, manufacturing and the supply chain, and engagement. The ATI is the largest initiative to emerge from the AGP and leads on technology questions. The ATI is a member of the board and is active on all the working groups.
Many universities are active in researching technologies relevant to aerospace - around 30 feature in the ATI project portfolio, specialising in a wide range of subjects. For example, Rolls-Royce manages a network of some 13 university technology centres (UTCs) focused on propulsion. A group of 12 universities with an interest in aerospace has come together under the name of the UK Aerospace Research Consortium (UK-ARC) to enable more joined-up working and to present a single entry point to UK academia.
The Catapults occupy a central role in the UK’s innovation landscape. They are not-for-profit, independent centres connecting businesses with the UK’s research and academic communities. They operate across a number of technology areas, including manufacturing, digital and IT, satellites, transport, energy, and medical. The ATI works primarily with the seven centres constituting the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult, as well as the Connected Places Catapult, and the Digital Catapult.