The ATI and Innovair, the Swedish programme for aeronautics, together with delivery partners Innovate UK and Vinnova, have launched a new UK-Sweden joint funding call for aerospace R&D projects.

The call, operated under the EUREKA Network Projects programme, has been developed to foster industry-led collaborative R&D projects between the UK and Swedish to advance both countries’ aerospace industries. UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £2.25 million to develop aerospace technology in partnership with Swedish companies.

Applicants are expected to develop projects that have strong market potential for the UK and Sweden and all applications must be guided by the respective aerospace strategies of the UK and Sweden: the UK Aerospace Research & Technology Programme strategy (Raising Ambition) and the Swedish aeronautical research and innovation agenda (NRIA Flyg), respectively.

Project ideas are welcome to come forward covering all aspects of civil aerospace and aeronautics. Projects should demonstrate alignment to the national aerospace strategies of the UK and Sweden, which includes structures, materials, systems, propulsion, manufacturing processes, and through-life engineering services.

The call was announced at the Farnborough International Airshow, and the Institute was honoured to be joined Sweden’s Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Torbjörn Sohlström, to mark the occasion.

Stephen Henwood CBE, Chairman of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said:

This call is the result of discussions over the last two years. Collaborating across borders is not straightforward.  Organisations such as the ATI are, after all, set up to benefit the national economy. I am sure the same is true on the Swedish side. But this preparatory work has shown us clearly that, done properly, there is absolutely a prize to be won through working together.

Our teams have worked from a strong base of previous collaboration, shared their strategic goals, explored in detail where mutual interest lies, developed a deep knowledge of the capabilities in both countries, and made the case. They have designed a call to have a catalysing effect – facilitating new relationships, accelerating technology development in mutually important areas, creating new supply chains, and increasing competitiveness in both countries.

The UK’s Ambassador to Sweden, His Excellency David Cairns, provided some words of welcome for the new initiative:

“For two countries such as Britain and Sweden our economic development depends on high-quality research, innovation, technology, development, and collaboration, and in perhaps no sector is this more important than aerospace. I hope that through this joint funding call, both our countries will close gaps in capability, gain access to new partners, bolster existing capability, and encourage greater levels of trade and investment between both our countries.”

The call is now open, and will close at noon on Wednesday 24th October 2018.

For more details, and to register and apply, please visit the Innovate UK (here) or the EUREKA (here) web sites.

Image above: His Excellency Torbjörn Sohlström (L) and Stephen Henwood CBE at Farnborough International Airshow.

Funding support for the latest technologies in aerospace engine manufacturing and performance have been announced by Aerospace Minister Richard Harrington.

The two projects, jointly funded by Rolls-Royce and the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), will bring together the best talent in the industry from academia and businesses to work on world-renowned research for aero-engine maintenance and manufacturing. The funding will support research to develop new engine cooling systems and cutting-edge technology to stop the formation of ice crystals on engines when cruising at high altitudes.

Aerospace Minister Richard Harrington confirmed the £10.7 million government funding towards the Rolls-Royce-led R&D projects on a visit to Rolls-Royce’s engineering and manufacturing facilities in Derby. In June 2017, Rolls-Royce committed to invest £150 million in their UK facilities to support plans of doubling engine production.

Aerospace Minister Richard Harrington said:

As the home of the first jet engine, the UK has an aerospace heritage that’s revered around the world. Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we will continue this legacy and have already committed to work with industry to invest £3.9 billion to further transform the sector.

These two projects will see the best talent from the industry come together to help the UK reach even greater heights in aerospace excellence.

The latest projects, worth over £21 million in total, are supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Rolls-Royce with academic industry partners. This will be delivered through Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency.

Chief Technology Officer for Rolls-Royce Paul Stein said:

We welcome the support announced by the UK Government today. Rolls-Royce is focused on pioneering new technologies and developing the next generation of highly skilled engineers by working with academia and industry.  These research projects will play an important role in developing the innovative technologies needed to enhance performance, improve efficiency and reduce emissions of future aircraft.

The projects set to receive funding are:

  • COAST (Critical Oil and Air System Technologies), £3.7 million, focuses on the development of engine systems to support cabin cooling, and advanced sealing solutions for oil systems and bearing chambers. The technologies developed in COAST will support reductions in fuel burn and improve the reliability of oil systems and the integration of engine systems with the airframe. This project is led by Rolls-Royce plc. in collaboration with Bladon Jet Ltd based, an SME in Coventry and the Universities of Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.
  • DE-ICER (Design Excellence – Ice Crystal Engine Research), £7 million, focuses on tackling the formation of ice crystals that can damage an aircraft. The project aims to target current gaps in ice crystal formation and develop anti-icing systems and technology to protect the engine. This project is led by Rolls-Royce plc. in collaboration with Satavia Ltd, an SME in Cambridge, GKN Aerospace and the University of Oxford.

In 2015, the Government and industry committed to spend £3.9 billion to further transform aerospace research until 2026 to help this sector build on our unique strengths in the UK through the Industrial Strategy.

The Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. It sets out how we are building a Britain fit for the future – how we will help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.

Funding support for the next generation of aerospace projects, including X-Ray imaging technology for engine assembly and maintenance, have been announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark. Each project, jointly funded by Rolls-Royce and government, brings together academia and businesses from across the UK to work together on world-leading research for aero-engine technologies.

At the ground-breaking event for Rolls-Royce’s new engine test bed facility in Derby, the Business Secretary announced the award of £24 million government funding towards four Rolls-Royce-led collaborative R&D projects. The four projects, worth £58.3 million in total, are supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute and will be delivered through Innovate UK.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

Our modern Industrial Strategy is backed by the biggest increase in R&D investment this country has ever seen. We have committed, along with industry, to spend £3.9 billion to build on our reputation for aerospace excellence.

These pioneering projects Rolls-Royce are spearheading will help us deliver this ambition, with joint government-industry funding going to projects that bring the best minds from Rolls-Royce, SMEs and academia to unlock breakthroughs in technology that is fundamental to the aerospace sector.

The projects set to receive funding are:

  • PACE (Proving Advanced Concept Engine), £22m project
  • CAJoRR (Cutting edge Approaches for Joining of RR1073), £8m project
  • ENCASE (Enabling Novel Controls & Advanced Sensors for Engines), £18.4m project
  • EXCITE (EXternal Component Integration of Technologies for Engines), £9.2m project

Mark Scully, the Institute’s Head of Technology for Advanced Systems and Propulsion, said:

The Government has announced its investment of £24 million to support four ATI-approved Rolls-Royce led R&D projects: developing the next generation of more efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft engines. The UK aerospace sector is one that is ambitious and innovative, leading the way in technological advancements and world-class research. This announcement is a great example of such ambition, and another step towards securing our reputation of aerospace excellence. The ATI is dedicated to supporting the UK aerospace sector and has a crucial role to play in advising and guiding joint Government and industry investment. To date, we have approved over 200 projects through the UK’s R&T programme.

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said:

We welcome the support announced by the UK Government today. These research projects will help Rolls-Royce and our partners develop more efficient, technologically sophisticated aircraft engines that are vital to reducing emissions and underline the aerospace industry’s commitment to improving the environment.

We are focused on pioneering new technologies and these projects will support important advancements for our UltraFan® engine.  The UltraFan® engine will offer a 25% fuel efficiency improvement over the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines.

The plans for the testbed were announced by Rolls-Royce in June 2017 as part of a wider £150m investment in UK aerospace facilities.

The new testbed, which is expected to be commissioned in 2020, will support Rolls-Royce’s ongoing industrial transformation and will provide important additional capacity as the civil aerospace business continues to ramp-up engine production and deliver on a record order book.

Capable of testing a range of today’s engines, including the Trent XWB and the Trent 1000, the facility will also serve as a base for testing UltraFan®, Rolls-Royce’s engine for the next generation of aircraft.

The new testbed, which will be the largest indoor facility of its type in the world, will harness the latest digital technology to set conditions and obtain evidence from a wide variety of test activities, such as water ingestion and endurance testing. It will also benefit from the latest advancements in test equipment including new x-ray capabilities.

The testbed itself will have an internal area of 7,500m2, making it larger than a Premiership football pitch, and will be surrounded by two concrete walls which measure up to 1.7m thick.

(Image: An artist’s impression of the new Rolls-Royce testbed © Rolls-Royce)

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the National Graphene Institute (NGI) at The University of Manchester have published a joint paper on the potential of graphene in aerospace.

In consultation with a range of stakeholders, the ATI and NGI have brought together a sector perspective of the benefits of working with graphene and the potential market opportunities available to UK aerospace companies.

Graphene – widely hailed as a wonder material since it was first isolated in 2004 and the subsequent Nobel Prize in Physics that was awarded to two Manchester scientists in 2010 – has the potential to positively impact aircraft performance, cost and fuel efficiency.

The safety and performance properties of aircraft could be significantly improved by incorporating atomically-thin graphene into existing materials used to build planes, while the reduced weight of the material could have a positive impact on the fuel efficiency of the aircraft and, as result, the environment.

In an exclusive introduction to the INSIGHT paper, Sir Richard Branson said:

The potential for graphene to solve enduring challenges within the aerospace sector presents real opportunities for the material to become disruptive, and a key enabler in future aircraft technology. We need to accelerate the opportunity for the UK to realise the benefits from graphene by creating a portfolio of graphene-related research and technology projects which if undertaken would lead to real impact in our aerospace industry.

The joint ATI and NGI paper was launched at the Materials Research Exchange 2018 by Mark Summers, Head of Technology for Manufacturing, Materials & Structures at the ATI, and James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester at The University of Manchester.

Mark Summers said:

The UK has pioneered the research and development of graphene. The material has the potential to bring exciting applications and efficiencies into the sector. Although its exploitation into the aerospace sector is still in its infancy, it is anticipated that the scope of potential applications will continue to expand.

We will seek to accelerate the maturation of graphene technology opportunities through our R&T programme, in a bid for the UK to remain ahead of the challenge and continue leading on the research and exploitation of the material in aerospace.

James Baker said:

Major generational improvements in the aerospace sector have been associated with embracing new materials. Aluminium and carbon fibre have seen planes become faster, greener, cheaper with more functionality. Now graphene and related two-dimensional materials can mark the next step-change.

“By incorporating graphene into the existing materials used to manufacture planes, performance properties could be improved across number of key areas. By utilising the multi-functional properties of graphene and through collaboration between industry and academia, there are significant opportunities which can accelerate the next-generation of aerospace technologies.

The ATI and NGI are continuing to collaborate on accelerating the technology development cycle for graphene applications in the UK aerospace sector – identifying suitable opportunities for graphene and ensuring that the UK aerospace sector can leverage the material’s amazing properties to remain globally competitive.

Organisations that worked with the Aerospace Technology Institute and National Graphene Institute on the paper included the University of Central Lancashire, the Centre for Process Innovation, QinetiQ, Morson Projects Limited and Haydale Limited with input from Ekosgen.

The ATI has today launched a Fixed Trade Calculator to support the UK aerospace sector, particularly those organisations that don’t have easy access to simplified trade-off study capabilities.

The Fixed Trade Calculator enables assessment of the impact of novel technologies on representative conventional narrow- and wide-bodied aircraft. It provides users with the fuel burn benefits, operating cost changes and environmental impact (in terms of CO2) that can result from introducing new technologies onto these aircraft.

The online resource is designed to inform discussion and support decision making within the UK aerospace supply chain – and is already being used to assess relevant project applications made to the UK Aerospace R&T Programme.

This is a first for the UK, and ground-breaking in global aerospace. The few organisations that have the capability to make fixed trade calculations are often unable to share the modelling outside of their partner organisations. The Institute’s Fixed Trade Calculator has been developed using public data to provide access to this capability to all organisations within the UK aerospace ecosystem.

Steve Clerkin, Head of Aerospace Electrical Power Systems at Raytheon said:

The gold nugget for power electronics companies is being able to estimate the value of one kilogram of weight change in terms of fuel burn and platform operating costs. Until now, this capability was not something that was easily accessible to us. The Fixed Trade Calculator developed by the ATI is the first independent way of calculating such trade-offs, giving companies credible information to support decision making and increased competitive opportunities.

Gary Elliott, Chief Executive of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said:

The Fixed Trade Calculator developed by the Institute will be a unique capability for the UK supply chain.  Sharing a capability such as this, which has previously only been available to a small group of well-resourced manufacturers, will be a significant benefit to those working in UK aerospace. Now, through this online resource, UK suppliers will be able to understand more about how the technology they develop will impact the overall performance of representative narrow and wide-bodied aircraft.

In this short video, Dr Alice Stitt, Technologist within the Institute’s Whole Aircraft team, provides an introduction to the benefits and use of the Fixed Trade Calculator:

More information on the Fixed Trade Calculator, and details on how to apply for access, can be found here.



  • Nearly £54 million of investment over seven aerospace R&D projects
  • 300 delegates from UK and international aerospace sector convene in Birmingham for inaugural ATI Conference
  • ATI previews Fixed Trade Calculator – a new aircraft performance tool for the UK supply chain

Following the launch of the Industrial Strategy White Paper, Business Secretary Greg Clark has today announced £53.7 million of funding for seven R&D projects to grow innovation in the aerospace sector.  This is part of government’s work with industry through the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) to tackle barriers to growth, boost exports and grow high value jobs.

The announcement comes as the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) holds its inaugural conference, Realising Ambition, at the NEC in Birmingham (28-29 November).  Over 300 delegates from across UK and international aerospace have gathered to hear an update on the ATI’s UK aerospace technology strategy, learn more about the technology of today and the future, and understand how to realise commercial opportunities in the global market.

Today’s announcement builds on the £923 million of Government investment delivered through the ATI programme, which has supported 196 projects involving 208 different companies and organisations.  Establishing the Institute in 2013, government and industry made a joint commitment to invest £3.9 billion in civil aerospace R&D projects by 2026.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“Earlier this week, we launched our ambitious Industrial Strategy which builds on our significant economic strengths, while looking at innovative ways to improve our productivity and will ensure government continues to work closely with industry, including our UK aerospace sector.“The UK aerospace sector is one of the most successful in the world, with strengths in some of the most technologically advanced parts of aircraft.  To support this, we are today announcing £53.7 million of investment in seven aerospace research and development (R&D) projects across the UK.  This investment is part of the £3.9 billion government and industry committed to the sector by 2026.

The Aerospace Technology Institute plays a crucial role in helping to direct this investment and maintain UK excellence in the sector.

Gary Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said:

The ATI programme is dedicated to supporting the UK aerospace sector by leveraging joint Government and industry investment. To date, we have supported 196 projects, and have facilitated connections and collaborations across the sector and beyond.

This week the Institute was positively referenced in the Government’s Industrial Strategy white paper as an exemplar of a successful sector deal. Our technology strategy, Raising Ambition, seeks to encourage the UK aerospace sector to be more ambitious in the research programmes into new, advanced and disruptive technologies – particularly in the value streams of propulsion, aerostructures, systems and whole aircraft.

The projects announce today are a perfect example of that, and the fantastic response to the ATI Conference shows that the sector wants to come together and collaborate.

The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) investment, delivered through the ATI programme in partnership with Innovate UK, will support collaborative research projects into aircraft power systems, new battery technology for storing and using energy, new ways to enhance cabin air quality, an open architecture for flight deck apps, innovative technologies for next-generation engines and the establishment of leading additive manufacturing test-bed facilities at two locations in the UK.

Partners involved in these projects include Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation, Honeywell, Safran, the Manufacturing Technology Centre and a number of research organisations, universities and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Speakers taking part in the conference include Paul Stein, Chief Technology Officer of Rolls-Royce; Mark Cousin, Senior Vice President of Flight Demonstrators at Airbus; Dr Jaiwon Shin, Associate Administrator for Aeronautics at NASA; Peter L. Hoffman, Vice President for Intellectual Property Management at Boeing; and other senior leaders from across the global aerospace sector.

Also being previewed at the ATI Conference 2017 is an aircraft performance tool to support the UK aerospace sector. The Institute’s new Fixed Trade Calculator enables assessment of the impact of novel technologies on representative conventional narrow- and wide-bodied aircraft. The online resource will inform discussion and support decision making by providing users with the fuel burn benefits, operating cost changes, and environmental impact in terms of CO2 for new technologies.

Gary Elliott said:

“The Fixed Trade Calculator developed by the Institute will be a unique capability for the UK supply chain.  Sharing a capability such as this, which has previously only been available to a small group of well-resourced manufacturers, will be a significant benefit to those working in UK aerospace. Now, through this online resource, UK suppliers will be able to understand more about how the technology they develop will impact the overall performance of representative narrow and wide-bodied aircraft.”


The projects announced today are:

  • The U-CAIR project, led by Honeywell in partnership with the National Physical Laboratory and Small and Medium Enterprises Gas Sensing Solutions and SST Sensing, is developing cabin air sensor technology to improve passengers’ cabin experience. The U-CAIR (UK ATI Cabin Air) project will not only create an improved passenger experience in large passenger aircraft, business jets and regional aircraft, but also allow for further fuel savings of up to 2000 litres on long haul flights. Receiving a grant of £2.3 million, this project will enable the UK to develop key technologies that will lead the market in passenger-friendly aircraft.
  • The Open Flight Deck project, led by GE Aviation, will seek to overcome the barriers to adopting new technologies on the flight deck; traditionally difficult to do because of the high cost of change and certification. Open Flight Deck will be an open platform that allows the OEM to work with a range of suppliers to develop ‘apps’ – easier to build, quicker to deploy, and with the potential for upgrade as new capabilities become possible. The consortium behind the project, which has received a grant of £13.1 million, also includes BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Coventry University and the University of Southampton.
  • The DRAMA (Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing facilities for Aerospace) project is led by the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) with partners ATS Global, Autodesk, Granta Design, Midlands Aerospace Alliance, National Physics Laboratory, Renishaw and the University of Birmingham. DRAMA will establish leading additive manufacturing ‘test bed’ facilities for the aerospace industry and its supply chain at the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (based at the MTC in Coventry) and the Renishaw AM Solution Centre in Stone. The project will showcase the use of digital technologies to drive productivity and reliability in AM, leading to increased adoption of AM technologies by the aerospace sector and, in the long term, other industrial sectors. It will also deliver the world’s first digitally-twinned reconfigurable AM facility and establish the UK as a global leader in additive manufacturing technology. The project, part of the ATI programme, has received a grant of £11.2 million through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
  • Building on the success of the Trent family of three shaft engines, Rolls-Royce has announced its intent to develop UltraFan™, a novel Ultra High Bypass Ratio (UHBR) geared architecture. This provides a significant improvement in propulsive efficiency and will be available for the next generation of aircraft. The DELICE (Design of Engineered Lightweight Innovative Casings for Engine) project provides a fundamental enabler for this new architecture in the design, development and manufacture of the world’s largest composite fan case, offering a low-speed and pressure ratio fan system.  Rolls-Royce will work in partnership with the National Composites Centre and the University of Oxford and use the UK manufacturing services supply chain to achieve this overall aim. The project has received a grant of £6 million.
  • The Power-Plant Integration with Platform Systems (PIPS) program will develop technologies in the UK to enable greater integration between the power-plant and airframe, resulting in a more capable and efficient aircraft. This programme shall specifically address structural, thermal/fluid and control system integration and the associated aircraft evaluation tools to quantify the benefits realised through greater integration. This will result in a lighter, more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly engine and aircraft of the future. Rolls-Royce’s key partners to successfully deliver this project are the University of Oxford, Cranfield University and Queens University, Belfast. The project has received a grant of £4.5 million.
  • The SMPP (Scalable Multi-Platform Power) project will establish More-Electric Aircraft electrical systems requirements for a range of aircraft types, and will develop systems and sub-systems that will work together to address power generation, power distribution/conversion, and flight critical power consumption. The consortium – led by Safran Electrical & Power UK in partnership with Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation, Raytheon and UTC Aerospace Systems – will encourage airframers to contribute to and evaluate the work performed by the consortium. The project has received a grant of £13 million.
  • The Zephyr Innovation Programme (ZIP) was created as a strategic R&D project to develop new cutting-edge component technologies to support Airbus’s Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS). ZIP is led by Airbus in partnership with Axillium Research, Formtech Composites, Productiv, OXIS Energy, Newcastle University and Cranfield University. The grant of £3.6 million will support the development of key technologies in aerostructures, battery technology and energy storage, and propulsion that will enable flight performance improvements, expanding the operational capabilities of the next generation of Airbus Zephyr.

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) has provided Meggitt PLC with £3.7 million of Government funding to finance research and development in advanced thermal systems technology for next-generation energy efficient ultra-high bypass ratio (UHBR) aero engines.

The co-funded programme will focus on developing innovative new technologies which will enable the design of increasingly lighter, more compact thermal management solutions to maximise aero engine performance.

ATI’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Elliott said:

We are pleased to support this project to deliver novel heat management technology, which is a key enabler for next-generation engines. It demonstrates the UK’s technological capability in a challenging but strategic area.

Hugh Clayton, Meggitt PLC Group Director, Engineering & Strategy added:

Meggitt is grateful for this ATI funding as we continue our focus on developing heat exchangers for the next generation of engines for passenger aircraft. This technology is an important enabler for more efficient and quieter air travel.

Please click here to download the full press release.

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