Gary Elliott • 22.11.23 • 3 min read

A new 5-year funding settlement for the Aerospace Technology Institute

Manufacturing is vital to any resilient and prosperous economy. It is also an important part of the move to a more sustainable world – from advanced materials and new processes to smart factories that generate significantly less waste.

It’s a fact that is recognised globally. Whether it is the game-changing investments made by the Biden Administration or the EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan, our peers are stepping up to grow their manufacturing base. At today’s “Autumn Statement for Growth” the Chancellor rightly celebrated the UK’s success as a manufacturing nation, while recognising the urgent need to drive up business investment. If the UK is to compete, we need to back our greatest industrial strengths with meaningful action.

Which is why I’m delighted that the Government’s £4.5bn package of support for manufacturing in today’s Autumn Statement includes a commitment to extend the ATI’s funding, with an additional £975 million from 2026 to 2030. Combined with industry co-funding, this will amount to nearly £2 billion of additional investment in sustainable aerospace research and technology.

The length of this settlement matters just as much as its size: giving aerospace companies the certainty they need to take risks and develop cutting-edge technologies. This is a real vote of confidence in the UK’s world-class aerospace sector, putting us in prime position to secure a greater share of a global market worth £4.3 trillion by 2050. If you want to compete globally in manufacturing, this is how to do it.

It’s also a testament to the ATI and our achievements over nearly 10 years. Our conference in Birmingham last week showed both a sector brimming with ambition and the real-world impact of ATI-funded projects: from Rolls-Royce’s flagship UltraFan programme, to ZeroAvia’s successful testing of hydrogen-powered flight, to TISICS’ pioneering work on metal composites. With this new funding, we can go even further.

Between now and 2030, the ATI will deliver the technology priorities in Destination Zero and make the UK the “go-to” centre of excellence for ultra-efficient, zero-carbon, and cross-cutting technologies. We will put the UK further on the path to net zero aviation by 2050. We will ensure each pound of public spending catalyses private investment many times over, while attracting transformative investments to the nations and regions of the UK. And we will help the next generation of aerospace innovators to thrive, building on our ATI Hub and new SME Programme.

We have an exciting opportunity to make the UK the world’s most vibrant ecosystem for the development and deployment of aerospace technology. For anyone committed to the success of our sector, we look forward to you joining us on this journey!