Access to Horizon Europe – a great opportunity for UK aerospace

Confirmation that the UK will have access to Horizon Europe as part of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement is welcome news for the aerospace sector.

Horizon Europe – launched today – is the most ambitious EU multilateral funding scheme yet and as part of the seven-year €95 billion package, a ‘climate, energy and mobility cluster’ will offer significant grant funding opportunities for aerospace research and technology. The ‘digital, industry and space’ cluster will also provide grant funding for research into advanced manufacturing technologies, many of which are directly applicable to aerospace.


In addition, the next iteration of Clean Sky – the European Partnership for Clean Aviation – will start in the Autumn and is set to accelerate the development, integration, and validation of technology specifically aimed at achieving climate neutrality for aviation.

Clean Aviation in particular is set to focus on several large-scale ground-based and flying technology demonstrators. Owing to their scale and complexity, the programme will be a crucial component of European aerospace R&D, with pan-European collaboration allowing a much greater scale of technology development to de-risk and mature emerging technologies such as hydrogen prior to product development.

Along with the ATI, the combination of these programmes creates an unrivalled ecosystem for the aerospace sector, with the funding, collaboration and network opportunities enabling research to take place that is beyond the scope of individual countries.

The UK has done excep­tionally well from EU research programmes in previous years and in addition to the grant funding it has provided, EU schemes have enabled UK companies, universities and research organisations to broaden their knowledge, enter international supply chains at an early stage, and gain access to skills and infrastructure not readily available in the UK.

Making the most of the opportunity

As aviation addresses the challenge of zero carbon and complex new mobility markets, the industry must develop a vast swathe of new technologies in short order and no one country can accomplish this alone.

While associating to the Horizon Europe was always seen as the preferred option by the UK research and technology community, the outcome was far from certain.  The incentive now is to make the most of the opportunity.  The formal association of the UK to the programme is still required but we hope that this will not give rise to any issues.

The Commission is planning to publish the work programmes – detailed documents with the calls planned for the first years of Horizon Europe – in April and the EU’s dedicated funding portal is the best place to view them.

We’re keen to see UK organisations return to high levels of participation in EU programmes using UK leadership in aerospace to shape European research.

The ATI will be holding an information day on European funding opportunities in mid-May. In addition to the ATI, representatives from Innovate UK, the European Commission and Clean Aviation Partnership will outline the opportunities available.