Gary Elliott • 15.02.24 •  3 mins

The ATI at 10: Celebrating 10 years of transforming aerospace through technology and innovation

The Aerospace Technology Institute was set up to provide independent, technical leadership and guidance to the UK Government and to the industry. CEO Gary Elliott reflects on the ATI’s impact in the first of this series of blogs to mark the 10th anniversary of the ATI.

Earlier this week I was delighted to join colleagues in marking the 10th anniversary (to the day, in fact) of the Aerospace Technology Institute. It was a chance to reflect on the impact delivered through the ATI Programme and our other support mechanisms.

ATI colleagues marking the 10th anniversary of the ATI on Monday 12th February 2024

The UK aerospace industry is now more globally competitive, more innovative and more sustainable than it has ever been. £4bn of carefully targeted funding has been channelled into making these gains. Every pound of public investment in aerospace R&D has boosted growth across the nations and regions, secured technological advantage, cut CO2 emissions and more. Companies and communities have benefitted from investment in high value jobs, more efficient and sustainable flights, attractive inward investment opportunities and the ability of the industry to perform and compete at an international level.

The industry has changed over the years with more focus on sustainability and innovation. This has been driven partly by the need for positive change, but also by the appetite for growing knowledge, and accelerating the pace of technology development. Innovative techniques and business models have combined with the breadth of experience that people within the industry bring to tackling our challenges. This makes the UK one of the world’s leading aerospace nations and the sector drives growth across all parts of the country. Green technologies are key to hitting Net Zero and we have the opportunity to seize global market share through investment and innovation working hand in hand.

I have worked with myriad people during my time at the ATI, and I can confidently say that although our focus is on technology, it is people who are the driving force behind the success of initiatives like the ATI Programme. Between our team at the ATI, organisations across the regions delivering over 400 projects and our partners in the Department for Business and Trade and Innovate UK, I am proud and excited to work with such collaborative, enabling forces. This collaborative approach stemmed from the ethos and ambition of the Aerospace Growth Partnership, founded in 2010, which continues to advance UK aerospace interests and support the sector’s growth.

The ATI is part of a vast and exciting ecosystem, contributing as well as shaping, working collaboratively to secure a better future for the planet. In addition to our funding programmes, we have pivoted to offer more support to startups and SMEs though our ATI Hub initiative. We have investigated the future of flight through the FlyZero project, and are now scoping the pathway to zero-carbon emission flight through the Hydrogen Capability Network.

The last ten years have been defined by opportunity. I look forward to driving that sense of excitement about our future into the next generation of sustainability-enabling technologies and the future workforce. This can only be achieved by securing market share in the UK. We cannot afford to fall behind our international counterparts so we must continue to invest at scale and, critically, at pace.

As for the next ten years, the ATI’s work will make the UK the world’s most vibrant ecosystem for Net Zero aerospace technology, growing the nation’s market share while radically cutting emissions. Over the coming months we will be highlighting the impact of the ATI, its people and programmes. We will be featuring guest blogs, planning for Farnbrough International Airshow and will soon be releasing details on this year’s ATI Conference. I invite you to engage with us – take part in our events, reach out to our team and follow our social channels to keep up to date with funding and collaborative opportunities.