Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is working with the Aerospace Technology Institute and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Up to £10 million will be invested in NATEP (National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme) for aerospace innovation projects as part of the ATI programme. In this competition we are investing up to £2.5 million.

The aim of this competition is to provide help for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative aerospace technologies. These will enhance your capabilities and increase your ability to win new business.

Your proposal must align with the priorities stated in the UK Aerospace technology strategy, Accelerating Ambition.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £300,000.

Your project must:

  • be collaborative
  • be led by a UK registered micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • start by 1 May 2021
  • end by 31 October 2022

They can last between 12 and 18 months.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

We primarily expect to fund businesses that are new to research and development (R&D) or are restarting R&D activity.

Academic institutions, charities, public sector organisations, large businesses and RTOs cannot lead.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or RTO
  • plan to carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Grant available

If you are acting economically you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a UK registered micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a UK registered medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a UK registered large organisation

UK registered large businesses in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one large business, this maximum will be shared between them.

If you are undertaking non-economic activities, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 80% full economic costing (FEC) for academics under the terms of Je-S
  • up to 100% if you are a non-profit research and technology organisation, public sector organisation or charity acting non-economically for the purpose of this project

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to help SMEs to develop their own innovative technologies. These should enhance their capabilities and increase their ability to win new business in the civil aerospace sector.

Your project must have a credible route to market and preferably have identified your end users. Your project should:

  • demonstrate improvement in business productivity and competitiveness
  • show clear benefit technically
  • be able to pull through new technology or processes for use in a current or future product or manufacturing process
  • show clear benefit in creating or safeguarding jobs
  • be able to enhance capabilities within the broader aerospace industry, as well as other sectors such as advanced manufacturing

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets and technological maturities.

Specific themes

Your project must have a potential application within the civil aerospace sector. This can include dual use technologies.

Your proposal must align with the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Accelerating Ambition’, which is split into these areas:

  • vehicles: strengthening the UK’s whole-aircraft design and system integration capability, and positioning it for future generations of civil aircraft
  • advanced systems: developing UK advanced systems technologies to capture high-value opportunities in current and future aircraft
  • aerostructures: ensuring the UK is a global leader in the development of large complex structures, particularly wings
  • propulsion and power: advancing a new generation of more efficient propulsion technologies, particularly large turbofans
  • cross-cutting enablers: developing high value design capabilities, advanced materials, manufacturing and assembly, and advanced through-life engineering technologies

An online briefing event will be held on 13th October: details will appear here once available.