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Helping SMEs Innovate In Aerospace (Autumn 2020)

Automotive & Transport
Project Size:
Up to £300,000


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 proposal will be subject to:

  • Independent assessment by Innovate UK.
  • Value for money (VfM) and policy review by BEIS.
  • Strategic review by the Aerospace Technology Institute.

This competition is the third of 4 rounds. The last round is scheduled for spring 2021.


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.

To lead a project your organisation must:

be a UK registered SME

  • Collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations, charities or Academic Institutions
  • Plan to carry out its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK


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

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

Proposals 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
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