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R&D funding for smaller business, expression of interest, Autumn 2020

Automotive & Transport
Project Size:
£300,000- £1.5 million


Up to £8 million is allocated from the ATI Programme for SMEs to deliver world leading aerospace technologies in the UK. This supports and encourages industrial investment into the aerospace sector and its supply chain, through the funding of innovative and high impact projects. These projects will demonstrate forward-looking and disruptive solutions to UK civil aerospace challenges.

This phase is for expressions of interest. The full stage competition will open on 1 March 2021.

Only successful applications from the expression of interest competition will be invited to apply for the full stage competition. Successful applications from this competition will be reviewed alongside the successful full stage applications.


Only successful applicants from this expression of interest competition will be invited to take part in the full-stage competition. Innovate UK is not allocating any funding to this competition.

Your project must:

  • Have total eligible costs between £300,000 and £1.5 million
  • Start by 1 September 2021, end by 31 August 2024
  • Last between 12 and 36 months
  • Involve a UK registered SME
  • Have a creditable route to market
  • Identify end-users
  • Address the priorities stated in the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, “Accelerating Ambition”


To lead a project your organisation must:

  • Be a UK registered business of any size
  • Collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, RTOs, public sector organisations or charities
  • 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 SME’s to develop and encourage technological innovation within the civil aerospace sector, which can be exploited in the next 5 years.

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


Innovate UK will not funding projects:

  • Which are primarily aligned to defence, space or other industrial sectors, but we will recognise dual-use technologies provided the primary application is in civil aerospace
  • That cover fundamental research, feasibility studies or experimental development
  • With scope outside of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy

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