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Industry Minister celebrates multibillion-pound green tech funding milestone for UK aerospace sector

Industry Minister Alan Mak celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and a landmark £3.6 billion funding milestone.

  • Industry Minister Alan Mak celebrates landmark 10-year anniversary for joint government-industry funded Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).
  • Historic milestone covers £3.6 billion in funding to deliver a long-term plan to produce more than 400 cutting-edge aerospace R&D projects across the UK in past decade, supporting thousands of jobs.
  • Aerospace industry leaders react to 10 years of crucial programme.

Industry Minister Alan Mak will celebrate a multibillion-pound funding milestone for cutting-edge green technology in the UK aerospace sector.

The Minister will join UK aerospace industry leaders at an event to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), a joint government-industry funded organisation that drives world-class research in sustainable aviation.

He will join Airbus, Rolls-Royce and a range of other leaders to celebrate the success of the ATI in making the UK a world leader in cleaner and greener air travel, with £3.6 billion of government and industry funding being allocated to more than 400 different aerospace R&D projects across the breadth of the UK over the past decade.

This funding has helped deliver the long-term change our country needs to deliver a brighter future for Britain, and improve economic security and opportunity for everyone.

These projects have pioneered new technologies which will help develop a new generation of zero-emission aircraft, supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs across the country.

Industry Minister Alan Mak said:

Our world-class aerospace sector is a British success story, with government and industry coming together to provide billions of pounds in unprecedented support to help us lead the way on cleaner, greener air travel.

Over the last decade the ATI has been crucial to this, helping our aerospace industry soar to new heights and supporting thousands of jobs while continuing to grow our economy.

Over a decade ago, government joined together with industry through the Aerospace Growth Partnership to create the ATI, responding to calls for the UK to develop its own R&D programme for the aerospace sector.

This has secured long-term planning and funding sources through the ATI Programme, with the £3.6 billion of joint government-industry funding for transformative technology projects in air transport so far.

Furthering the aviation research agenda through developing cleaner, greener air travel is a principal aim of the ATI.

Successes include:

  • over 400 cutting-edge R&D projects funded since the start of the ATI Programme
  • the Rolls-Royce UltraFan demonstrator aero engine technology ground demonstrator – the largest in the world, with greater fuel efficiency, lower emissions and greater sustainability
  • the Airbus-led Wing of Tomorrow programme – the next generation of carbon composite aircraft wings
  • Rolls-Royce seized the world-speed record for electric aircraft with its battery-powered Spirit of Innovation aircraft
  • SMEs such as ZeroAvia and Cranfield Aerospace developing new generation zero emission aircraft and propulsion systems
  • investment in research facilities from the Osney lab in Oxford to the new Whittle Lab in Cambridge and the National Centre for Combustion and Aerothermal Technology in Loughborough

Aerospace funding is a key priority for the Government, with £200 million of joint government and industry funding dedicated to R&D projects announced in the recent Spring Budget, supporting the development of energy efficient and zero-carbon aircraft technology.

This came after the Government announced £975 million in funding over five years from 2025 for the ATI programme in the 2023 Autumn Statement.

Industry leaders and experts from across the sector have reacted to the ATI’s key milestone:

ATI CEO Gary Elliott said:

Since the ATI was created ten years ago, we have helped to transform the UK aerospace sector through the development of advanced and innovative technologies - setting the sector on the path to Net Zero 2050 with our Destination Zero strategy. The ATI Programme has helped secure jobs, support growth, return economic value to the UK and position the UK to capture market share in next-generation sustainable aircraft.

All of this has been made possible through collaboration – between the ATI, the many organisations across the UK who have delivered over 400 projects and, of course, our partners in the Department for Business and Trade and Innovate UK. Looking ahead to the next ten years, I am confident that the ATI will play a critical role in making the UK the world’s most vibrant ecosystem for Net Zero aerospace technology.

Airbus UK Chairman John Harrison said:

For the last decade, the ATI has been instrumental in supporting Airbus’ technology developments that are improving our commercial aircraft and helicopters flying today and those for tomorrow. Technologies such as how we design and build aircraft wings and accelerate the development of hydrogen powered aircraft. 

We’re looking forward to another decade of pushing boundaries, boosting innovation and upskilling people right here in the UK to keep our industry ahead of the beat.” 

Rolls-Royce Group Director of Engineering, Technology and Safety Simon Burr said:

The ATI is a fundamental part of keeping the UK at the forefront of aerospace innovation and technology. It has remained a strong and unifying force for the aerospace sector that has strengthened the UK’s offer.

The ATI’s role in supporting our work to develop more sustainable aviation solutions has been particularly significant. This includes the development of our UltraFan demonstrator engine, confirmation of the compatibility of 100% sustainable aviation fuels with our current in-production engines, and ground-breaking research into hydrogen-capable aerospace technologies.

The aerospace sector has dealt with multiple global challenges in the ten years the ATI has been in existence, such as supply-chain shocks, unprecedented increases in passenger numbers and global skills shortages.

The research and innovation inspired and brought into existence by the programme has helped the UK maintain its position as a world-leader in aerospace manufacturing and, as a result, cleaner, greener, global aviation.

Chief Executive Officer of ADS Kevin Craven said:

The UK’s world-leading aerospace sector provides high-skilled jobs throughout the country and is renowned for excellence in innovation, technology and sustainable development. Set against a backdrop of increasing global competition, the Aerospace Technology Institute has been pivotal in attracting industry co-investment and driving continued UK leadership in innovation, making it a true partner for our industry for the last decade.

ATI support has been invaluable to our industry – from the largest OEMs to the SMEs that are fundamental to our industrial ecosystem. Long may its investment continue!

Russ Dunn, Chief Technology Officer, GKN Aerospace said:

The Aerospace Technology Institute is the crown jewel of the UK’s aerospace ecosystem.  It represents the best of collaboration between Industry and Government and continues to demonstrate the UK’s ability to create the most innovative and impactful aerospace technology.

GKN Aerospace, our technologies and our people, have benefitted greatly from ATI support. From our role on the Wing of Tomorrow programme, to our expanding hydrogen technology portfolio; incorporating H2GEAR and HYFIVE, the ATI continues to match our ambition and our drive at every turn.

Truly sustainable aerospace is both a huge technical challenge and a huge economic opportunity for the UK; we believe zero emissions flight for the commercial market is achievable and that the ATI is a core partner in delivering that future.

Founder and CEO of ZeroAvia Val Miftakhov said:

The ATI’s impact in bringing zero-emission, hydrogen engines further up the industry agenda - directly via its funding of innovators like ourselves and through the seminal research of Fly Zero – is of huge importance to delivering a clean future for flight. 

The ATI is in many ways world-leading and it will help the UK capture more aerospace exports as the global industry becomes reliant on cleaner propulsion technologies.

Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-and-trade

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/industry-minister-celebrates-multibillion-pound-green-tech-funding-milestone-for-uk-aerospace-sector

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