Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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UK aerospace innovations take flight with £47 million fund

The winners of 'Building UK’s leadership in aerospace technology' competition are announced.

Business Minister Anna Soubry yesterday (22 October 2015) announced the 23 winners of a £47 million joint government and industry funding competition, ‘Building UK’s leadership in aerospace technology’ at the Aerodays event in London.

The UK is a world leader in aerospace, and this competition seeks to further strengthen its position by awarding investment to innovative projects that align with the Aerospace Technology Institute’s (ATI) technology strategy.

The programme, shaped by the ATI and delivered by Innovate UK, has led to successful proposals involving 100 different organisations including 55 small and medium sized businesses and 11 universities. Winners include:

  • a £2.15 million project by Southampton-based company Ilika, Reliance Precision Engineering, University of Sheffield, GKN and BAE Systems will develop a new generation of self-healing alloys – those with the ability to remove micro-cracks without human interaction
  • a £1.9 million project by TE Connectivity, who come from Swindon, will assess how lightweight printed circuits can replace wiring – reducing fuel consumption and improving emissions
  • a £1.1 million project led by Advanced Innovative Engineering (UK) Ltd in Lichfield to develop game-changing electrical power systems for the next generation of unmanned aerial vehicles

Business Minister Anna Soubry said:

Backed by almost £50 million from government and industry, these truly innovative projects will help maintain our position as a world leader in aerospace.

We will continue to work closely with industry, to increase productivity and growth, raise skill levels and keep us ahead of our international competitors.

Gary Elliott, CEO, Aerospace Technology Institute commented:

We are very pleased to see so many supply chain organisations involved in this competition. It demonstrates the richness and innovative nature of the UK’s aerospace capability. Engagement with the UK supply chain will be essential for improving our international competitiveness.

Notes to editors:

  1. The ‘Building UK’s leadership in aerospace technology’ competition is awarding funding from the joint government and industry £2.1 billion commitment for aerospace research and development, run by Innovate UK and supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute. The competition awarded investment of up to £25 million in collaborative research and development that supports delivery of the technology priorities set out in the joint industry and government industrial strategy for aerospace.
  2. 23 projects have been successful in the competition. The total costs of the projects are approximately £47.4 million (£23.7 million government grant, matched by industry). Further detail on the competition and a full list of successful projects
  3. The ATI was created by government and industry to guide investment into research and technology projects that will sustain and enhance the UK’s competitive advantage. Its Technology Strategy, launched in July 2015, defines the best combination of capabilities, technologies and products to advance next-generation civil aircraft; enabling industry to exploit anticipated global growth, and deliver value to the UK economy through the sector’s high productivity and skills.
  4. Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy - delivering productivity, new jobs and exports and keeping the UK globally competitive in the race for future prosperity.


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