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ATI programme: R&D funding for smaller business, expression of interest


UK companies can apply for a share of up to £8million to carry out industry-led civil aerospace collaborative R&D projects.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £8million in research and technology projects. This is to deliver world leading aerospace technologies in the UK.

This call 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 is phase 1 of a two-phase competition. This phase is for expressions of interest. Phase 2 of this competition will open in February 2020 (dates to be communicated separately). Successful submissions to phase 1 will be reviewed for changes when submitted to phase 2; Innovate UK will not accept unjustified changes to the project consortium or costs. Changes made, may lead to your application being rejected.

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Close Date:


The aim of this competition is to develop and encourage technological innovation within the civil aerospace sector, which can be exploited in the next five years.

Your project must align to the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, which will be updated and published by the ATI in November 2019.

Innovate UK are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories.

Your project can focus on one or more of the following value streams from the latest UK Aerospace Technology Strategy (2019):

  • Vehicles
  • Propulsion and power
  • Systems
  • Aerostructures
  • Cross-cutting enablers

Projects must start by 1 September 2020 and end by 31 September 2023.

They can last between 12 and 36 months, your total eligible project costs must be between £250,000 and £1.5 million. Your project’s total grant must be between £125,000 and £750,000.

Projects must:

  • Be collaborative
  • Include a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • Have a creditable route to market
  • Identify end-users
  • Address the priorities stated in the current UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, published in November 2019

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered company of any size
  • Collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • Plan to carry out its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions, charities, public sector organisations or research and technology organisations (RTO) cannot lead.

To collaborate with the lead organisation 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
  • Be invited to take part by the lead applicant

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding and enter their costs as part of the application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses or an end user. Their costs will not count towards the total eligible project costs.

If an RTO is participating as a business, you must show that the match funding you are providing comes from entirely private sector sources, across all projects you are involved in. You must also show how you will exploit the results of the project to grow the wider sector.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £8million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

The business funding rules are that:

  • All businesses can get up to 50% funding for their eligible project costs
  • Large businesses can only claim up to 30% of the total project funding, and if your consortium contains more than one organisation in this category, this maximum is shared between them
  • At least 50% of total grant funding must go to the SMEs in your consortium

RTOs and public sector organisations or charities can:

  • Share up to 30% of the grant, and if your consortium contains more than one organisation in this category, this maximum is shared between them
  • Participate as either:
  1. A research organisation, and receive up to 100% grant.
  2. Or a business entity, and be reimbursed up to 50% of your eligible costs.

This competition provides state aid funding under article 25, aid for research, development and innovation of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid, including in relation to undertakings in difficulty.

Innovate UK are not funding projects:

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

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.