Government investment in aerospace R&D announced at ATI Conference 2017

Following the launch of the Industrial Strategy White Paper, Business Secretary Greg Clark has today announced £53.7m of funding for seven R&D projects to grow innovation in the aerospace sector.  This is part of government’s work with industry through the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) to tackle barriers to growth, boost exports and grow high value jobs.

The announcement comes as the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) holds its inaugural conference, Realising Ambition, at the NEC in Birmingham (28-29 November).  Over 300 delegates from across UK and international aerospace have gathered to hear an update on the ATI’s UK aerospace technology strategy, learn more about the technology of today and the future, and understand how to realise commercial opportunities in the global market.

Today’s announcement builds on the £923 million of Government investment delivered through the ATI programme, which has supported 196 projects involving 208 different companies and organisations.  Establishing the Institute in 2013, government and industry made a joint commitment to invest £3.9 billion in civil aerospace R&D projects by 2026.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“Earlier this week, we launched our ambitious Industrial Strategy which builds on our significant economic strengths, while looking at innovative ways to improve our productivity and will ensure government continues to work closely with industry, including our UK aerospace sector.

“The UK aerospace sector is one of the most successful in the world, with strengths in some of the most technologically advanced parts of aircraft.  To support this, we are today announcing £53.7 million of investment in seven aerospace research and development (R&D) projects across the UK.  This investment is part of the £3.9 billion government and industry committed to the sector by 2026.  The Aerospace Technology Institute plays a crucial role in helping to direct this investment and maintain UK excellence in the sector.”

Gary Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said:

“The ATI programme is dedicated to supporting the UK aerospace sector by leveraging joint Government and industry investment. To date, we have supported 196 projects, and have facilitated connections and collaborations across the sector and beyond.

“The Institute was positively referenced in the Government’s Industrial Strategy white paper as an exemplar of a successful sector deal. Our technology strategy, Raising Ambition, seeks to encourage the UK aerospace sector to be more ambitious in the research programmes into new, advanced and disruptive technologies – particularly in the value streams of propulsion, aerostructures, systems and whole aircraft.

“The projects announce today are a perfect example of that, and the fantastic response to the ATI Conference shows that the sector wants to come together and collaborate.”

The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) investment, delivered through the ATI programme in partnership with Innovate UK, will support collaborative research projects into aircraft power systems, new battery technology for storing and using energy, new ways to enhance cabin air quality, an open architecture for flight deck apps, innovative technologies for next-generation engines and the establishment of leading additive manufacturing test-bed facilities at two locations in the UK.

Partners involved in these projects include Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation, Honeywell, Safran, the Manufacturing Technology Centre and a number of research organisations, universities and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Speakers taking part in the conference include Paul Stein, Chief Technology Officer of Rolls-Royce; Mark Cousin, Senior Vice President of Flight Demonstrators at Airbus; Dr Jaiwon Shin, Associate Administrator for Aeronautics at NASA; Peter L. Hoffman, Vice President for Intellectual Property Management at Boeing; and other senior leaders from across the global aerospace sector.

Also being previewed at the ATI Conference 2017 is an aircraft performance tool to support the UK aerospace sector. The Institute’s new Fixed Trade Calculator enables assessment of the impact of novel technologies on representative conventional narrow- and wide-bodied aircraft. The online resource will inform discussion and support decision making by providing users with the fuel burn benefits, operating cost changes, and environmental impact in terms of CO2 for new technologies.

Gary Elliott said:

“The Fixed Trade Calculator developed by the Institute will be a unique capability for the UK supply chain.  Sharing a capability such as this, which has previously only been available to a small group of well-resourced manufacturers, will be a significant benefit to those working in UK aerospace. Now, through this online resource, UK suppliers will be able to understand more about how the technology they develop will impact the overall performance of representative narrow and wide-bodied aircraft.”