Cutting-edge British aerospace companies set to benefit from a new multi-million pound SME Programme

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Artists impression showing one of three zero-emission concept aircraft known as ZEROe. This being the blended-wing-body configuration, which is a hydrogen hybrid aircraft. Source: Airbus

Cutting-edge British aerospace companies are set to benefit from a new multi-million pound SME Programme that will secure high-skilled jobs and help the UK lead the way on greener air travel.

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) SME Programme will offer UK-based small and medium-sized firms the chance to bid for a share of £10 million total funding per year towards their innovative research projects.

The Programme is being announced by Industry Minister Nusrat Ghani today (14 November) at the ATI’s 2023 Conference in Birmingham. It will be delivered in partnership with the ATI and Innovate UK.

Industry Minister Nusrat Ghani said:

I’m delighted to announce the new ATI SME Funding Programme, which will help propel our world-leading aerospace sector to new heights in the pursuit of innovative, clean, green air travel.

UK aerospace businesses, with their expertise and innovation, are helping drive the industry on its journey to Net Zero by 2050, and in the process are helping us grow the UK economy and support high-skill, high-wage jobs.

ATI CEO Gary Elliott said:

We know from the success of the ATI Programme that supporting advanced technologies secures market share for the UK, bringing economic benefit and delivering against the sector’s sustainability commitments on our journey to Destination Zero.

By connecting capability and funding technology development, the SME Programme will benefit organisations of all sizes across the nations and regions of the UK.

The new Programme will open to applications in February 2024 and aims to give SMEs the best opportunities possible to apply for funding to develop innovative technologies supporting the Government’s commitment to Jet Zero.

This is the plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions for commercial aircraft by 2050, while also keeping the UK’s aerospace industry competitive in the sustainable design, manufacture, assembly and operation of future aircraft.

The Programme will allow SMEs in the UK aerospace sector to bid for grants of up to £1.5 million each, helping to boost high-skilled jobs in the industry across the UK.

It also builds on the Government’s commitment to backing UK aerospace R&D to succeed, as demonstrated by the ATI Programme, for which government provided £685 million in 2022.

Support for organisations engaging with the SME Programme will be delivered by the ATI Hub. This will include sessions with ATI technologists, themed innovation workshops and guidance on preparing for a pitch-panel presentation.

The ATI Hub can also generate new connections between start-ups, SMEs, bigger and tier one organisations which could become consortia applications to the SME Programme.

Source: Department for Business and Trade and Nusrat Ghani MP

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