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

Key Features

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

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £8 million

Opens: 25th Nov 2019

Closes: 15th Jan 2020

! This scheme is now closed


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 £8 million 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 2-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.


The aim of this competition is to develop and encourage technological innovation within the civil aerospace sector, which can be exploited in the next 5 years.

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

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


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


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.

Funding Costs

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

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.

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.