Future flight challenge phase 3: strand 2

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £65 million to develop and demonstrate integrated aviation systems and new vehicle technologies. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £65 million

Opens: 6th Sep 2021

Closes: 3rd Nov 2021

! This scheme is now closed

Overview

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £65 million in innovation projects. Projects must demonstrate integrated aviation systems and underpinning technologies that enable new classes of electric or autonomous air vehicles.

Scope

The aim of this competition is to fund ambitious projects that will successfully integrate the technical, regulatory and social challenges necessary to prove new classes of electric or autonomous air vehicles.

The Future Flight Challenge is based around 3 classes of aircraft:

  1. Drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)
  2. Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)
  3. Sub-regional zero-carbon aircraft

For Strand 2 of the competition your project must focus on the enabling and cross-cutting technologies essential to support the safe and effective operation of these new vehicle types.

You must clearly demonstrate how the enabling technologies you are developing combine to support an overall aviation “system of systems”. Where appropriate, the participation of end users or operators in your project would be advantageous.

Innovate UK want to fund a portfolio of projects, with a variety of technologies, markets, aircraft classes, use cases and research categories across both strands of this competition.

Consideration will be given to projects with a specific regional focus and ambitions for Net Zero transport solutions.

Specific Themes

You must clearly demonstrate how the enabling technologies you are developing combine to support an overall aviation “system of systems” that supports the different classes of Future Flight aircraft.

Your project must focus on one or more of the following, to demonstrate the operation of vehicles in a representative environment whilst meeting a viable and challenging use case with:

  • a real-world use case application which drives integration of the different aviation system elements for each of the three Future Flight vehicle classes
  • AAM: Inter-town transport or Intracity Transport
  • drone or AAM cargo delivery
  • drone or AAM medical delivery
  • hub and spoke drone delivery service
  • AAM Infrastructure or Vertiport
  • automated ground handling and charging systems
  • operation of sub-regional electric aircraft
  • air traffic management (ATM) and unmanned traffic management (UTM) systems
  • digital and communications systems

 

Interested in applying for this competition?

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Our team are available to discuss your innovative business, your project ideas and how we can help you to write a successful application for this Grant Funding opportunity.

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Eligibility

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £500,000 and £4 million
  • start on 1 April 2022
  • end by 31 March 2024
  • last between 12 and 24 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • be or involve at least one UK registered SME
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations

Academic institutions cannot lead.

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not-for-profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Innovate UK will not award you funding if you have:

  • failed to exploit a previously funded project
  • an overdue independent accountant’s report
  • failed to comply with grant terms and conditions

Exclusions

Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • are a development of systems or sub-systems for application to large civil passenger aircraft or are standalone aircraft developments
  • have no plan for engagement with an end-user or operator
  • are developing sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) for gas turbine or turboprop aircraft
  • focus on defence or space applications of autonomous or electric flight
  • are fundamental research or feasibility study projects
  • are dependent on export performance – for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage – for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • are a development of systems or sub-systems for application to large civil passenger aircraft or are standalone aircraft developments
  • have no plan for engagement with an end-user or operator
  • are developing sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) for gas turbine or turboprop aircraft
  • focus on defence or space applications of autonomous or electric flight
  • are fundamental research or feasibility study projects
  • are dependent on export performance – for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage – for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Innovate UK have allocated up to £65 million to fund innovation projects across the two strands of this competition.

If the majority of your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-s registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your eligible project costs if you are an RTO, charity, non-profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

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