NATEP: helping SMEs innovate in aerospace Autumn 2020

Key Features

UK registered micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million for industry led civil aerospace research projects.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £2.5 million

Opens: 5th Oct 2020

Closes: 18th Nov 2020

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is working with the Aerospace Technology Institute and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Up to £10 million will be invested in NATEP (National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme) for aerospace innovation projects as part of the ATI programme. In this competition we are investing up to £2.5 million.

This competition is the third of 4 rounds. The last round is scheduled for spring 2021.


The aim of this competition is to help SMEs to develop their own innovative technologies. These should enhance their capabilities and increase their ability to win new business in the civil aerospace sector.

Your project must have a credible route to market and preferably have identified your end users. Your project should:

  • demonstrate improvement in business productivity and competitiveness
  • show clear benefit technically
  • be able to pull through new technology or processes for use in a current or future product or manufacturing process
  • show clear benefit in creating or safeguarding jobs
  • be able to enhance capabilities within the broader aerospace industry, as well as other sectors such as advanced manufacturing

Your project must have a potential application within the civil aerospace sector. This can include dual use technologies.

Your proposal must align with the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Accelerating Ambition’, which is split into these areas:

  • vehicles: strengthening the UK’s whole-aircraft design and system integration capability, and positioning it for future generations of civil aircraft
  • advanced systems: developing UK advanced systems technologies to capture high-value opportunities in current and future aircraft
  • aerostructures: ensuring the UK is a global leader in the development of large complex structures, particularly wings
  • propulsion and power: advancing a new generation of more efficient propulsion technologies, particularly large turbofans
  • cross-cutting enablers: developing high value design capabilities, advanced materials, manufacturing and assembly, and advanced through-life engineering technologies


This competition is not funding projects:

  • that focus solely on defence, space or other industrial sectors, but we will recognise dual use technologies providing the primary application is in civil aerospace
  • that focus on fundamental research, feasibility studies or experimental development
  • with scope outside of the UK aerospace technology strategy

Book a 30-minute consultation

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.

Use the calendar to select and book a consultation with one of our experts, at a time that’s convenient for you.


Your project must:

  • be collaborative
  • be led by a UK registered micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • start by 1 May 2021
  • end by 31 October 2022

They can last between 12 and 18 months.

To lead a project your organisation must:

This competition is primarily expecting to fund businesses that are new to research and development (R&D) or are restarting R&D activity.

Academic institutions, charities, public sector organisations, large businesses and RTOs cannot lead.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead 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
  • sign up to the Aerospace Technology Institute framework agreement

Funding Costs

The ATI Programme has allocated up to £2.5 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £300,000.

No one project partner can be responsible for more than 70% of the total eligible project costs.

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

If you are acting economically you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

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

UK registered large businesses in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one large business, this maximum will be shared between them.

If you are undertaking non-economic activities, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 80% full economic costing (FEC) for academics under the terms of Je-S
  • up to 100% if you are a non-profit research and technology organisation, public sector organisation or charity acting non-economically for the purpose of this project

The UK registered research organisations in your consortium undertaking non-economic activities can share up to 30% of the total project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

Academics must enter 80% of their full economic costs (FEC) into their application to match the costs on their Je-S form.