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Green aerospace tech to receive record UK government funding

Posted 29 March 2022 · Add Comment

The UK’s aerospace technology research programme, the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), is to receive record levels of government funding, Industry Minister Lee Rowley confirmed today, driving forward the research and development of green aviation technology.

Image courtesy Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

The ATI will receive £685 million from the government for the financial years 2022-2023 through to 2024-2025, an increase of £235 million on the previous three-year period. Industry will provide co-funding, taking the total to more than £1 billion.

Funds will be used to capitalise on the UK’s world-leading R&D system and support the development of zero-carbon and ultra-low-emission aircraft technology, cementing the UK’s place at the forefront of advancing new green technology, whilst supporting tens of thousands of jobs.

Previous projects supported include ZeroAvia’s six-seat hydrogen-electric aircraft, which is the largest such aircraft in the world, as well as Rolls-Royce’s development of the largest, most efficient aircraft engine ever.

Industry Minister Lee Rowley said: "Since its formation in 2013, the Aerospace Technology Institute has been an enormous success, already funding world-leading innovations like hydrogen aircraft and 3D printed components. These projects are making a real-world impact and could one day help the global aviation industry transition to net zero.

"Today’s commitment is a sign of our increasing ambition and will give large and small businesses the confidence to invest in the technologies that will bring civil aviation into the next generation."

Aerospace Technology Institute CEO Gary Elliott said: "I am delighted that the UK Government’s commitment to R&T investment in sustainable aircraft has today resulted in an uplift to £685 million for the UK aerospace sector over the Spending Review period, in addition to the commitment at the Budget that the ATI Programme will continue until 2031.

"With the support of the Aerospace Growth Partnership, and with government investment matched by industry, the ATI will be able to invest more than £1 billion over the next three years in the cutting-edge technology needed to move towards our net zero targets. This has allowed us to reopen ATI funding to new applications from April and we will work with BEIS and Innovate UK to ensure that this funding drives UK economic growth and reduces global aviation emissions."

ADS Chief Executive Kevin Craven said: “This is a major vote of confidence in the UK aerospace industry. The uplift in funding will turbocharge our development of the technology needed to deliver net zero aviation, accelerating progress towards this global ambition.

“Industry match-funding for Government’s investment in the ATI will mean more than £1.3bn available for investment in aerospace R&D over three years, supporting and creating high value jobs in all nations and regions of the UK.

 “Aerospace generates UK exports worth billions of pounds a year, and in this technologically advanced sector, R&D investment is vital to maintaining our competitive advantage. The Government’s commitment to the ATI for the decade ahead is set to generate a substantial return on investment for the UK, and enable our innovative large and small companies alike to be world leaders in delivering the future of flight.”

The government has also confirmed today that the ATI Programme will reopen to new funding applications on Monday 4th April.

The ATI Programme began in 2013, has secured more than 81,000 high value jobs and added £97 billion in value to the economy to date. It co-funds industry-led innovation in civil aerospace technology and manufacturing, supporting the development of the next generation of zero-carbon emission or ultra-low emission aircraft, while growing the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace.

As a result of its success, the ATI Programme has received an extension to 2031. This commitment gives industry the confidence to continue to co-invest with the government, driving growth, jobs, innovation and reducing aviation emissions.

Aviation Minister Robert Courts said: "As the government prepares to publish our Jet Zero Strategy this summer it is great to see new funding to support the development of new aerospace technology.

"This funding, in addition to £180 million of government funding already announced to support the UK sustainable aviation fuels, demonstrates how we are supporting our aviation sector to decarbonise whilst maintaining its critical role in connecting people."

The ATI Programme is a key component of the government’s Jet Zero policy, which includes the Jet Zero Council, established to convene government, industry and academia, and jointly chaired by the Business Secretary and Transport Secretary. A final Jet Zero strategy will be published this summer.

This funding is in addition to £180 million of new government funding announced in the Net Zero Strategy to support the deployment and commercialisation of Sustainable Aviation Fuel plants in the UK.

Chair of Sustainable Aviation Matt Gorman said: “UK aviation and aerospace welcomes the Government’s record-breaking funding commitment for the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). Over the next three years the ATI will receive £685 million, an increase of over 50% on the previous settlement. Industry will match this funding, delivering £1.3 billion for the development of new green technology during this vital period and as we lay the foundations for the first, hydrogen powered commercial flight targeted by 2035.  
"ATI funding has already supported the industry in the development of exciting next-generation aircraft, including those pioneering electric and hydrogen powered flight. UK aviation was the first in the world to commit to net zero by 2050, and progress on multiple fronts will help us to deliver this goal. Today’s commitment, alongside recent funding for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and airspace modernisation, will help industry accelerate progress and ensure the UK continues to lead the world in making net zero flight a reality.
"We also look forward to seeing the Government introduce the mandate and price support mechanism for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) – needed this year – which will open up big economic opportunities for the UK as well as also helping us reach our net zero goals.”

David Clark, UK Market Director for Aerospace & Defence at Atkins, said: “New government funding for UK’s aerospace technology research programme is a welcome decision. Decarbonising aviation will be critical to meet global climate targets and new funding to build on industry investment is vital to accelerate the development of new technologies that will fuel sustainable aviation and support the innovation behind the next generation of aircraft.   

“The Aerospace Technology Institute Programme will help to reassert the UK industry’s position as a world leader in sustainable aviation and provide a welcome boost to the aviation sector as it rebuilds its resilience and recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”






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