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Aerospace industrial strategy - UK competition announced for collaborative R&D funding

Technology Strategy Board : 29 August, 2013  (Special Report)
Government and industry published in March 2013 a joint Aerospace Industrial Strategy (AIS)*, which included the commitment to create an Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). As part of the ATI’s programme, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is to invest, through the Technology Strategy Board, up to £25m in collaborative research and development projects for proposals that support the delivery of the priorities set out in the strategy.
This competition gives UK businesses an early opportunity to take part in major areas of activity within the ATI, which seeks to generate economic growth within the aerospace sector, creating additional secure jobs and significant value to the UK economy from major civil programmes. These will include the next generation of aircraft – fixed wing and rotary – and new variants of existing products.
The competition is seeking innovative proposals for collaborative research and development which can be applied and exploited within the civil aerospace sector in the UK. Applications are sought from all companies, including those in the aerospace supply chain, with the aim of increasing total industrial capability in the UK so that the country is in a better position to win business on future aerospace programmes worldwide. 
Proposals should demonstrate a route for UK exploitation of the work, probably through primes or first-tier suppliers, as well as alignment with the Aerospace Industrial Strategy. Consortia must be industry-led and we would encourage participation by universities, Catapult centres and research organisations where they can add value. Each project must have a minimum of two partners from independent entities (not from the same corporate group) although we expect each collaboration will involve at least three. 
Project costs are likely to start at £2m, rising to £10m in exceptional cases. Funding is mainly industrial research projects in which a business partner will generally attract up to 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for small and medium-sized enterprises). Collaboration with academic partners is encouraged up to a limit of 30% of the total project cost. Technology projects may include both radically new technologies and applied research projects, potentially including technology demonstration. Therefore the research will usually be in the range from TRL (technology readiness level) 3 to 5 but TRL6 is not ruled out. 
This competition opens on 16 September 2013 and the deadline for registration is at noon on 20 November 2013. The deadline for completed applications is at noon on 27 November 2013. 
A competition briefing webinar for potential applicants will be held on 25 September 2013
The following topics are in scope:
  • all-electric aircraft systems, covering power generation, power control, actuation,
  • health and monitoring systems, 
  • electronics in extreme environments,
  • avionic system technologies, including aircraft communications systems
  • carbon composite technologies particularly for integrated design and cost-effective, high-rate manufacture
  • metallic technologies for manufacture, such as additive layer manufacture
  • advanced and large-scale metrology for rapid automated manufacture
  • technologies for increasing rate of manufacture and for manufacturing capacity
  • information and data in design, manufacture and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO)
  • technologies for close-tolerance manufacture, especially for wing surfaces to promote laminar flow
  • technologies for green manufacture, including sustainable/recyclable materials
  • aero-engine component technologies, including high strength nickel alloy development and manufacture, turbo machinery technologies, sealing, cooling
  • aircraft and aero-engine noise reduction K low emissions engine technology: nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • helicopter technologies particularly related to rotor aerodynamics, drive train efficiency, fly-by-wire systems and vibration
  • advanced technologies for wings, including novel aircraft configurations and advanced tilt-rotor technologies, also novel wing, prop-rotor and hub configurations.
Technology projects may include radically new technologies as well as industrial research projects, with technology demonstration aspects not ruled out. 
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