The UK’s aerospace sector is set to benefit from government investment in collaborative research and development projects that encourage innovative solutions to some of the higher-risk challenges facing the industry. The projects will develop technology that will grow the sector and give the industry a competitive advantage in the global market.

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £5 million in the projects and up to a further £1m may be available from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council ( for projects with a significant, high-quality, academic research component.

The Highly Innovative Technology Enablers for Aerospace competition for collaborative R&D funding will support and encourage business investment in technology and innovation in high-risk, high-potential approaches that may not be fundable from companies’ own resources.

The UK has the second largest aerospace industry in the world with significant capabilities in key areas such as engines, airframes structures and materials, equipment and air transport system integration.  While this position has been achieved through UK businesses bringing leading-edge technologies to market, the industry faces new challenges such as globalisation, new competitors and climate change.

The continued growth of global air traffic presents an enormous opportunity for the UK through the demand for new aircraft that meet exacting environmental and operational performance standards. Meeting this demand sustainably, affordably, reliably and safely depends on continuous and intense research, innovation and technology application.

The competition opens on 13 February 2012 and compulsory expressions of interest must be submitted by 21 March 2012.