News article

Revolutionising the way we fly: apply for business funding

19 May 2020


Up to £30 million is available for projects that can transform aviation with technology

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is seeking new systems and technologies to transform the aviation industry.

Flying taxis, medical supply drones, small electric aircraft, vertical take-off and landing vehicles and autonomous aircraft are some of the innovations that have the potential to transform aviation and broader transportation in the future. New business models and new technologies are needed to allow these innovations to use existing infrastructure and fly in and out of airports, airspace, and rural and urban areas.

As part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Future Flight Challenge, Innovate UK is offering a share of up to £30 million to projects that develop and demonstrate integrated aviation systems for these new electric and autonomous aircraft.

Examples of areas such projects could focus on include:

  • air traffic management and unmanned traffic management systems
  • physical and digital infrastructure to support future flight
  • autonomy
  • digital and communications systems
  • new business models
  • public acceptance
  • transport integration
  • vehicle technologies enabling integration to new aviation systems
  • simulation
  • non-aerospace regulation
  • viable, challenging, use cases
  • total security systems

The competition has two strands.

Strand 1 will support smaller, fast-track initiatives led by a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) working with at least another business, research or public organisation or charity. In this strand, projects will range in size between £150,000 and £500,000 and to last between 6 and 18 months. Find out more about strand 1 of this competition and how to apply.

Strand 2 will be aimed at larger consortia undertaking more ambitious projects. Businesses of any size can take part, including at least one SME as a project partner. Projects are expected to range in size between £500,000 and £10 million and to last between 6 and 18 months. Find out more about strand 2 of this competition and how to apply.

The deadline for applications on both strands is midday 1 July 2020.


First published 19 May 2020