£30 million funding for future flight innovation

£30 million funding for future flight innovation 20 May, 20, Source: UK Research and Innovation

£30 million funding is now available for innovations to help revolutionise the way we fly.

Bids are invited from both aviation and non-aviation companies and organisations of all sizes, to develop systems and technology that support the use of new types of electric and/or autonomous air vehicles.

The projects will address the challenge of using these air vehicles safely and practically. For example: integrating them into existing airports, airspace, rural and urban environments; building public confidence; developing new business models, and more.

The vehicles could include flying taxis, drones delivering medical supplies, small electric aircraft, vertical take-off and landing vehicles and autonomous aircraft – innovations that could help people and goods get around faster, reduce road congestion and reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation system.

Companies and organisations of all sizes, from within and outside of the aviation and aerospace sectors, can bid for either £150,000-£500,000 per project at https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/591/overview, or £500,000-£10 million per project at https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/592/overview.

Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “The Future Flight Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for businesses across the UK, whether large or small, to bid for funding to make their most advanced ideas a reality.

“By supporting the development of innovative aviation systems, together with autonomous and low carbon technology, this exciting competition will pave the way for the future of flight.”

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “The UK is already a world-leader when it comes to innovation in aviation and this funding will mean we continue to support the extraordinary work taking place right across the country.

“As the entire industry looks to tackle climate change and make journeys cleaner, it’s exciting to see the range of aviation organisations that can bid for this funding, from small drone manufacturers all the way to airfields themselves.

“I look forward to seeing the dynamic and diverse range of projects that will arise from this phase of the Future Flight Challenge.”

Future Flight Challenge Director Gary Cutts said: “I am really looking forward to seeing the innovative ideas that come in for this competition and I urge businesses and organisations to think outside the box when forming consortia to submit bids.

“Aviation and aerospace expertise will be vital and we also want to hear from a wide range of other sectors.

“To achieve our goal of new air vehicles being used in a widespread, safe way, we need to tackle challenges around planning, regulation, air traffic control, airports, artificial intelligence and a whole range of other areas.

“The organisations with that expertise may not realise yet that we need them, but we do. I hope they will rise to this challenge and help create the aviation system of the future, enabling the UK to build, use and export new, greener ways of flying.”

The competition is the second phase of the Future Flight Challenge, part of UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. For more information, see https://www.ukri.org/innovation/industrial-strategy-challenge-fund/future-flight1/

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