NATEP Helping SMEs innovate in aerospace: Spring 2023

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is working with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the Department for Business and Trade on this competition.

A NATEP competition is held approximately every 6 months. This is the last call of 8 calls. For each call there is up to £2.5 million funding available. The announcement for next sets of NATEP competitions will be made in due course.

The aim of this competition is to provide help for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative aerospace technologies. These will enhance your capabilities and increase your ability to win new business.

Your proposal must align with the priorities stated in the UK Aerospace technology strategy, Destination Zero.


Your project must:

  • have total costs between £150,000 and £300,000
  • end by 31 Mar 2025
  • last between 12 and 18 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • plan to carry out a civil aerospace research or technology development project in the UK

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

If your organisation is a UK registered business, or a research and technology organisation (RTO) participating as a business, you must demonstrate in your application that you can provide match funding from entirely private sector sources across all projects you are involved in, and you must also show how you will exploit the results of the project to grow the wider sector.

A UK registered SME can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications in this competition. If a UK registered business is not leading an application, it can collaborate in up to 3 applications in this competition. All other organisations can collaborate on any number of applications.

No one project partner can be responsible for more than 70% of the total eligible project costs. UK registered large businesses in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs.


The aim of this competition is to help SMEs to develop their own innovative technologies. These should enhance their capabilities and increase their ability to win new business in the civil aerospace sector.

Your project must have a credible route to market and preferably have identified your end users.

Your project can:

  • demonstrate improvement in business productivity and competitiveness
  • show clear benefit technically
  • pull through new technology or processes for use in a current or future product or manufacturing process
  • show clear benefit in creating or safeguarding jobs
  • enhance capabilities within the broader aerospace industry, as well as other sectors such as advanced manufacturing

Specific themes

Your project must have a potential application within the civil aerospace sector. This can include dual use technologies.

Your proposal must align with the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Destination Zero’, which is split into these areas:

Zero-Carbon Emission Aircraft Technologies

Zero-carbon emission technologies are focused on propulsion and infrastructure development to enable zero-carbon tailpipe emissions. This encompasses battery, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, many of which are in early stages of development.

Ultra-Efficient Aircraft Technologies

Ultra-efficient technologies are focused on improving energy efficiency and hence impact CO2 emissions, NOx and noise. Continued development of crucial high value, sustainable, high productivity manufacturing technologies will position the UK to be a first-choice location for the industry.

Cross-cutting Enabling Technologies

To enable both the zero-carbon and ultra-efficient opportunities, the UK must develop cross-cutting enabling technologies and capabilities for whole aircraft design and analysis. These capabilities should extend to the aircraft lifecycle from design, through manufacture and assembly, operation, and end of life.

Briefing and support

An online briefing will be held at 2.30pm on Wednesday 29th March: click here for the joining link.

The NATEP office can provide help finding a partner. Call 020 7091 4543, email or visit their website.

For further help to find a project partner, you can contact Innovate UK KTN’s Transport team.

Our team is available to support your business in implementing SLA's - get in touch with one of our consultants.

phone: 0116 223 5887 or email:

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