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Fast track innovation grants to create a runway for new technologies at Farnborough Airshow

" . . . businesses can develop their new ideas with funding and expert support  . . . " 


Published 13 July 2022

Innovation grants of up to £100,000 and expert support packages are available for Midlands-based aerospace SMEs, or companies seeking to enter sector, with an idea for a new technology, a solution to help make flying greener, enhance productivity or improve delivery performance.

Businesses that visit the Aerospace UP team at the Farnborough Airshow can find out if they are eligible for a grant or expert support within 48 hours and have their application fast tracked for approval in matter of days or weeks. The team will be available at the show from 18th to 22nd July on the Midlands Aerospace Alliance’s stand: 1320 in the UK Pavilion, Hall 1.

200 companies are already benefitting from the £20m three-year Aerospace UP programme which runs until summer 2023. It is being delivered by the University of Nottingham and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the Midlands Engine. In addition to grants – typically valued at £1,000 to £10,000 per eligible company (though significant grants are still available) – expert support from the university or the MAA is also available, to give Midlands businesses a competitive advantage, covering sustainability, digitalisation, aerospace certification, market opportunities and more.


“The Farnborough Airshow is set to be the biggest and best yet for the Midlands aerospace cluster, which is one of the largest in the world,”

said Andrew Mair, Chief Executive of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance.

“As innovative companies from right across the region showcase the latest technologies, services and capabilities, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to create a flightpath for new ideas with support from Aerospace UP.”


"It is with great pleasure that we are able to support industry through the Aerospace UP programme, where we are leading the way in translating our pioneering research on NetZero Aviation into real world applications by supporting the aerospace supply chain to create innovation capacity,”

said Professor Patrick Wheeler, Head of Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham.

“We are able to provide access to the knowledge, skills and facilities available through our Institute for Aerospace Technology as part of this brilliant initiative in partnership with the Midlands Aerospace Alliance. I therefore urge eligible organisations to get in touch with our outstanding team during the week to take advantage of this opportunity.”

There is no need for companies to bring anything specific to the show to apply for one of the innovation grants – the Aerospace UP team can talk companies through “the art of the possible” -- but it would be useful to come with ideas or details of challenges they are eager to solve. The whole team is looking forward to talking to companies about how the programme can help them innovate to get ahead in the global aerospace market.

Millions awarded to support aerospace upturn

Published 11 January 2022

Grant funding worth over £2 million has been awarded so far to Midlands-based aerospace SMEs, or companies seeking to diversify into the sector, as part of the Aerospace Unlocking Potential (UP) programme which has been working at pace to support the upturn of aerospace in the region.

Aerospace UP is a £20m three-year programme (2020 to 2022) being delivered by the University of Nottingham and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). More than 100 companies have received support so far from the programme to help them regrow, not only in the form of grants but also academic expertise, student placements and specialist workshops covering future requirements and opportunities in the sector.

With 2022 set to be the year that aerospace markets take off again, now is the perfect opportunity for companies to get support for developing a new product or process, enhancing capabilities or increasing productivity to achieve success.

With a third of grants already awarded, and more in the advanced stages of agreement, the Aerospace UP programme team is encouraging Midlands-based SMEs that are already in aerospace, or interested in getting into the sector, to apply at There is no fixed deadline but companies should apply as soon as they can in 2022 to have the greatest opportunity of success. They will receive a quick response from a dedicated team.

Grant helps Boneham & Turner win new business

Boneham & Turner, which produces jig and fixture components for sectors including aerospace, received a grant to support the creation of a new, state-of-the-art laboratory to enhance inspection capabilities, allowing the company to offer complex parts that they were not able to produce previously.
“In just a few months since the installation of the inspection lab, we have secured new business totalling over £50k and are now in a position to bring more work back to the UK thanks to these enhanced capabilities, reducing lead times and costs for customers,” said Stacy Denton-Beaumont, operations manager, Boneham & Turner. “As a result of strategic investments like this, we’re expecting significant growth not only in aerospace but into new markets, making the future of Boneham & Turner very exciting.”

Academic experts help P.A.K Engineering create opportunities in aerospace

P.A.K Engineering had an innovation that had potential in aerospace following its successful use in another sector. The company had the additive manufacturing capabilities required to rapidly develop a prototype and, with the support of academic experts at the University of Nottingham, redesigned the solution for aerospace.

“Being able to access specialist skills at the university has saved us a lot of time and money while developing the optimum solution,” said Dave Tetlow, R&D Project Manager, P.A.K Engineering. “Together, we’ve also come up with further ideas that we wouldn’t have considered and may not have even thought possible. This has created additional opportunities for us to succeed in aerospace.”


Placement students help SCITEK develop a successful product

SCITEK, an engineering consultancy that predominantly specialises in designing and manufacturing test rigs for aerospace, welcomed both a university student for the summer and a graduate for a year’s placement to help develop a new product that will be distributed worldwide.

“With the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, receiving support for two placement students was a great way to ensure we could progress product development that would not have happened otherwise,” said Zoe Christodoulou, responsible for marketing and business development at SCITEK. “Rapidly developing a successful solution in just 12 weeks impressed our customer and has helped us get ahead of the market.”

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