Back in 2010, government and industry in the United Kingdom came together through the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) to develop a shared, long-term vision for the UK aerospace industry. This resulted in a commitment in 2013 to invest £2.1bn in research and technology over seven years and the establishment of the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) which I now lead.
“The net result will be a more competitive sector that ensure the long-term sustainability of aerospace as a major contributor to the economy”
Conceived as the “home” for the UK’s national aerospace research and technology (R&T) strategy, I believe we are in the best possible position to represent a truly ground-breaking approach to how the country nurtures and benefits from these activities.
A totally independent organisation, the team at ATI combines fresh thinking with experience and first-class connections across the sector. We are in a unique and privileged position: able to engage with individual companies at a deeper level and develop a sector-wide view with richer insights, while working collaboratively with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Innovate UK to deliver our agenda.
The civil aerospace market is currently buoyant and the global original equipment market will exceed $5trn and services over $2trn during the next 20 years. What we bring with the ATI is a new approach to long-term, targeted, technology research. The net result will be a more competitive sector that can maintain and grow high-value jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of aerospace as a major contributor to the economy.
The timing of this investment has never been so critical: the UK may have a distinguished history and enjoy many advantages as an aerospace leader but global competition is increasing.
UK companies, research centres and universities have an extraordinary breadth and depth of capabilities and technologies. We already produce world-class wings, engines, helicopters, nacelles, landing gear and complex aircraft systems through technological leadership. By playing to these strengths, there is every reason to believe that we can continue to enjoy success in aerospace.
Today, there are over 140 projects associated with the Aerospace Technology Institute. These include large legacy projects; Aerodynamics Centre programmes, new strategic initiatives and open competitions launched since its establishment. These projects are already helping over 130 organisations to develop new technology and innovation infrastructure, involving some 30 lead companies and 31 academic institutions in their delivery.
We have a very clear vision and are committed to an ethos of continual development: we want to make the UK the go-to place for better products and services and will continue to seek out the information, people and relationships to make sure that happens. We look forward to presenting our first full technology strategy in the summer.
Aerospace Technology Institute