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You can discover content using your area of interest, from sustainability to transport; from space to health – all major UK economic sectors are covered. Once you have selected your interests, using our intelligent tagging system, we will then display rich and relevant content related to your area, often from surprising sources.

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The move also marks a closer alignment with our main funder, Innovate UK , with the website branding making a clear visual link. Knowledge Transfer Network is Innovate UK's innovation network partner, and also works with other funders to provide innovation networking services and fulfil our mission to drive UK growth.

We link new ideas and opportunities with expertise, markets and finance through our network of businesses, universities, funders and investors. From agri-food to autonomous systems and from energy to design, KTN combines expertise in all sectors with the ability to cross boundaries. Connecting with KTN can lead to potential partners, horizon-expanding events and innovation insights relevant to your needs.

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HITEA 3 - fantastic opportunity for investment in next generation technologies for aerospace and for new markets for technologies developed elsewhere

Last Wednesday (15 July) Innovate UK held a competition briefing webinar, providing a live update on the application process and scope for its Game-changing-technologies-for-aerospace competition - also known as HITEA 3.

A recording of the webinar is now online, offering pointers to five “new sets of technologies” to help keep the UK at the forefront of global aerospace capabilities.

Networking and reference materials

For this funding competition, Innovate UK is to invest up to £10 million in collaborative research and development and feasibility studies.

A briefing and networking event was held back in 28 April, a recording of which can now be viewed. Networking pitches made at the event are available for download.

KTN was also involved in organising networking events for this competition for areas of Uncertainty Quantification in HVM, Materials and Electronics & Sensors.


Example technologies Innovate UK looking to support, and entry points into the aerospace sector

Now the HITEA 3 competition is open, Innovate has published its 15 July webinar for review - plus slides. While mostly containing the finer details for how to apply the webinar is noteworthy for the opportunities for funding highlighted by Simon Masters – Lead technologist for Aerospace, Innovate UK. His commentary includes examples of the types of technologies Innovate UK is looking to fund, and potential entry points into the aerospace industry by applying technologies developed in other sectors.

Sound and vision is interrupted from about 6 minutes to just after 8 minutes, but the webinar recording resumes with some helpful suggestions of the types of projects that could be considered.


Technical Scope

The competition scope is based around five key technology themes. Each is outlined in the slides, with additional commentary by Simon Masters.



Innovate UK is looking to support manufacturing solutions that enhance cost effectiveness and affordability and support increasing rates of production.

For example, this may include novel flexible and adaptive manufacturing techniques. This may also include elements of material recycling, remanufacture or reuse.

“The ability to make aircraft faster and cheaper is a key challenge at the moment - the above are examples only, other ideas that fit in the topic will also be welcome.”


Novel or advanced materials

Innovate UK is looking for improved competitiveness through novel or advanced materials and associated processing technologies. This may include structural or multifunctional composite, metallic, ceramic and hybrid materials for demanding environments.

"Aerospace has also been at the forefront of using new materials to make aircraft lighter stronger and safer, and this continues. There’s been an incredible increase in the amount of composite materials used on aircraft in the last 15-20 years, but new materials are emerging all the time. We've heard of graphene as offering exciting advantages but how can we leverage and use those in aerospace?"


Vehicle performance and efficiency

Innovate UK is looking to support technologies that enable improvements to overall vehicle performance and efficiency. Examples could include advanced aerodynamics, highly efficient propulsion/ rotor systems, advanced sensing and connectivity, more electric technologies and increased vehicle automation.

"We can have things like advanced aerodynamics, (ways of reducing drag, looking at laminar flow for example), different types of propulsion or rotor systems, advanced sensing, connectivity, more electric technologies (which remains a key industry challenge). Last and by no means least is increased vehicle automation - how can new automated technologies improve safety, reduce pilot workload and suchlike.”


Lower cost of ownership

Innovate UK is looking for reductions in cost of vehicle ownership through novel technologies or process solutions. This may include more electric systems, integrated prognostics, maintenance repair overhaul (MRO).

“Cost of ownership remains a focus for vehicle manufactures and for users and customers. More electric systems promise lower costs but perhaps there’s some way to go for realising that. Prognostics, again, has been much talked about and seems to offer improved solutions for planned maintenance and ways of reducing aircraft downtime. Maintenance, repair and overhaul is another key cost operators face and could perhaps benefit form new ideas and solutions.”


New modeling and simulation techniques

Innovate UK is looking to support new modelling and simulation techniques, with cited examples being solutions that reduce design time, reduce barriers to certification, offer reduced cost of development and that better design and manufacture.

“Some of the high costs that come from designing new aircraft and new technology solutions comes from the actual physical testing in wind tunnels, physical rigs, all that sort of thing. If there were ways of improving that, reducing the need for it by using advanced modelling techniques or emulation that could create a huge benefit. There’s also benefits from having improved fidelity modelling so accuracy of designs could be improved - perhaps areas of conservatism and built-in factors could be reduced with greater understanding of design and the environment the aircraft will be operating in. This is potentially a huge area so we’re looking for innovative ideas, but also potentially ones that may come from outside the aerospace sector: other industries may have developed methods or tools that may benefit aerospace.”


Closing thoughts from Innovate UK

“We believe this competition is a fantastic opportunity for investment in next generation technologies. We recognise the UK is at the forefront of global aerospace but we’d like to help the UK to stay there and hopefully developing these new sets of technologies will achieve that.”


Brokering event on 6 August at Queen's University, Belfast

Innovate UK in partnership with Invest Northern Ireland and Queens University Belfast will be hosting another briefing event on HITEA 3, on Thursday the 6 August at 8:30 for 09:00 to 13:30 at the Northern Ireland Technology Centre, Queen's University, Cloreen Park, Malone Road, Belfast

The morning is scheduled to include details of the scope and how to apply, opportunities for networking - plus a networking lunch with a chance to meet one to one with experts from Innovate UK and KTN

Registrations can be made online to book a place.




  • Registration Closes - Noon 09 September 2015
  • Submission of Expression of Interest applications - Noon 16 September 2015
  • Applicants informed - 9 October 2015
  • Full Stage Opens for invited applicants - 12 October 2015
  • Full Stage Briefing Webinar (invited applicants only) - 22 October 2015
  • Submission of full stage application - Noon 12 November 2015
  • Decision to applicants - 18 December 2015
  • Feedback to applicants - 15 January 2016
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