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.
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