Aerospace companies top UK innovation funding

Airbus increases hydrogen innovation with UK center

Aerospace companies make up 4 of the top 5 recipients of funding from Innovate UK, the UK government’s national innovation agency.

Rolls-Royce, which makes aerospace engines, heads the list having received a total of £688,544,903.68 in funding from Innovate UK.

The Derby-based manufacturer is developing ways to make aviation more efficient and use alternative technologies on what it calls its pathway to net-zero.

Rolls-Royce recently withdrew from the new supersonic project, Boom saying that it did not see it as a priority.

Second on the list is Bristol-based Airbus Operations Limited, a subsidiary of Airbus that is developing sustainable aviation.

The project has received £162,089,411.51 in funding as it works towards developing a net-zero aircraft by 2035.

GKN Aerospace and Airbus UK site at 3rd and 5th respectively in the list having received £113,648,171.74 and £48,784,356.00 to help with their innovation projects.

GovGrant specializes in all things innovation and R&D tax relief ensuring that innovation is recognized and receives the full range of innovation tax incentives. Their CEO Luke Hamm said: “Rolls-Royce is a compelling success story and it highlights the vital role that innovation funding plays in supporting local economies, and could contribute to the wider ‘levelling up’ agenda if targeted correctly. Innovation awards for Rolls-Royce are clearly contributing to the wider UK economy by financing training academies, filling the country’s talent pool with highly skilled people.

“It’s extraordinary that Rolls-Royce PLC has received 11.73% of all Innovate UK funding to commercial entities, which is a huge sum to be awarded to one company. This either underlines the importance of collaboration and the role large organizations play in our innovation economy, or brings into question whether the funding process is a level playing field for smaller businesses. However, I’m sure there are instances of SMEs local to Rolls-Royce locations – and collaborators across the UK – who experience a trickle-down effect from this funding.”

Jaguar Land Rover is the only non-aerospace company in the top 5.

The Top 5 Innovate UK Funding List

Rank Name Sector Location No. of funding w/value Total value of funding (award offered)
1 ROLLS-ROYCE PLC Aerospace – Space East Midlands 214 £688,544,903.68
2 AIRBUS OPERATIONS LIMITED Aerospace – Space South West 58 £162,089,411.51
3 GKN AEROSPACE SERVICES LIMITED Aerospace – Space South East 47 £113,648,171.74
4 JAGUAR LAND ROVER LIMITED Machinery West Midlands 87 £75,317,582.97
5 AIRBUS UK LIMITED Aerospace – Space South West 43 £48,784,356.00

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