article

Aerospace

University of Nottingham’s aerospace programme commits £3.8 million to SMEs

Tuesday, 02 August 2022

The University of Nottingham has awarded more than £3.8m in funding as part of its Aerospace Unlocking Potential (UP) programme, after announcing another round of funding for four Midlands-based businesses.

Designed to help smaller companies develop new technologies and solutions to make aviation greener, Aerospace UP, a £20 million programme, is being delivered by the University of Nottingham and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and Midlands Engine.

The programme not only provides funding for projects but also offers small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with unique access to industry experts, academic support, and facilities that might otherwise have been unattainable.

Professor Pat Wheeler, Head of Power Electronics in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham, said: "We are very excited to open the university up to businesses at this critical time where the industry has been affected by three waves of disruption - Brexit, Covid and climate change.

With Aerospace UP, we have created a new and accessible way to offer innovation support to companies throughout the supply chain, who historically would not access the facilities and extensive range of expertise at the university. This is a pivotal time for the industry, and we hope that we can make a difference to the future prosperity of the sector, the region and the country through this initiative.
Professor Pat Wheeler, Head of Power Electronics in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham
Andrew Mair of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, Eliott Parnham of Skyfarer LTD, Professor Pat Wheeler of the University of Nottingham. Photography by Alex Wilkinson Media

Skyfarer, Assemtron, KITAU Robotics and Holscot Fluoropolymers now join more than 200 other companies from across the region that have benefited from the scheme, which is due to run until summer 2023.

Between them, the innovative companies represent the diversity of the broader aerospace industry, with the chosen projects working towards simplifying sensor data processing to make companies more efficient, saving lives by making drones accessible in remote communities, automating airport cleaning, and enabling satellites to be refilled in orbit.

We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Nottingham to deliver Aerospace UP support to Midlands SMEs. The university undertakes world-class aerospace R&D, and for small companies to be able to access that knowledge within the programme is a major boost to our aerospace cluster.
Andrew Mair, chief executive of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance

The new round of grants was announced during a signing ceremony at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow, where the university celebrated its most successful show to date, with more than 60 members of the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Science in attendance.

This year’s Farnborough Airshow has been monumental for the university. We supported activities with the Midlands Aerospace Alliance and our industrial partners in addition to our own stand, where we displayed key research results across a portfolio of projects worth more than £75m.
Professor Serhiy Bozhko, Director of the Institute for Aerospace Technology (IAT) at the University of Nottingham
Andrew Mair of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, Samantha Cowley of Holscot Fluoropolymers LTD, Professor Pat Wheeler of the University of Nottingham. Photography by Alex Wilkinson Media

Professor Bozhko continued: “We also held three receptions celebrating work under our international network focussing on electrification (SAEL), Clean Sky 2, where we are the fourth largest participant across Europe, and confirming our commitment towards Net Zero Aviation. Additionally, our work was recognised externally by Collins Aerospace and Hybrid Air Vehicles, and we received a plaque in recognition of our work with the Aerospace Technology Institute.

“It has now been 13 years since the IAT was founded and each Farnborough Airshow we have attended over this timeframe has demonstrated a significant leap in the depth and breadth of aerospace research at the university.”

For more information about Aerospace UP, please visit: www.aerospaceup.com/

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Pat Wheeler, in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham at patrick.wheeler@nottingham.ac.uk or; Danielle Hall, Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham, at danielle.hall@nottingham.ac.uk

Photography by Alex Wilkinson Media

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021.

We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Aerospace UP eligibility criteria

Support through the Aerospace UP programme is available to SMEs (with fewer than 250 employees, a turnover of less than €50m, or a balance sheet total of less than €43m) based in the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and the South East Midlands. Companies can visit ukassistedareasmap.com/ieindex.html to confirm their LEP area. Interested companies can find out more about Aerospace UP and apply at aerospaceup.com.

About The Midlands Aerospace Alliance

The Midlands Aerospace Alliance represents one of the largest aerospace clusters in the world, supporting over 300 companies. The Midlands is home to over one quarter of the UK aerospace industry and is a leader in advanced aerospace manufacturing. The cluster’s contribution to the economy is driven by global demand for high-technology aero engines, complex aircraft systems and precision-engineered components.

About the European Regional Development Fund

Aerospace UP (either has received or is receiving) up to £10m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

About the Midlands Engine

The government is committed to making the Midlands an ‘engine for growth’ in the UK, increasing economic growth and improving the quality of life for everyone. The Midlands is home to over 10 million people and over 780,000 businesses. Its economy is worth £217.7 billion. Alongside over €750 million of European Regional Development Fund support for businesses and communities across the Midlands, the government has awarded £1.9 billion in three rounds.

CASE STUDIES

Skyfarer to save lives by making drones accessible for remote communities

Skyfarer is on a mission to save lives by making drone operations more accessible. The company has teamed up with Riders for Health and the Gambian Ministry of Health to develop a life-saving service to remote communities in the country. Drones have a huge potential to allow medical deliveries during rainy seasons when road vehicles cannot get through. An innovation grant and expert support from the Aerospace UP programme will enable the development and trial of the solution, including flights tests in Africa.

Assemtron to simplify sensor data processing to make companies more efficient

Many manufacturing and engineering companies use sensors connected to a wide range of systems, some analogue, which can make data time consuming and inefficient to both collect and process. With support from the Aerospace UP programme, Assemtron aims to make the process simpler for companies of all sizes by enabling them to use one core system encompassing a transmitter module and main processing board to which a range of sensor devices can be added to make the whole process easier to manage.

KITAU Robotics to automate airport cleaning to make travel more hygienic

Covid-19 has made the hygiene of public spaces a continued high priority and KITAU Robotics is developing a prototype for an automated cleaning solution for airports with support from the Aerospace UP programme which includes both a grant and access to the University of Nottingham’s Precision Manufacturing Centre. The system will not only make cleaning airports safer, easier and more reliable, it will provide analytics that will enable systems to become more efficient over time while minimising interactions with the public.

Holscot Fluoropolymers to enable satellites to be refilled in orbit

With unmatched temperature and chemical resistance, unique electrical performance and decreased friction, fluoropolymers are high-performance plastics that aid the production of lighter components that are also highly reliable. With support from Aerospace UP, Holscot Fluoropolymers is developing a solution to line satellite propulsion tanks that is also very adaptable. The fluoropolymer solution is lighter than the metal alternative, and is potentially refillable and reusable in orbit, helping to minimise waste in low orbit space.

Danielle-Hall-edited
Danielle Hall - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Engineering
Email: danielle.hall@nottingham.ac.uk
Phone: 0115 846 7156
Location:

Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham

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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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