Press release

UK aerospace achieves new milestones for growth

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new scheme to keep the UK at the forefront of the global aerospace industry has recruited its first intake of students

  • 100 students awarded bursaries for government and industry funded Aerospace Masters scheme
  • Aerospace Technology Institute to be headquartered at Cranfield
  • new details published on £50 million competitive fund

A new scheme to keep the UK at the forefront of the global aerospace industry has recruited its first intake of students, Business Minister Michael Fallon announced today.

One hundred bursaries have been awarded to employees and graduates to study Masters (MSc) level degrees in aerospace engineering – with nineteen going to women. This will help the sector develop the high-level skills it needs to compete globally.

Industry and government have each committed £3 million over three years to help recruit 500 talented people who want to build careers in aerospace, but need financial backing to study at Masters level. The scheme will cover the cost of tuition fees up to a maximum of £9,500.

The Minister also announced that the Headquarters of the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) will be based at Cranfield Technology Park in the East of England.

The headquarters at Martell House will be operational from December, and house a core team of around thirty. As part of the Aerospace Growth Partnership, they will set the strategy for the ATI-funded research and technology programmes being carried out across the country by industrial and academic partners. These programmes will be jointly funded with £2 billion over seven years from government and industry.

Mr Fallon made the announcements during a visit to Airbus in Broughton where he met local apprentices who are helping to manufacture the wings for the new A350 XWB fleet of aircraft, which will go into operation from 2014.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

The aerospace Masters programme is an excellent example of government and industry working together to keep the UK competitive as it will help us meet the urgent demand for engineers in this country.

I am particularly pleased that 19 places have gone to women – well above the average for the sector. It is essential that the aerospace industry recruits from the widest possible talent pool.

Our decision to base the Aerospace Technology Institute at Cranfield ensures it can operate with the independence necessary to work with partners from right across industry and academia. It is well situated to serve the needs of the whole UK aerospace sector.

The R&D projects funded under the programme will be carried out at a range of locations across the country so that the benefit our joint £2 billion investment with industry is spread across the breadth of the UK.

Mark Stewart, Airbus in the UK General Manager and Human Resources Director said:

The UK has the second largest aerospace industry in the world but we face fierce competition from competitors across the world and it’s only by recruiting and training the best people from across all parts of society that we can ensure the UK stays at the forefront of the global aviation industry.

As a global company we understand that only by having a diverse workforce can we access the best talent and skills and that’s why we are completely committed to advancing the role of women in engineering so Airbus was happy to be one of the key Company Sponsors of the MSc Scheme and it’s especially pleasing to see such a high number of female engineers successfully taking part in the aerospace bursary scheme - something that will be good for both Airbus and the wider UK economy.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of aerospace trade organisation, ADS Group said:

The aerospace sector is a UK success story and the partnership between industry and government is helping to ensure it remains globally competitive. The Aerospace Masters programme is supporting the development of the high level skills the UK needs to maximise growth opportunities, while the Aerospace Technology Institute, based in Cranfield, is making sure we maximise investment in the technologies required for the next generation of aircraft.

The Minister’s visit came as the Technology Strategy Board published further details of the open call for up to £25 million of government funding he announced at the Paris Air Show in June. This investment will finance collaborative research and technology projects that support the delivery of the Aerospace Industrial Strategy.

It will be open to all companies and research institutes, including those in the aerospace supply chain who will be invited to submit bids for a share of the fund. The £25 million will be match funded by the winning businesses, creating up to £50 million of total investment.

The call will be funded from £2 billion of joint government and industry investment committed to support the ATI, announced in the aerospace industrial strategy in March.

Notes to editors:

1.Aerospace MSC Bursary Award scheme

  • The Prime Minister first announced the creation of the fund at the Farnborough International Air Show (FIAS) on 10 July 2012.
  • The scheme is aimed at students who would not otherwise study at Masters (MSc) level, who intend to seek employment in the aerospace industry and existing employees at sponsor companies and SMEs wishing to upskill.
  • One hundred bursaries have been awarded for the 2013/14 academic year.
  • The scheme will support the up-skilling of current aerospace employees already qualified to graduate level, and BSc students currently studying at university. Those students will be encouraged to make direct links with aerospace businesses to undertake projects to address the challenges faced by industry, and secure opportunities for work experience and future employment.
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Aeronautical Society are overseeing the programme, and will test in the competition process the need for the award and the commitment to work in the aerospace sector through the application and interview process. The process will seek to enable a more diverse range of people to reach Chartered Engineer status and to work in the aerospace sector.
  • The sponsor companies are BAE Systems, Bombardier Aerospace (Belfast), EADS/Airbus, Finmeccanica UK, GKN, MBDA Missile Systems, Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, Rolls-Royce and Spirit AeroSystems. The Department for Enterprise and Learning in the Northern Ireland Administration is also supporting the programme financially.
  • For more information visit

2.Aerospace Technology Institute

  • The government is committing just over £1 billion over the next seven years to aerospace research through the creation of an Aerospace Technology Institute, which industry has committed to match.
  • The government and industry has decided jointly, through the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP), that the Headquarters of the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) will be located at Martell House at the Cranfield Technology Park.
  • The ATI HQ will consist of a small core team of around 30 staff. Research and technology programmes funded under the ATI programme will be carried out at a range of locations across the UK, through collaborative projects involving a wide range of industrial and academic partners.
  • The ATI will provide better alignment between early research (such as that supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and cross-sectoral R&D innovation delivered through the Technology Strategy Board.
  • Larger scale projects will be delivered through the Technology Strategy Board by collaborative groups from industry and academia. Some projects will be carried out in the High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres, maximising the return on the government’s investment in these facilities.

3.Aerospace Industrial Strategy

  • The Aerospace Industrial Strategy can be found at Lifting Off – Implementing the Strategic Vision for UK Aerospace, which was launched on 18 March by the Aerospace Growth Partnership.
  • The Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) brings industry and government together to tackle barriers to growth, boost exports and grow the number of high value jobs in the UK. The AGP is jointly chaired by Michael Fallon, Minister of State at BIS, and Marcus Bryson, CEO of GKN Aerospace and Vice President of ADS.
  • This is part of a government commitment of over £1.6 billion during the next 10 years to back industrial strategy. This includes more than £1 billion new money from HM Treasury and more than £500 million from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) budget.

4.Technology Strategy Board

  • The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.
  • Details of the open call can be found at


  • ADS is the premier trade organisation for all companies operating in the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors. Farnborough International Limited (FIL) which runs the Farnborough International Air Show, is a wholly owned subsidiary. For more information see

6.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.