UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme: Early Impact Evaluation

SQW has been commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in conjunction with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK, to undertake an early impact evaluation of the Aerospace Research and Technology (ART) programme. The overall objective of the study is to establish the actual and expected effects of ART funding on outputs and outcomes (focussing on short-term outcomes).

The UK Government's Industrial Strategy recognises aerospace as a priority given its role in driving leading-edge (high risk) innovation and R&D, and high levels of productivity. The ART programme was launched in 2013 as part of the Industrial Strategy. It is a partnership between the civil aerospace industry and government aiming to sustain and achieve competitiveness and market share of the UK Aerospace sector, through targeted investments in industry-led R&D (higher-risk) projects. The programme provides grant funding for R&D projects with matched contributions from industry. By 2018, c. £1bn of government grants had been allocated to over 200 strategic and collaborative R&D projects (of which c. 100 were completed by 2018). Programme funding equates to c. £150m p.a. (in nominal terms), which was considered a step change in funding for aerospace R&T (research and technology) support from c. £50m p.a. prior to the programme. The funds are delivered and managed by Innovate UK on behalf of BEIS.

SQW's early impact evaluation will involve four phases of activity: set-up, research design and monitoring review; stakeholder interviews and technology mapping; in-depth case study fieldwork; and analysis of evidence, reporting, and dissemination of findings. This early evaluation will be important in providing evidence for future government spending reviews, to inform Ministers and policymakers of the effects of ART funding.