The impact of Brexit on the aerospace sector Contents

7Research and development

51.The UK aerospace sector is highly R&D intensive, spending £1.9bn in this area in 2016, accounting for 12 per cent of all manufacturing R&D expenditure.72 It has also been a significant beneficiary of EU funding for R&D. The UK is a net beneficiary from EU research and innovation funding,73 and has secured 15 per cent of the available funding for transport sectors so far under the Horizon 2020 programme, second only to Germany. UK aerospace secures around £100m per annum from Horizon 2020, and also participates in the Clean Sky Joint Understanding.74

52.More valuable to the sector than the funding on offer are the opportunities participation in EU R&D programmes provides for collaboration and specialisation between industry and academia across countries.75 The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) notes that: “Large-scale demonstration projects… are particularly important to aerospace. These demonstration programmes are often inherently international and expensive, making them natural activities to be conducted at European level.” Participation in EU programmes also gives the UK influence over European demonstrator programmes that “lay the foundations for technology choices on the next wave of commercial aircraft designs.”76

53.The Government should seek to maintain the UK’s membership of Horizon 2020, the Clean Sky Joint Understanding and other collaborative R&D programmes, and secure UK participation in future programmes. In doing so, it should recognise that the primary benefit of these programmes for the UK comes from the cross-border collaborative opportunities they offer, rather than the financial return, and form its negotiating priorities accordingly.


73 Aerospace Technology Institute, (BRS0008)

74 Q63 [Everitt, ADS and Henley, RAS]

75 Q63 [Everitt, ADS]

76 Aerospace Technology Institute, (BRS0008)




Published: 19 March 2018