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The Aerospace and Defence KTN

Aerospace and Defence - Enabling technology through innovative approaches

The global aerospace industry sector is unique in many ways:

  • It draws extensively from academic research science to convert into technology enabled products.
  • Bringing a new aircraft into the market, civil or military, takes decades.
  • Upfront technology investment for a new aircraft type is expensive and usually beyond the means of a single organisation, ie governments and competing companies have to
  • collaborate and co-invest.
  • Aircraft and their components must match the highest safety standards of any product in the world.
  • Aircraft products are among the most complex and expensive in the world.

The industry exists within a complex environment too:

  • The market for commercial and military aircraft has a political dimension.
  • Competition is fierce whilst having to collaborate to operate.
  • The industry constantly responds to misperceptions in terms of its impact on economies and the environment.

The UK aerospace sector is second largest within the global industry, with annual revenues exceeding £20 billion in 2006. The position of any nation?s aerospace industry is not assured and the sector must work hard to retain its place. Moving forward within the sector will take concentrated effort and significant investment. The key to retaining and strengthening the UK?s position is to continue to be master of the constituent technologies. Critical to the success of the industry and further growing the UK?s position is the development of innovative technologies into leading edge products. The Aerospace and Defence Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is one initiative underway to further support this ambition.


KTNs are funded by the Technology Strategy Board, a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). The Board?s vision is for the UK to be a global leader in innovation and a magnet for innovative businesses, where technology is applied rapidly, effectively and sustainably to create wealth and enhance quality of life.

KTNs are a single overarching network across government, business and academia to further enable networking, partnering, funding opportunities and the influence of policy application for a sector, eg aerospace and defence or specialist topic eg location and timing.

The National Aerospace Technology Strategy (NATS) was formulated through government, business and academia working collaboratively to layout the technology requirements so that the sector could by 2020 realise its vision that: ?The UK will offer a global aerospace industry, the world?s most innovative and productive location, leading to sustainable growth for all its stakeholders.?

The Aerospace and Defence KTN is the custodian of NATS and works with the Aerospace Technology Steering Group (ATSG) made up of government, industry, regional and academic representatives to refresh the strategy and publish regularly updated technology roadmaps. Providing advice at a more detailed level are 10 National Technical Committees (NTCs) focusing on specific areas of research and technology, eg materials & structures, electrical power systems.

More information can be found at


This process enables the UK aerospace sector to clearly articulate to all its stakeholders, government, regions, SMEs etc, the areas of technology and investment focus needed to ensure the UK retains its ranking as the world?s second largest aerospace economy in an increasingly globalised and competitive market. NATS provides the framework to translate science through to innovative technologies and processes, from the research base through to market.

Since 2004, NATS has attracted combined Industry- Government investment of £464 million across more than 70 projects and programmes. This includes over £230 million of government support sourced through the Technology Strategy Board?s open competition, collaborative R&D vehicle and complementary support from Regional Development Agencies and Devolved Administrations.

The Aerospace and Defence KTN is the vehicle to then identify Knowledge Transfer activities to both communicate NATS and NTC advice but, more importantly, to facilitate the creation of collaborative partnerships with effective funding to deliver programmes of technology research and development consistent with NATS.

The KTN does this through:

  • Aerospace and Defence KTN led events ? invited participants brought together to learn about NATS, funding or collaboration opportunities.
  • Joint working with other Technology Strategy Board KTNs to further transfer knowledge within other sectors connected to Aerospace and Defence.
  • An Aerospace and Defence KTN newsletter that promotes its own events and those hosted by other establishments at a national or regional level.
  • A populated website where information on events, NATS, technology roadmaps and KTNs can be located.

The Aerospace and Defence KTN ? Who we are:

  • Dr Ruth Mallors,Director
  • Daniel Jones,Project Co-Ordinator
  • Bettina Knauer, Infrastructure Manager
  • Sameer Savani, Operations Manager
  • Tony Willenbruch, Operations Manager

Contact us at e-mail: or website:

Added the 10 September 2008 in category Innovation UK Vol4-1

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