In its support for the science base the Engineering
and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) provides significant
underpinning support for aerospace research and technology demonstration
activities. Currently, the Council is committed to expenditure
of £42 million over a three-year period in 200 projects.
EPSRC support underpins the UK's nationally integrated aerospace
research and technology demonstration effort. The funding is focused
and has contributed to the importance and effectiveness of core
technology capabilities at selective universities; 65 per cent
of the £42 million support is in 10 universities and one-third
is at just three. In this way, centres of expertise in specific
aerospace technologies have been nurtured.
EPSRC and the DTI, via the CARAD programme,
also collaborate in supporting aerospace projects. Currently,
the joint EPSRC/DTI "Flight Deck Information Technology for
Enhanced Safety" (FDTES) initiative is appraising bids from
industry for support from CARAD and for academia from EPSRC funding.
FDTES is aimed at improving flight safety and integrates the UK's
science base and industrial capabilities.
EPSRC also supports Defence and Aerospace Research
Partnerships (DARPs), an initiative which evolved from the work
of the Defence Aerospace and Systems Foresight Panel. DARPs aim
to establish long-term partnerships between industry and academic
centres for work on priority research topics to be led by industry
but carried out at universities. A further three DARPs were recently
validated taking the total number to 11. Partnerships in the existing
eight DARPs are generally proceeding satisfactorily but work is
being undertaken to ensure there is a clear definition of the
added value of establishing and operating them.