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Broughton’s Airbus leads the way for UK innovation funding

DATA reveals that Airbus Operations Ltd, with its renowned wing assembly site in Broughton, has been awarded the second most innovation funding of any UK company over the last 18 years.

The research – conducted by intellectual property services and R&D tax credit experts GovGrant – analysed publicly available Innovate UK data. Analysis found that Airbus Operations Ltd, Airbus UK Ltd and Airbus Group Ltd have won a combined total funding of over £223 million from ‘the UK’s national innovation agency’ Innovate UK* since 2004.

Airbus helps to drive Broughton’s thriving manufacturing economy — the village has a proud tradition of aerospace manufacturing dating back 80 years, having supplied the RAF with aircraft during the Second World War. The company employs about 5,000 people in Broughton and has approximately 11,000 employees across the UK.

Airbus recently announced the creation of a further 450-550 jobs for it’s Broughton plant, to meet the rise in demand for commercial aircraft production. Increasing capacity will include £100m in facility investment for Broughton.

Overall, businesses in Wales have attracted 2.83% of funding from Innovation UK since 2004, worth over £166 million.

Despite ranking tenth out of the twelve UK regions for the sum of funding awarded, Wales comes fifth for the number of companies increasing their net worth following Innovate UK investment. This shows how the funding is spurring significant growth is the area, and prompt calls for more to be channelled away from Southern England regions.

Luke Hamm, CEO at GovGrant, said: “Airbus highlights the vital role that innovation funding plays in supporting local economies, and could contribute to the wider ‘levelling up’ agenda if targeted correctly. Innovation awards for Airbus are clearly contributing to the wider UK economy by financing training academies, filling the country’s talent pool with highly skilled people.”

Neil Fraser, Director of Defence & Space Programmes at NSSLGlobal: “The UK space industry supports over 45,000 jobs and brings in more than £15bn to the economy. Innovation funding is critical to help generate new technology and support ideas in this vital industry. The UK Space Agency, Innovate UK and the industry work together to make best use of public funding, which is usually “matched” by companies. Investment also helps the UK play important roles within international space agencies, including NASA and the European Space Agency.

“It is vital that the UK continues to invest across multiple aerospace companies in key sectors – to support national security and critical services, whilst enabling economic growth and contributing to net zero targets.”