The UK National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) has been expanded to a second round of funding worth £40 million, open to aerospace suppliers in January 2014.

The funding pot is to help innovate technologies for new products or manufacturing processes in the UK aerospace sector over the next four years. The programme is designed to create or retain 1,200 jobs in the supply chain, supporting the aims of the Aerospace Growth Partnership.

The funding was announced by secretary of state for Wales David Jones in Toulouse, France, at an event hosted by the ADS aerospace trade organisation.

He said: "In Wales, the aerospace sector is a huge regional employer, and is a significant contributor in our local economies. Whether it's a company on the scale of the impressive Airbus facility in north Wales, or one of the smaller companies playing a vital role in the aerospace supply chain, each and every one are valuable regional sources of strength and growth in our country."

Funding is available across the UK. NATEP funding will now be available to Wales's aerospace suppliers following a commitment from the Welsh government to join England and Northern Ireland in actively supporting aerospace supply chain businesses in participating in NATEP projects.

Bids with a value of £1.2 million have already been submitted since the joint industry and government-funded programme was launched at the Paris Airshow in June.

The nine bids, which have been made in the first round of funding applications, have been put forward by a total of 23 companies across the UK. The successful round one bids will be announced in January 2014.

The government says the first round of funding could support the creation or retention of up to 150 jobs in the aerospace sector.

The NATEP scheme will help mini-consortia of smaller supply chain companies work with research bodies to develop new technologies, putting them in a competitive position to win future contracts.

NATEP is supported by the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium, Midlands Aerospace Alliance, North West Aerospace Alliance, and West of England Aerospace Forum. The programme is also supported in Northern Ireland and Wales by the devolved governments and ADS Northern Ireland and Aerospace Wales respectively.