Re: "It's unlikely we'll see much return from all this" - WHAT?
"It boosts interest in STEM subjects in schools"
Needs to have the school interested in it first. Given that the development work has been done in Bristol I've been rather disappointed that there seems to have been no linkage to this at my sons' Bristol "science specialism" secondary school. In contrast when I was at school (admittedly a private school with strong engineering tradition) we had a visit from Richard Noble to give a talk to us all about Thurst 2 (at the stage they'd just claimed the UK speed record with Thurst 1 which was a jet engine with wheels and not much else!)