While visiting Rosyth today, the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will spend around £800 million on boosting innovation over the next ten years to meet future threats.
The Defence innovation initiative will ensure that we work with our allies and partners to maintain our operational edge over our enemies - harnessing the entrepreneurship and ingenuity of the private sector. It will build on an agreement with the US Secretary of Defence earlier this year to deepen our collaboration over innovation.
Working with other national security departments, we will establish new bodies to further advance this work, including the Emerging Technology and Innovation Analysis Cell (ETIAC) to understand the implications of potentially game-changing technologies, and a new hub to fast track the search for innovative solutions to our most pressing challenges. These bodies will work closely with the private sector and universities.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
As the threats we face grow, it is vital that we harness innovation. By using our rising defence budget to create a new fund backed by £800 million of new investment, we will ensure that we stay ahead of our enemies. I hope and expect Scottish companies will be heavily involved in this initiative.
While visiting the Carriers, the Defence Secretary highlighted some of the types of people and organisations that Defence wants to build better relationships in the arena, harnessing their innovative energy and initiative.
Glasgow University is already part of the UK’s national network of Quantum Technology Hubs, offering exciting opportunities in potentially disruptive capabilities, like quantum sensing. Amethyst Research in Glasgow, Helia Photonics in West Lothian and the University of Strathclyde were among the winners at Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) Innovation Challenge.
In October, the Defence Secretary agreed with US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter that the MOD and US Department of Defence would work together on a combined approach to innovation, from technology and operational concepts, to war games and talent management.
These investments and partnerships will allow pioneering ideas to develop and deliver the truly transformative military capabilities of the future in a radically more effective and efficient way. It will allow us to maintain our advantages while breaking us out of the simple pattern of like for like replacement. All of this will be driven by the skills, talent and knowledge of everyone working in Defence and across the national security sector.
More detail on the MOD’s approach will be set out in the first half of 2016.