Announced as part of the Defence Innovation Initiative, the Accelerator will help government defence and security departments collaborate with industry, academia and allies to rapidly develop innovative solutions to our most pressing national security challenges.
A public consultation was launched in July to shape the Accelerator. More than 500 people from industry and academia joined the online community, generating around 200 ideas.
This input highlighted the need to build on the success of the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), which will now transition into the Accelerator. In its 8 years CDE has placed over 1,000 contracts, 43% with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), 29% with industry and 28% with academia.
CDE provided a strong starting point – and the Accelerator will take us even further. It will help suppliers to overcome the barriers to exploitation and ensure the UK makes the most of its innovators to maintain the advantage over those who wish us harm.
One of the Accelerator’s first tasks will be to deliver the Single Defence Challenge, as part of the Defence Innovation Fund. This themed competition will meet a clear defence need to operate in the information age. In early 2017, we will launch the Accelerator Enduring Challenge which looks for solutions to defence’s on-going requirements.
The Accelerator will work closely with suppliers from concept through to potential uptake of ideas, technologies and services; supporting both the suppliers and potential users in achieving innovation and value - helping to bridge the valley of death.
Acting Head of the Accelerator, Rob Solly said:
Over the coming year, we will be adding new capabilities to the Accelerator, including new ways to collaborate and increasing our team of innovation partners. The upcoming challenges allow us to develop and demonstrate new ways we can support the uptake of innovative technologies and processes that provide advantage to national security, whilst also benefitting UK prosperity.
Competitions and events available through the Accelerator will be advertised on our website.