Defence and Security Accelerator: terms and conditions and contract guidance

Guidance on Defence and Security Accelerator terms and conditions for funding, contracts and intellectual property rights.

The only way to submit a proposal to the Accelerator is online.

Read about acceptable use of this service.

The guidance below will help you to understand who can apply for funding, the sort of projects the Accelerator funds, and the terms and conditions of Accelerator contracts.

Who can apply

The Accelerator is open to all. Submissions are welcome from all organisation types and individuals. There are no nationality restrictions.

The Accelerator can accept proposals from the private sector, academia and individuals in the UK or overseas.

What the Accelerator funds

We fund innovative and exploitable ideas that could lead to a cost-effective advantage for UK armed forces and national security. Our investments in innovative ideas are high risk but with high potential benefits.

You mustn’t submit any classified information to the Accelerator.

We use technology readiness levels (TRL) to help you understand what sort of work we fund. TRLs give an indication of the maturity of evolving technology. See the table below for guidance.

TRL MOD definition
1 Basic principles observed and reported
2 Technology concept and/or application formulated
3 Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept
4 Technology basic validation in a laboratory environment
5 Technology basic validation in a relevant environment
6 Technology model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
7 Technology prototype demonstration in an operational environment
8 Actual technology completed and qualified through test and demonstration
9 Actual technology qualified through successful mission operations

As the Accelerator develops it will fund innovative ideas spanning a wide-range of TRLs – from early stage research at low-TRL through to more mature technology at higher TRLs.


For themed competitions you should check the relevant competition document.

For the Open Call for Innovation, proposals are sought in one of two categories: emerging innovations and rapid impact innovations. Guidance on the funding and duration of proposals sought is available on the Open Call for Innovation page.

Accelerator contracts are funded as projects, rather than as grants.

If your proposal is a product you should speak to the MOD Defence Suppliers’ Service.

Standard contract terms and conditions

For your proposal to be accepted for assessment, you must tick a box to say you agree with the Accelerator terms and conditions. This guidance will help you to understand what they mean.

Accelerator contracts are most often under DEFCON 705 (PDF, 59KB, 10 pages) . This is MOD’s standard intellectual property (IP) rights condition for fully funded research and technology contracts. Under DEFCON 705 all IP generated during the work done under the contract with the Accelerator belongs to the contractor.

Many competitions, especially Phase 1 earlier TRL competitions, will use the new Short Form Contract (PDF, 410KB, 14 pages) . This is a Ministry of Defence (MOD) initiative that aims to ensure Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as Universities and larger organisations, have access to less complex contracting. The SFC is shorter in length and easier to use whilst retaining the appropriate level of legal certainty to govern the contractual relationship. The SFC is based on DEFCON 705 but takes a simplified approach to the conditions that apply. The Commercial Policy including the approach to IP has not changed and is the same as DEFCON 705 and previous Accelerator contracts.

You can also view the Accelerator document marking scheme (PDF, 70.5KB, 1 page) .

In your proposal to us, you need to describe the ‘deliverables’ from your project; in other words, what will be produced as a result of the project. You must also state if these are what we call ‘full rights’ (only containing foreground information or IP generated during the work that we contract with you) or ‘limited rights’ (containing background and foreground information) versions.

You must provide us with a full rights version of any deliverable. You can also provide a limited rights version where it’s useful to include background IP (from previous work not done under the Accelerator contract) to support the evaluation/understanding of the results; this version won’t be released outside government. You can’t provide a limited rights deliverable only; you must provide us with a full rights version of any limited rights deliverable, which must be a coherent document on its own. You can read more detail in DEFCON 705 (PDF, 59KB, 10 pages) .

Find out more about how we handle your IP.

You can find a description of Def Con 705 (and the full commercial toolkit) in Acquisition System Guidance (ASG). The ASG is available via registered access. You’ll need to register and then activate your account before you can browse the ASG. Be aware that it could take up to 4 hours for the account to be activated.

You can also view the standard Accelerator contract template (MS Word Document, 108KB) .

We reserve the right to consider alternative or additional contractual conditions if individual circumstances dictate. Any alternatives will be mutually agreed with you before a contract is awarded.


All prices quoted for Accelerator proposals are firm (non-variable). Prices quoted are not subject to the effects of escalation or exchange-rate variation.

As well as the technical aspects, value for money will also be taken into consideration during the assessment of your Accelerator proposal. To help with this, prices in your proposal must be supported by a full cost breakdown.

Requested funding must be VAT free. If VAT is incurred (eg in sub-contractor or bought-in goods costs), this can be claimed back when invoicing.

Note that all bought-in items will become the property of MOD and will be registered as government-furnished assets (GFA).

If the proposed work is conducted under a shared funding arrangement, you must describe the total costs, but clearly show the elements to be funded by MOD and by other parties.

We expect all quoted labour rates to be competitive in the market. If a bidder has previously agreed MOD rates, with the MOD Cost Assurance and Analysis Service (CAAS), they shouldn’t exceed those rates agreed with the MOD Cost Assurance and Analysis Service (CAAS). In the case that labour rates already agreed with CAAS, proposals must be supported by evidence these have not been exceeded.

In addition, year-on-year escalation factors (used to generate future years’ labour rates) must be detailed in your proposal, with supporting statements if they exceed the current normal levels assumed (of the order 2.5% per annum).


Our normal policy is to pay on the satisfactory completion of all work under a contract.

Bidders can propose a stage payment plan, which must be supported by a detailed expenditure profile showing projected monthly expenditure figures.

The stage payment plan must provide clearly defined work stages, deliverables with associated payments and timescales.

If you’re requesting stage payments you must comply with the following:

  1. We won’t pre-fund any expenditure, so stage payment claims mustn’t include costs not yet incurred.
  2. No more than 6 stage payments are to be proposed.
  3. The last payment, entitled ‘satisfactory completion of all work under the contract’, shall be at least 20% of the total quoted firm price.

Government-furnished assets

GFA could be equipment, information or resources that are government-owned and loaned (on a free-of-charge basis) to a contractor to assist in the completion of the contract. GFA aren’t provided lightly and only where there are substantial and pressing reasons (eg where there would be significant financial or quality benefits to the work as a result of using GFA).

With this in mind, we don’t believe that GFA is likely to be a requirement for an Accelerator phase 1 contract. That said, if there’s a demonstrable need that can only be met via GFA, this should be detailed in your proposal. If the case for GFA is accepted, additional contract conditions will be required and can be negotiated with you before a contract is awarded.

Ethical approval

It’s a condition of the contract that, as certain work must be justified ethically as well as scientifically, we reserve the right to terminate the work with immediate effect if you don’t gain the relevant approval.

You should submit your priced proposal using a staged approach, detailing deliverables and prices for work that can be done before and after getting ethical approval.

Read more about MOD ethical approval.

Research workers

Before we can award a contract, we need each person intending to work on the project to complete the form that we’ll issue.

This must be signed and returned with a brief curriculum vitae (CV) of each person by the nominated individual completing the work. The relevant people will be named in the subsequent contract. You must notify us in writing if you intend to change or add additional people. You must supply a completed form and CV for any new contractors.

Excluding ineligible suppliers

We expect our suppliers to maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in their business dealings and adhere to the laws of the countries where they operate.

We reserve the right to exclude a supplier who’s been convicted of any of the offences or misconduct listed in the ‘statement relating to good standing’ that will be sent to you if you’re successful under an Accelerator competition.


Bidders must appoint a person who’s responsible for all communications with us.

After a contract has been awarded, all queries should be directed to either the technical or commercial points of contact detailed in the contract documentation.

English is the official language for all communication between bidders, the MOD, the Accelerator and in all parts of Accelerator proposals.

Contractors must provide details to us of any related public announcement for review prior to release.

We’ll use the email address that you used to create your account and the telephone number in your profile to contact you.

Defence and Security Accelerator

Building 5
Porton Down


Please email for the quickest response.

Published 8 December 2016
Last updated 22 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. Edited/new version of DASA Short form contract uploaded to documents
  2. Update to text from 'All competitions will use the new' to 'Many competitions, especially Phase 1 earlier TRL competitions, will use the new'
  3. Please note we have updated our short form contract template. Best wishes The Defence and Security Accelerator
  4. Submission service open.
  5. Submission Service reopen dates published.
  6. First published.