How to work with or sell to Dstl: industry, academia and other research organisations

How to sell to Dstl if you are in industry, academia or another type of research organisation.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) believes that work should be conducted by external suppliers unless there is a clear reason for it to be done by Dstl.

Around half of the approximate £410 million Ministry of Defence (MOD) science and technology (S&T) research programme, managed through Dstl, goes to industry and academia to deliver. Dstl intends to increase this proportion.

As well as the MOD S&T programme, some areas of Dstl’s work are funded from other government sources. Because of the nature of this work, much of it is carried out in-house by Dstl, but there are still opportunities for suppliers to get involved. Read our science and technology procurement criteria (MS Word Document, 39.5KB) for more detail.


Dstl manages the delivery of its customers’ work through a number of programmes, using expertise from across the organisation and placing work externally wherever possible. These programmes detail the full breadth of work by subject area.

Defence and Security Accelerator

The Defence and Security Accelerator focuses on innovations which can provide advantage to defence and national security to protect the UK from its adversaries. It funds the development of suppliers’ innovative ideas and provides support through to potential application. The Accelerator also funds innovations for defence and security which support economic growth and prosperity in the UK.


There are many different opportunities for organisations to work with Dstl, either directly or indirectly, via a contract. Dstl places a range of different types of contracts from proof-of-principle contracts through to enabling contracts. Some contracts may be placed with a single organisation, other contracts will bring in suppliers as and when needed, giving opportunities for new suppliers. Dstl may specify how much of a contract must be placed with SMEs, academia or other organisations and how much can be carried out by the prime contractor.

Depending on the nature of the contract, these are usually advertised via the Defence Contracts Online portal and MOD Defence Contracts Bulletin and the Official Journal of the European Union.


R-Cloud is a commercial framework which helps Dstl’s suppliers bid for contracts. It provides easy-to-use, direct access to current and future research requirements. It also aims to reduce the cost of trading with Dstl and simplify the contract process. Find out more about R-Cloud.

Ploughshare Innovations Limited

Ploughshare Innovations was formed in 2005 to commercialise and exploit Dstl’s intellectual property generated from its research. Since its creation, Ploughshare has commercialised more than 110 technologies and launched eleven spin-out companies, mainly for civilian applications. Ploughshare has also negotiated licences in the defence field leading to research being pulled through into defence products. Find out more on the Ploughshare website.

Easy Access Intellectual Property (IP)

Dstl is an Easy Access IP organisation. Easy Access institutions promote new ways of sharing IP to make it easier for researchers and industry to work together. Find out how you can access Dstl technology under the Easy Access IP scheme.

Synthetic Environment Tower of Excellence (SE Tower)

The SE Tower is a mechanism which enables the Ministry of Defence (MOD), industry and academia to work together on future areas of research for mutual benefit. Find out how to get involved with the SE Tower.

PhD programmes

Dstl operates a number of PhD programmes. We welcome applications to PhD level research calls from UK institutions with leading academics, research groups or research centres.

Postdoctoral research associates

Dstl issues periodic calls for postdoctoral research. Find out about our current postdoctoral research opportunities.

Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI)

MURI is a US Department of Defense (DoD) programme, sponsored by DoD research offices including the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Army Research Office (ARO), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Find out about opportunities for UK academics to engage in MURI.

Innovate UK

Dstl works closely with Innovate UK (the new name for the Technology Strategy Board), the UK’s innovation agency, whose goal is to accelerate economic growth by supporting business-led innovation. Dstl and Innovate UK collaborate on technologies where there is potential for ‘dual-use’ innovation (ie where the technology could be applied to both defence and civil market sectors) and jointly fund competitive research calls in areas of specific interest – usually through Innovate UK’s competitions process. Find out more about competitions managed by Innovate UK.

Dstl’s supplier eBulletin: inSIGHT

inSIGHT is a regular defence, science and technology eBulletin written for Dstl’s external suppliers. It covers the latest science and technology news and events, developments in Dstl’s programmes, information about new and existing contracts and case studies.

Subscription to inSIGHT is free. Subscribe to inSIGHT and read the latest edition here.

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Published 1 July 2014
Last updated 8 December 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updating CDE with the Defence and Security Accelerator following organisational change
  2. Added information and link for the Dstl Synthetic Environment Tower of Excellence (SE Tower).
  3. Added details of the US DoD Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) programme.
  4. Added information about Easy Access IP.
  5. First published.