Innovation in the Defence Supply Chain

Information on ways defence encourages funding innovation in the defence procurement Supply Chain.

We want to encourage innovation in our business and attract new and non-traditional suppliers in to all levels of the defence supply chain. Our military customers have put innovation high on their agenda and we expect this to be reflected in their future requirements.

In 2019 we launched the Defence Innovation Priorities. Through the Innovation Priorities we are looking for ideas and opportunities in unconventional places and in unanticipated relationships. Within defence the priorities will be used to inform policy, strategy and plans: shaping how the department understands and exploits innovation, and focus innovation investment by shaping how the defence innovation Fund is allocated.

The Defence Innovation Fund (£800-million over 10 years) was launched as part of the Defence Innovation Initiative in 2016 to encourage better collaboration with industry, academia and allies, and target new providers to boost the competitive advantage of UK defence and find answers to our most pressing national security questions from across sectors at pace. The fund provides the freedom to pursue and deliver innovative solutions, taking forward the best proposals, from inside and outside of Defence, in an open competitive process. The fund is invested via Defence and Security Accelerator.

The Defence and Security Accelerator

The Defence and Security Accelerator which forms part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), 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 will also fund innovations for defence and security which support economic growth and prosperity in the UK.

DASA funds innovation through two main mechanisms, the Open Call for Innovation and Themed Competitions. The Open Call exists to offer suppliers the opportunity to submit their ideas to defence and security stakeholders, while Themed Competitions exist to offer suppliers the opportunity to submit proposals around specific government areas of interest. More information can be found on the Apply for funding page.

SME Searchlight

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is committed to working with a wider range of innovative SMEs. This is underpinned by the SME Searchlight project, set up to attract SMEs and non-traditional defence suppliers.

The Defence Growth Partnership

The Defence Growth Partnership is a unique collaboration between UK Government and leading companies from the UK defence industry. It has been formed to meet the challenges of increased international competition for defence business, and has created a collaborative environment to enable the UK to offer the very best solutions to defence customers, tailored to meet global customer needs, including the MOD.

UK Defence Solutions Centre

The UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC) was established as an independent entity in 2015 and works to make the UK defence industry more successful in exports through:

  • better alignment with UK government
  • better collaboration within the UK value chain
  • stimulating innovation and investment from a broad range of sources.

Created as part of the implementation plan for the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) and jointly funded by government and industry, the UKDSC works closely with the Department for International Trade’s Defence & Security Organisation (DIT DSO), the UK government, and the best of the defence industry, academia and research and development.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. They drive growth by working with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation.

They connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth. They also fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into research and development. Support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions.

Procurement at MOD

Published 29 October 2020