Ministry of Defence
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Launch of new innovative defence programme backed by £16 million

A £16 million programme to boost small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) defence innovation has been launched today.

  • Keeping the UK at the forefront of defence technology
  • Joining innovations and up to 50% of government funding with large suppliers
  • Grants of up to £500,000 available per project

With the innovation of SMEs, the resources of big suppliers and initial funding from government, the Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP) is designed to bring the key components together to allow pioneering projects to flourish.

The aim is to keep the United Kingdom at the forefront of defence technology, improving the capabilities available to our Armed Forces, the competitiveness of UK industry and growing potential exports benefits.

Individual grants of up to 50% of a project’s value – to a maximum of £500,000 per grant - will be available through DTEP for collaborative projects between SMEs and larger suppliers, supporting the integration of novel technologies, materials and processes into MOD’s supply chains.

DTEP will be open for proposals year-round, with cycles closing at 3-month intervals for assessment of submissions.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said:

Innovation within defence is crucial to maintaining competitive advantage for our Armed Forces.

The Defence Technology Exploitation Programme is a positive step in how we support SMEs and larger suppliers to work together to improve the resilience and competitiveness of the MOD’s supply chain.

Today’s launch builds upon the successful BEIS-funded National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) and a pilot of DTEP conducted with Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI). An example of work supported by this pilot is CCP Gransden, based near Ballygowan, collaborating with Thales and Ulster University on a project to replace the Starstreak surface-to-air missile system’s metallic canister with a composite version – reducing reliance on global supply chains for the over 50 components currently needed.

Head of the Defence and Security Accelerator, Anita Friend said:

DTEP has been designed to help SMEs join defence supply chains and offers SMEs and larger suppliers the opportunity to come together to solve defence problems.

For an SME, DTEP offers not only funding but also the opportunity to deliver new innovations into the UK defence supply chain and a way to develop and scale up their business. DTEP is also beneficial for larger companies, offering early access to new technologies or processes that they may be able to help commercialise.

Applications to DTEP can be made by UK-based SMEs looking to form a collaboration with a UK-based higher-tier supplier to help integrate and take the novel solution to market. The key areas of interest for proposals are set out in detail on the DTEP portal and are aligned with the recently published Defence Capability Framework.

DASA DTEP Business Relationship Managers will be available at all steps of the process, from project formation until after project completion. They will support SMEs through signposting, mentoring and offering other support services.

DTEP will be delivered by the MOD’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), in partnership with the Innovate UK group, and it is a core commitment in the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy and SME Action Plan.


  • The DTEP page can be accessed here:
  • The specific areas of interest follow the MOD’s Enduring Capability Challenges. More information can be found in the Defence Capability Framework here.
  • More details on the CCP Gransden, Thales and Ulster University programme can be found here.
  • Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. The Innovate UK group is an ecosystem of expertise, funding, and powerful connections driving value through innovation. Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN are working in close partnership with the MOD and DASA on the delivery of the DTEP programme.
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