Ministry of Defence
Science and tech at core of defence as Minister launches new strategy in Birmingham
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin yesterday launched a new Science and Technology Strategy to counter evolving threats and adapt to rapidly changing technology.
By setting out specific research areas and capability priorities, like autonomy, cyber and sensor technology, the strategy will encourage defence to be even more responsive to emerging opportunities and threats, whilst promoting more innovation and collaboration with suppliers.
The Defence Minister made the announcement while visiting Small and Medium-Sized businesses (SMEs) in Birmingham, one of the UK’s up-and-coming tech hubs, at EEF’s brand new facility in the West Midlands.
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said:
This new strategy puts world-beating science and technology right at the core of our Armed Forces. Investing millions into innovative ideas from dynamic British companies will help us defend the country in the face of intensifying threats and keep us ahead of the curve.
A world-leading centre for life sciences, Birmingham has over 36,800 digital jobs, with over 550 startups created from 2011 to 2015, making it a fertile ground for new ideas for UK Defence and Security.
Last year saw the department’s direct spend with smaller business increase by over 10%. Many have benefitted from the MOD’s £800 million Innovation Fund, with the department committed to spend 1.2% of its rising defence budget on science and technology.
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is one way the finances are channelled, harnessing innovative ideas to give the UK a strategic advantage in Defence and Security through themed competitions and an ‘Open Call’ for Innovation.
Since its launch, the DASA has assessed nearly 700 proposals from almost 400 organisations and has successfully awarded its defence portion of the ‘Open Call’ budget for this year.
Ideas have included computer games to help military units develop more effective tactics, a device to reduce the noise of aircraft and vehicles and a redesigned geolocation tracker.
Over 40% of submissions received were from SMEs that have not engaged with defence before, reflecting the success of the MOD efforts to make it easier for SMEs to win defence business, maximising the innovative solutions they can offer the Armed Forces.
Last month the Defence Minister announced the launch of the MOD’s new Supplier Portal, which brings together for the first time a range of useful information for new and prospective suppliers in one place.
A new Twitter channel, @defenceproc, is also being used to provide regular updates to suppliers on opportunities and events that the MOD is supporting, whilst the department also launched two simplified, plain English short-form contracts for use in lower value less complex procurements last year, reducing the existing baseline terms and conditions from 18 pages to three.
The new Science and Technology Strategy will be led by the MOD’s Chief Scientific Adviser Hugh Durrant-Whyte, who joined this year following a career at the forefront of the robotics sector in Australia.
Latest News from
Ministry of Defence
Minister for Armed Forces calls out Russian aggression during OSCE Ministerial Council01/12/2023 14:20:00
Minister for Armed Forces attends OSCE Ministerial Council in North Macedonia to call out Russian aggression across Europe.
Royal Navy task force to deploy with JEF partners to defend undersea cables01/12/2023 13:15:00
Six Royal Navy warships, a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, and a Royal Air Force maritime patrol aircraft will form the UK’s contribution to the JEF deployment.
UK companies selected for NATO innovation challenge01/12/2023 11:20:00
Seven UK companies have been selected to take part in NATO’s pilot challenges providing the opportunity to refine their products and keep NATO populations safe.
Nuclear test veterans recognised for contribution to UK security30/11/2023 15:15:15
Nuclear test veterans who made a unique contribution to the UK’s security and have received medals for their service have been praised at a dedicated reception.
Service Police super-complaints: designated bodies29/11/2023 14:15:00
Organisations that have met the criteria to be designated by the Secretary of State for Defence are listed here.
Super-complaints regime for Service Policing - application window extended until October 202329/11/2023 13:15:00
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has extended the application window for organisations to apply for designation as a Service Police Super-Complaint body.
£121 Million Investment into future Submarines supports 250 Jobs29/11/2023 10:15:00
Two contracts, worth collectively over £100 million, have been awarded to Babcock to support the development of the UK’s future nuclear deterrent.
UK and Türkiye to boost stability, security and prosperity27/11/2023 12:15:00
Two NATO Allies, the UK and Türkiye, recently (23 November 2023) agreed to work more closely together to help bring greater stability, security and prosperity to both nations.