The Ministry of Defence has selected the first winners of the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) Innovation Challenge, valued at around £2 million for the initial phase of work.
More than 20 projects have been chosen in the areas of persistent surveillance to develop innovative sensor and communications technologies, and immersive mission training to help our Armed Forces prepare for operations. Of these contracts, 12 are for projects by small and medium-sized enterprises, 4 are with academia and 7 will be placed with large companies.
Announcing the winners, Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:
These competitions have been chosen to focus on areas which hold significant challenges to UK defence and opportunities for export. Innovation is critical to keep us ahead of our adversaries and at the forefront of the global market.
I am therefore delighted to see the breadth and scope of the projects and organisations being funded in this first phase of the DGP Innovation Challenge.
Among the successful bidders is Inzpire Limited, an SME looking at a synthetic training environment which provides real-time and after-action graphic review and the University of Birmingham, developing interesting techniques for novel radio-frequency systems.
The £10 million Innovation Challenge was launched in March 2015 with the aim of encouraging the development of innovative defence products. It is funded by the MOD and delivered through the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) in partnership with the DGP’s UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC) and is fully compliant with the Small Business Research Initiative.
Steve Brittan, Chief Executive Officer at UKDSC said:
We are delighted that the first part of the DGP Innovation Challenge has generated a large number of high-quality proposals from a broad range of innovative UK companies, resulting in the award of 23 new contracts, many of them with companies who are new to defence. UKDSC looks forward to continuing its collaboration with Dstl to exploit the outputs of these exciting new projects.
This is a key step for UKDSC to show how we are stimulating innovation in the value chain to generate new capabilities for MOD and to support new export propositions.
The MOD has also announced the theme of autonomy and big data for its next DGP Innovation Challenge, also compliant with SBRI. This competition, worth a total of at least £4 million over two phases and again delivered by the Centre for Defence Enterprise, opened today and will be briefed at a CDE networking event in London on 21 October.