Advantage through Innovation

MOD launches Defence Innovation Initiative

An £800M Fund to encourage home-grown defence technology has been launched by the MOD. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon MP announced the arrival of the defence innovation fund, designed to keep the MOD at the forefront of ground-breaking innovation at an exhibition highlighting UK defence innovation.

The initiative is backed by IRIS (innovation and research insights unit) and the Defence and Security Accelerator, with the fund available to new technology innovation, intending to support emerging and disruptive technologies for which the private sector does not adequately support research.

At the launch, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon highlighted the Britain’s tradition of innovation from the first tanks to radar and the jump jet. He said: “The UK has long enjoyed a reputation as a world leader in innovation. Our new Innovation Initiative will transform Defence culture to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve.

“With a rising Defence budget, and a £178 billion equipment plan, our commitment to collaboration will deliver a safer and more prosperous Britain.”

He continued: “We’re looking for much more than a simply technology-focused approach. Instead, we much fundamentally change how we go about our business blending innovation, imagination, ingenuity and entrepreneurship, in pursuit of maintaining a military advantage in the future.”

UK MOD Defence Innovation Initiative

©Animal Dynamics – Skeeter drone, inspired by the biology of a dragonfly.

Expected to run over the next ten years, IRIS funding is designed to promote innovation in numerous areas and support companies from ‘pitch to procurement’. Innovation technologies that will be funded include: Life-saving vital signs monitors, cutting-edge anti-missile systems, tiny insect-inspired surveillance drones, quantum gravitational detectors, advanced protective materials, and airborne threat-targeting laser weapons.

The Innovation Initiative will transform the Ministry of Defence’s creative culture by strengthening and streamlining collaboration with both new and established partners. With support and encouragement from the MOD, it is hoped that these partnerships will encourage UK based companies, from multi-national to SMEs, and help create partnerships that will keep the UK safe and secure.

This isn’t just about money, it’s about partnerships. Our Whole Force – military, civilians and business people – working as one.”

Read the full Initiative document here:

The initiative was welcomed by Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of ADS Group: “ ‘Advantage Through Innovation’ represents a step-change in the way that the MOD is addressing new threats and is a clear reflection of the value that engaging early with industry brings. It recognises the ingenuity and entrepreneurship which exists throughout the defence and security industries, and it is a pragmatic approach to creating a supportive environment in which UK companies can deliver the leading-edge capabilities required by our armed forces and security services.”

“Taking this structured approach to supporting innovation will enable UK companies to compete more effectively in tough global markets so that as well as making a valuable contribution to national security, they make a sustained contribution to national prosperity.”   


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