Delivering DSIS One year on

Announced by the Prime Minister in the Integrated Review, the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS) laid out plans to drive innovation and improvements in productivity and efficiency and accelerate the development of next-generation technologies; ensuring the UK expands its competitive, pioneering and world-class defence and security industries.

On 18 May 2022 the Honourable Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement (MinDP) addressed Parliament to demonstrate how Government and industry have been working together to turn DSIS commitments into realities.

The statement also announced the upcoming launch of the Defence Technology Exploitation programme (DTEP) which will be delivered by the Department for Industrial Strategy and Exports (DISE) and the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA). DTEP is a UK-wide initiative which will help the Ministry of Defence (MOD) deliver productivity and resilience priorities laid out in DSIS. The programme will encourage collaboration between lower and higher tier defence suppliers to deliver novel technologies, processes and materials aligned to MOD capability priority areas.

Inspiring Innovation

DSIS outlined additional funding for DASA to support their work in finding and funding exploitable innovation for a safer future. Since March 2021, DASA has contracted suppliers from a diverse range of industries to develop their innovations into defence and security, awarding over £30 million in funding to 138 organisations, 64% of which were SMEs.

With an extra £20m from the Shared Outcomes Fund, DASA launched the Security Open Call Rapid Impact Innovations competition, a cross-Government initiative which enables Government to work in partnership with industry and academia to progress new ideas and solutions to security challenges. Teams from across Government work side by side with DASA colleagues to review the ideas submitted and directly support the development of those that are funded. So far, £9.8 million has been awarded, with 15 projects already in progress.

Boosting Business

DSIS recognised that one of the challenges faced by Government is pulling through an innovation to procurement and that many of the supplying organisations are not mature enough as a business to commercialise their ideas. As a result, the MOD, through DASA, committed to expand its Access to Mentoring and Finance (A2MF) scheme recruiting five regionally based A2MF Partners who help innovators become investment, market and supply chain ready. The A2MF team also offers a range of services and initiatives that help organisations build the business behind the innovation:

  • Defence Innovation Loans, launched in June 2021, with £15 million over three years to specifically help SMEs convert mature defence innovations into strong businesses cases for defence procurement.
  • Regional Partnership Fund, with £3.1 million available to support the Government’s Levelling Up agenda which is levered against private investment.
  • A £11m Evergreen pre-seed Equity Defence and Security Investment fund (D2S), delivered as part of the UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S).
  • The First Customer Fund which provided funding for defence and security users to buy pre-production prototypes from SMEs to enable pre-procurement evaluation. This negates the need for small businesses to offer prototypes at zero cost.

Strengthening supply chains

Diversity is key to a resilient supply chain and DSIS recognises the need to encourage new entrants from other industries into defence and security. All of DASA’s initiatives are designed with supply chain diversity in mind. DISIS recognised DASA’s unique ability to “scout out and fast-track project development,” to find the very best innovations for Defence and Security through our network of 12 regionally based Innovation Partners.

DASA also supports industry and Local Enterprise Partnerships in piloting a network of Regional Defence and Security Clusters (RDSCs). These clusters are enabling industry and government to share ideas as well as promoting collaboration and commercialisation. RDSCs are intended to develop regional industrial capabilities that contribute to UK military capability by creating collaborative pathways for SMEs as a route into the defence supply chain.

The initial RDSC in South West England is already proving successful in fostering collaborative discussions between MOD strategic suppliers and SMEs in the region; with 150 participating member organisations, including 90 SMEs, and over half of these new to defence.

Read the statement in full.

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