New competition opened by Defence and Security Accelerator…

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin launched the Innovation Initiative’s £6m Accelerator Enduring Challenge, seeking to fast-track the innovative ideas which will keep the UK and its Armed Forces safe and secure.

Cutting-edge ideas like the life-saving device being developed by the University of Strathclyde to minimise blood loss in severely injured personnel; and 2iC’s state-of-the-art work on secure data exchange between soldiers, vehicles, and bases and between coalition partners and allies. The MOD’s investment in such innovative solutions demonstrates how the government is ensuring our Armed Forces have the most effective and innovative capability available.

The £6m Enduring Challenge is run by the MOD’s new Defence and Security Accelerator and will fast-track the best ideas by funding their development, matching suppliers with expert Innovation Partners, and boosting supplier access to defence. The competition will run regularly, with up to 12 rounds a year.

Opening the competition in London, Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, said: "The Accelerator Enduring Challenge is another important step in our Innovation Initiative’s aim to transform defence. Backed by a rising defence budget and our £800m Innovation Fund, the Innovation Initiative is transforming Defence’s creative culture. We are challenging academics and businesses of all kinds to innovate, cooperate, and build mutual security and prosperity as the UK develops its ambitious Industrial Strategy to ensure an economy that works for everyone."

The launch event in London brought together researchers, entrepreneurs, innovation centres, small and medium-sized enterprises, the defence industry and international allies to build the collaborative approach which will deliver cutting-edge defence technology.

The Accelerator Enduring Challenge builds on the previous Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) Enduring competition by increasing funding and access to government. £6m will be available for the first year of the Enduring Challenge, which includes a second phase of new funding. The first phase will look at ideas in their early stages, while the second phase will nurture promising projects, as well as offering an alternative route for more advanced ideas and technologies.

Acting Head of the Accelerator, Rob Solly, said: "Through the Enduring Challenge we are hoping to reach out to a wide supply base, which can provide us with innovative ideas that challenge our ways of thinking and operating. We will then work with selected suppliers to support them in their development towards market delivery."

The first competition of the Accelerator Enduring Challenge is now open, with a deadline of 5 April 2017 to submit proposals. The competition will then operate on a regular basis with up to 12 rounds per year.