A £16 million program to boost Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) defense innovation has been launched by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).
With the innovation of SMEs, the resources of big suppliers and initial funding from government, the Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP) is designed to bring the key components together to allow pioneering projects to flourish.
The aim is to keep the United Kingdom at the forefront of defense technology, improving the capabilities available to Armed Forces, the competitiveness of UK industry and growing potential exports benefits.
Individual grants of up to 50% of a project’s value – to a maximum of £500,000 per grant – will be available through DTEP for collaborative projects between SMEs and larger suppliers, supporting the integration of novel technologies, materials and processes into MoD’s supply chains.
DTEP will be open for proposals year-round, with cycles closing at 3-month intervals for assessment of submissions.
“Innovation within defense is crucial to maintaining competitive advantage for our Armed Forces,” said Defence Minister Jeremy Quin. “The Defence Technology Exploitation Programme is a positive step in how we support SMEs and larger suppliers to work together to improve the resilience and competitiveness of the MoD’s supply chain.”
This launch builds upon the successful BEIS-funded National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) and a pilot of DTEP conducted with Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI).
An example of work supported by this pilot is CCP Gransden, based near Ballygowan, collaborating with Thales and Ulster University on a project to replace the Starstreak surface-to-air missile system’s metallic canister with a composite version – reducing reliance on global supply chains for the over 50 components currently needed.
“DTEP has been designed to help SMEs join defense supply chains and offers SMEs and larger suppliers the opportunity to come together to solve defense problems,” said Head of the Defence and Security Accelerator, Anita Friend. “For an SME, DTEP offers not only funding but also the opportunity to deliver new innovations into the UK defense supply chain and a way to develop and scale up their business. DTEP is also beneficial for larger companies, offering early access to new technologies or processes that they may be able to help commercialize.”
Applications to DTEP can be made by UK-based SMEs looking to form a collaboration with a UK-based higher-tier supplier to help integrate and take the novel solution to market.
DTEP will be delivered by the MoD’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), in partnership with the Innovate UK group, and it is a core commitment in the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy and SME Action Plan.