The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), the UK MoD body that finds and funds innovation for the British armed and security forces, published its third annual review on 21 August.
After receiving over three ideas per day in 2019-2020, the unit fast-tracked 245 innovative technologies and invested £42.8 million (€47.5 million) in projects submitted by industry and academia – 55% of all contracts being awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
In reviewing lessons learned from the last 12 months, DASA is setting goals for the future that include taking more risks; identifying and bringing to a rapid halt those ideas that may not progressing; and expanding its business mentoring activities to assist start-ups and SMEs attract new funding and commercialise their ideas. Furthermore, it will work more closely with those who will ultimately benefit from and use the new technology under development. The review highlighted a number of areas already achieving an impact, including autonomous systems, swarm drones and data handling.
“Events over the last 12 months highlight the essential need for novel and innovative approaches if we are to maintain advantage over those who wish to cause harm to our country and our people.
But it is perhaps the effects of the coronavirus pandemic at home that have brought sharp national focus on the critical need for innovation as we respond, recover and rebuild from this crisis to ensure the UK remains a safe and prosperous place to live […] DASA is at the forefront of this vital effort: fast-tracking technology from a diverse range of sources outside of government to unlock new and enhanced capabilities while investing in brilliant and inventive small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our economy,” commented Head of DASA, Anita Friend.
“DASA has a crucial role to play in the future of our defence and national security and has already got off to a [flying start] for the coming year, making major contributions to the national effort against coronavirus and launching a major international collaboration with our United States [ally] for space innovation,” added Andy Caldwell, Interim Head of DASA for the next 12 months.