26 Nov 2012 - By
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Brand new defence event off to flying start

Bristol recently played host to the first ever Defence Procurement Research & Technology (DPRT) event, signalling the birth of an exciting new UK defence platform which provided unprecedented opportunity for all involved in this multibillion-pound sector.

DPRT 2012 recognises the vital role that new technologies play in ensuring the UK continues to build the kind of defence and security capabilities outlined within the White Paper National Security Through Technology: Technology, Equipment, and Support for UK Defence and Security, as well as the MOD’s Ten-Year Equipment Plan.

The inaugural event took place at UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre on 21 November, building on a series of successful defence events held over previous years by organisers BiP Solutions.

The MOD is British industry’s single largest customer with an annual procurement spend of around £14 billion. DPRT 2012 was designed to provide the defence buyer and supplier communities with the chance to interact and communicate across a single platform in order to enhance effective collaboration and competition in all areas of defence procurement and technology research activity.

With key input from UKTI DSO, DPRT 2012 event helped delegates identify new business growth opportunities within the UK and overseas defence and security markets.UKfirms enjoy a reputation for providing quality products and services overseas, and the European and global defence markets undoubtedly offer major opportunities toUKfirms. Indeed, the defence sector is one of theUK’s largest export markets. Internationally, the defence sector is one of the few sectors relatively unaffected by reductions in government spending, with significant growth forecast for the future.

DPRT 2012 provided a spotlight on the important role that research and technology development plays in strengthening the UK’s defence and security capacity.

The event was supported by some of the industry’s most important organisations and trade bodies. One such partner is Dstl, the key focus for science and technology within the MOD, who, among others, assisted in hosting a series of innovative workshops to facilitate knowledge transfer and deliver R&D expertise. Facilitated through three dedicated training zones, the seminar schedule was extensive and catered for a range of training needs from across the public sector buyer community and private sector supply base.

The keynote conference arena played host to some of the leading authorities on defence procurement and R&D, while the workshops, training seminars and live demonstrations of new and innovative technology were delivered via the showcase exhibition. DPRT 2012 welcomed leading organisations spanning the entire defence community, including defence agencies, central government, academic institutions, MOD project teams, European partners, prime contractors and 1st and 2nd tier sub-contractors.

Keynote speakers from across defence included Mike Greatwich, Director Commercial Chief of Staff, DE&S; Rachel Baguley, Head of Materiel Strategy Engagement Team, DE&S; David McLauglan, Assistant Head Commercial, Defence Infrastructure Organisation; Jono Byrne, Head of Centre for Defence Enterprise; Mike Maiden, Chairman, Northern Defence Industries Ltd (NDI); and Richard Luetchford, Deputy Head of Defence Intellectual Property Rights Team, DE&S.

Grahame Steed, Managing Editor of the MOD Defence Contracts Bulletin (MOD DCB) said of the event: “DPRT has clearly struck a chord with the defence community, pulling together many of the strands that make this sector not just one of huge importance, but also one where innovation and imagination are essential assets.

“The defence sector is not just critical for the protection of the UK’s interests; it is also vital for industry, both in terms of supporting the UK’s requirements and those of our customers overseas.”