14 Dec 2017

Defence and Security Accelerator celebrates one year anniversary

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has this week celebrated its first anniversary; the culmination of a year’s worth of defence innovation.

The Accelerator was initially launched in December 2016 as part of the Defence Innovation Initiative with a mandate for finding and funding exploitable innovations – those technologies with potential enough to give the UK government a competitive edge.

In the months since, DASA has led competitions and collaborated with industry and academia alike in the hopes of discovering innovative solutions to the nation’s most pressing defence and security problems.

Eight such competitions have taken place over the past 12 months, with the Accelerator managing a further seven on behalf of The Home Office, Department of Transport, Ministry of Defence, and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

To date, 715 proposals have been assessed, with 147 ideas green-lit and £17.3M of government funding allocated. The vast majority of this funding has gone to UK businesses, though DASA is quick to point out that international applicants are also welcome. What’s more, 58% of the funding has been allocated to SMEs and micro-businesses, while 40% of successful applicants have never applied to DASA before.

Crucially, the Accelerator accepts proposals from anyone with a good idea, irrespective of the stage of development. And, to hasten the decision making process, the organisation is piloting new approaches to make things quicker and easier for applicants. The Open Call for Innovation One Page Pitch, for example, allows an innovation summary to be submitted and assessed within a two week timeframe. Since its September 2017 launch, 199 one page pitches have been received with 60% invited to submit a fuller proposal.

It’s been a busy year for DASA then. The fledgling organisation has attended, exhibited and presented at four major exhibitions – DSEI, DPRTE, Innovate and UK Security Expo – and held more than 100 face-to-face meetings across the country in support of innovation.

These are important first steps, and though the Accelerator continues to evolve and change, innovation in defence and security has never looked more accessible.

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