New Defence External Innovation Advisory Panel meets

World class innovators including astronaut Tim Peake and former McLaren Chairman Ron Dennis gathered at the MOD for the first meeting of the new Defence External Innovation Advisory Panel.

Announced by the Defence Secretary in Oxford in February, the Panel will be charged with driving forward the MOD’s Innovation Initiative, which aims to encourage imagination, ingenuity and entrepreneurship, in pursuit of maintaining a military advantage in the future. The first session introduced the panel to key aspects of the MOD’s work: from operations and research to partnerships with business and support for jobs and the economy.

The panel members are:

  • Former Chairman of McLaren Technology Group, Ron Dennis CBE (co-Chair)
  • Former CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, Sir Andrew Witty (co-Chair)
  • Army Air Corps officer and European Space Agency astronaut, Major Tim Peake CMG,
  • Former Director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan CMG, and
  • Chief Executive of Innovate UK Dr Ruth McKernan CBE.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: “Our £800M Innovation Initiative will help our Armed Forces maintain their edge into the future, where ever-evolving technologies present new challenges and opportunities. That’s why we have committed to spending 1.2% of our £36Bn growing defence budget on science and technology.

“The Innovation Panel will help meet the complex challenges of the 21st Century, while delivering the high-wage, high-skills jobs of the future; and it’s particularly fitting that we welcome astronaut Major Tim Peake as I announce the UK’s leading role in cutting-edge satellite research.

The Panel will drive the MOD’s partnerships with the UK’s most-influential and forward-looking innovators and ensure the Department is driving the right change at the necessary pace to meet its goals for the future. This might involve advising on individual projects, promoting dialogue with industry, or reviewing the MOD’s Innovation strategy.

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