A series of talks and discussions were then held, from delivering prosperity and innovation to the UK Value Chain, to talks on the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory‘s (Dstl) developing relationship with SMEs.
As part of the visit, the Minister also had a chance to highlight Dstl’s Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) series of Small Business Research Initiative-themed competitions as part of the ‘£10m Defence Growth Partnership Innovation Challenge’ funded by the MOD.
The aim of the challenges, which are being supported by the centre in Farnborough, is to encourage the development of innovative Defence products for use by MOD and for export in support of UK prosperity.
So far, the challenges have been on the topics of ‘agile immersive mission training’, ‘persistent surveillance from the air’, and ‘autonomy and big data for defence’. These Centre for Defence Enterprise competitions have received almost 200 proposals from across industry and academia, with nearly 50 contracts awarded so far to the value of £4m.
Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said:
“I am really pleased to bring the MOD’s SME Forum here to Farnborough today, and to meet several Small and Medium Enterprises, who are already contributing so much to the Defence industry.
“Through the Defence Growth Partnership Innovation Challenge, the MOD is committed to harnessing and growing the incredible creativity in our Defence supply chain, ensuring we are making the most of Great British skills for both our Armed Forces and our export customers around the world.”