18 Jan 2023
by Ellie Rice

Innovation for a safer future (Guest blog by Defence and Security Accelerator)

Guest blog by Ellie Rice, Security Lead at the Defence and Security Accelerator #NatSec2023

As we start a new year, it is clear that innovation in national security remains of the utmost importance. National security threats continue to evolve and there is a need for continuous innovation in order to achieve strategic advantage over our adversaries.

The complexity, diversity and uncertainty of the national security challenge requires us to harness the very best multi-disciplinary expertise from both within and outside of government. Science and technology innovation in national security is both an opportunity and a vulnerability. It enables the UK to stay safe and prosper, but adversaries and competitors can similarly harness it. So it’s important to not just realise the opportunities but do so at the pace of relevance.

These factors were key in establishing the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) in 2016. DASA acts as an enabler and facilitator to leverage innovation from outside government at pace.

DASA finds and funds national security innovations through our Security Rapid Impact Innovations Open Call and Themed Competitions, on behalf of government security stakeholders to meet a wide variety of needs and tackle national security challenges.

However, to do this we recognise that a broad approach to innovation is vital to find the best ideas. Innovation by its very nature requires diversity of thought, so it is only by accessing a wide range of innovators – including those that have never worked with government, defence or security before –that those working in national security for government can find the best solutions and gain access to new ideas.

Enhancing the range of participants in the national security ecosystem is key to DASA’s mission and we understand that diversity and inclusion is a capability multiplier for innovation. We need to draw upon the talents of the widest pool of individuals as possible to help keep the UK secure.

We understand that non-traditional suppliers, i.e. those who have no experience of working in national security, can face challenges when engaging with government. If we want the best ideas, support is needed to help level the playing field for these suppliers. This is where DASA’s outreach and post-contract services come in – to support non-traditional suppliers commercialise their ideas, become national security supply-chain ready and gain access to funding.

DASA-funded innovations are already having real-world impact within national security. Recently, one of our funded projects delivered results for a security stakeholder by helping them make better use of their data, even during the R&D phase; expediting potential safeguarding measures that could be implemented months ahead of their normal processes.

As we look forward into 2023, DASA’s focus remains on innovation for national security. We know there is a need to supplement government innovation with the untapped potential in industry and academia to protect everyday lives. DASA has the ability to harness a diversity of ideas and support innovators to grow and flourish to ensure they are ready to supply to national security and ultimately, help keep the UK safe.

Contact us to find out how we can help you find national security innovation or access funding for your national security idea: [email protected]

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Ellie Rice

Ellie Rice

Security Lead , Defence and Security Accelerator