News story: Happy Anniversary DASA


War Hero
DASA was launched in conjunction with the Defence Innovation Initiative in Glasgow by MinDP. Having evolved from CDE, DASA was given the remit to find and fund exploitable innovations in order to give government departments any advantage it can to protect the country from its adversaries.

By running competitions and collaborating with industry and academia, we help to rapidly develop innovative solutions to the most pressing national security or defence challenges.

Here are some of our highlights from the past year.

We’ve invested

We’ve assessed over 715 proposals, funded 147 projects and invested £17.3m in innovative ideas that will support our front line services. We’ve launched 8 new competitions this year and are managing a further 7 on behalf of our customers who include The Home Office, Department of Transport, MOD and Dstl.

The majority of proposals and funding goes to UK businesses, but we do accept international applications. Around 75% of funding has been allocated to industry and we believe by investing in grass roots innovation we help to stimulate the UK economy.

We provide access

We pride ourselves in being accessible and easy to work with. This year we’ve delivered 18 Accelerator competition events and held 100+ face to face meetings around the country to support innovation proposals.
Our Innovation Network Events offer potential suppliers the opportunity to hear and talk directly to the customer, technical, security and defence experts as well as the DASA team.

We’ve exhibited, presented and attended at 4 major exhibitions including DSEI, DPTRE, Innovate and UK Security Expo. Our innovation partners have also visited numerous conferences, symposiums and meetings around the country to promote our services.

We’re trying new things

Our offer is growing and we accept proposals from anyone with a good idea, at any level of development with an exploitation pathway.

To facilitate this we’re trying new things and have piloted new approaches to make it quicker and easier for innovators to access our service including the Open Call for Innovation One Page Pitch, short form contracts, multi technology readiness level proposals, hackathons, sandpits and symposiums.

These new trials have proven very popular. For example, we launched the One Page Pitch, where an innovation summary is submitted and assessed within a fortnight, at DSEI in September. In just 10 weeks, we received 199 proposals and 60% were asked to submit a full proposal to the Open Call for Innovation.

We’re agile

One of our key aims is to help innovators bridge the innovation gap and see great ideas become real solutions. Several of our new themed competitions this year offered a new fast track approach.

Our new operating model helped us to respond quickly to the UK terrorist attacks this summer. We scoped and launched our Improving Crowd Resilience competition in just 8 weeks.

We support

We have a network of 750 cross government experts who support our competitions. This year we have recruited and trained over 280 new assessors.

Our core team has doubled and from January our Innovation Partners will be based regionally so that suppliers won’t have to travel far to get support.

We also have an exploitation team which actively look for routes to market to help innovations become a reality.

We’re open to new ideas

We fund the best ideas – with 58% of funding allocated to SMEs and micro organisations. Moreover 40% of those funded have never applied to us before. Our attractive terms and conditions, include:

  • 100% ownership of IP
  • 100% funding (no match funding required)
  • a quick decision process
  • short form contracts
  • access to exploitation routes

We are still evolving.

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