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Cranfield day for SMEs

A first industry innovation event launched under the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) “SME Searchlight” initiative is running on Friday, May 3 at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire. The aim; to encourage small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to work with Dstl. May 3 will focus on Radio Frequency (RF) systems. Specifically; frequency-agile RF hardware, machine learning applied to modern communications standards (including Internet of Things) and novel manufacturing ways to reduce size, weight, power and/or cost.

The free event includes: industry insight by speakers; how companies can enter the market and work with Dstl; case studies; sample technical challenges and workshops. Staff from across Dstl departments over the day will offer technical and commercial guidance. Places are restricted to one person per company. To register visit: http://www.teamdefence.info/event.php?event=1000630.

SME Searchlight aims to engage with non-traditional defence suppliers and SMEs to meet the needs of a £40 million to £45m increase in research, in line with the Government’s intent to increase external spending with SMEs. Companies get increased funding and access to research and technology.

Over the next 12 months, events, workshops and consultations run by Dstl will run with Aerospace and Defence Suppliers (ADS), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Team Defence Information and TechUK, to bring companies together from across industry sectors. An ambitious target of 60pc of suppliers who may never have worked with Defence before has been set to attend each of these events, with the aim of bringing these new companies into Dstl’s supply chain.

The increase in demand for new research opportunities extends across Dstl, with a number of priority areas identified; RF, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and wargaming.

Rob Solly, Division Head for Defence and Security Analysis from Dstl, said: “SMEs possess tremendous ideas and innovation. Dstl has funds available to invest in cutting-edge research, and the commercial and technological clout to accelerate these ideas. Importantly, SMEs retain the Intellectual Property rights to any innovation in most cases, boosting their long-term prosperity as well as that of the UK.”

Separately, Dstl is also a sponsor of Venturefest on 29 March at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. That brings together regional tech people such as start-ups to pitch for investment, and match entrepreneurs with the right organisations. For more visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/dstl-reveals-venturefest-line-up-for-small-and-medium-enterprises or email searchlight@dstl.gov.uk.


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