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Funding & business support opportunities for SMEs
and academics in the defence and security sector.


South/Southwest England and South Wales are hubs for the UK’s defence and security industry activity, with 59 of the 111 defence-sector-focused SMEs located in these two regions. Driven by established ecosystems of government agencies like DSTL in Portsmouth, GCHQ in Cheltenham, and large, private sector suppliers like Qinetiq in Farnborough and Thales in Bristol, Southern England and Wales boast an impressive defence armoury.

To support growth in these areas, the Scale Up programme is delivering a package of support to help members find technology solutions, collaborate with university partners, large enterprises and defence and security sector customers, and access funding to accelerate their innovations. Defence and security applications may be relevant to air, land, maritime or space domains, and all current Scale-Up programme sectors offer adjacent market opportunities in defence and security including health, advanced engineering and telecoms. Through bid support provided in the programme, we are here to support you in successfully bidding for these funding calls and competitions with one of our six partner universities, which possess internationally recognised centres of research excellence with established track records of collaborative R&D with innovators in the defence and security sector. Find out more about the research expertise at our partner universities.

If you are looking to bid for grant funding calls in this area, we can support you with the following:

  • help to identify research expertise from our partner universities’ ecosystems to form a collaboration on the bid
  • expertise and experience to help you craft a compelling funding bid – we can review your bid, identify gaps and make suggestions for improvements, essentially acting as a ‘critical friend’.
  • fund a professional bid consultant’s time to strengthen the bid further.

Supported funding calls:

DASA Open Call for Innovation 2023/2024: Cycle 2

DASA is looking for innovative ideas for its open call to improve the defence and security of the UK. Your idea could be a concept, product or service, at various levels of maturity, with a focus on areas of advanced materials, beyond-line-of-sight communications, future-directed energy weapons or countering IEDs through novel technology and techniques.

The competition is divided into three categories: Emerging Innovations (TRL 3/4) for concept-ready innovations, and Defence Rapid Impact (TRL 6/7), and Security Rapid Impact (TRL 6/7) for innovations which will deliver a technology model or prototype demonstration.

Funding for successful projects can range anywhere between £50k and £350k dependent on your product and category.

Applications for funding close on Tuesday 14 June 2023, so please submit your application for support below.

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Application form

If you wish to apply for funding and support for the R&D opportunities shown above complete the form below.

Alternatively, if you are unsure which opportunity is for you still complete the form below and we will get in touch to discuss your proposal and check it’s in scope for the support programme.

Defence and Security Expression of Interest

    You can choose multiple options.
  • If known
  • We suggest that your summary should cover the market opportunity for the proposed project, your/your collaborators’ approach, what outcomes you anticipate, and project finance. But remember to keep it short & succinct. The purpose of the project summary is to help SETsquared evaluate the project for funding support to further develop the project – it’s unlikely that a project would have the full answers to all of these questions at this stage. (please see project summary guidance) If your project is not fully-formed at the moment, we welcome expressions of interest for future campaigns, just indicate this on the form.

Membership of the Scale Up programme is open to any company pending internal review of the expression of interest raised by the company and incurs a one off charge of £150 inc. VAT. Full Membership will be offered to companies who are already part of our network and wish to access the CR&D proposal development support or investment raising support services. Full membership is subject to payment by the member company of a one-off fee and Membership is valid for one year. For the year 2020/21 the Membership Fee is £1,600 inc. VAT or for any eligible company, it can be waived under the Article 3.2(4) exemption of the Subsidy Control chapter of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement ("TCA"), and which requires eligible companies to complete a Statement of Previous Aid declaration.

The Scale-Up Programme is a partnership between:

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