CDE - Centre for Defence Enterprise

Predicting future needs and the technology needed to achieve those needs







24/06/2014 - Proposals must be submitted by 1700 on 24/06/2014


Dstl's Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) proves the value of novel, high-risk, high-potential-benefit research sourced from the broadest possible range of science and technology providers, including academia and small companies, to enable development of cost-effective capability advantage for UK Armed Forces and national security.


CDE's enduring challenge competition (previously known as the Open Call is continually open to all highly innovative ideas that challenge existing conventions and have a high potential benefit for the military end user. The enduring challenge competition particularly seeks innovative, proof-of-concept research proposals in the areas of:


 •  protection (personnel, platforms, facilities, digital systems, materials)
 •  situational awareness (sensors, precision navigation and timing, reduced GPS dependability, 

     persistent surveillance, status of digital systems)
 •  power (provision/sources, non-fossil, hybrid, management, fuel efficiency)
 •  communications (secure, unsecure, mobile, novel forms)
 •  data (cyber, information, big data, management and processing, sense-making, visualisation, 

     delivery, interoperability)
 •  lethality (weapons – conventional, novel, directed energy, defence, less-than-lethal)
 •  mobility (platforms [air, land, sea, space, human], means of propulsion)
 •  human performance (physical and mental, systems interface, survivability, sustainment, 

     training, medical)
 •  lower cost of ownership (platforms, equipment, facilities) 
 •  new capabilities (challenging current convention, disruptive).


The enduring challenge competition runs on a monthly cycle.  For your proposal to be considered in that month, your proposal must be submitted via CDE’s online Portal before 17:00 hrs on the closing date.

For further information contact:




PRESS RELEASE 15 October 2013


Innovation Networks Launched by Dstl’s Centre for Defence Enterprise


New Innovation Networks are being launched by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's (Dstl) Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) offering greater support to industry and academia.


The CDE has, over the past few years, offered a range of activities and events to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and academia. It is now pulling all of these engagement activities into a new-style event, where more information will be provided on themed and open competitions, teams from Dstl will be on hand to discuss potential proposals, and projects previously funded by CDE will be showcased.


The first Innovation Network, to be held on 27 November 2013, features a cyber-defence themed competition. This will be followed by a similar event on 3 December 2013 featuring two themed competitions on computational materials science and engineering, and the protection of military platforms.


CDE intends to hold ten Innovation Network events per year to help create, support and sustain a network of innovators and people from the defence industry and supporting organisations, to not only bring innovative new ideas into defence, but also allow new relationships to develop that help exploit and commercialise the best ideas and technologies. Each event could result in up to £1m of successful proposals being funded.



Phillip Dunne, Secretary of State for Defence


Philip Dunne - Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology



Andy Nicholson, Dstl's new Head of CDE and Supplier Engagement says: "CDE offers real opportunities for science and technology providers, in particular SMEs, to get a foot in the door to working in the defence sector. I'd encourage innovators to come along to one of our events to find out what we're looking for, how to apply for funding, network with others and even find collaborative partners."


“CDE also plays a crucial role in ensuring SMEs have direct access to MOD contracts. We saw first-hand the results of CDE’s work and the valuable impact this can have.”


The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne recently chaired a forum at the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) which sought to support small and medium-sized enterprises to win more business in the defence sector. Mr Dunne said: “CDE shows how MOD works closely with companies, including SMEs, to provide innovative equipment and support for our Armed Forces.

Since CDE was established in 2008, it has received more than 4,700 research proposals, with around 750 selected for funding, resulting in a total contract value of £44 million. Almost a half (45%) of all CDE contracts go to SMEs, with 30% going to large companies and 25% being awarded to innovators within academia.


To find out more, a video about CDE can also be viewed at:   





A webinar will be held on 7 November 2013. 


Registration is via the website: under  "Events and Calls."


For more information contact the Dstl press office on 01980 658666, 07901 892660,





ONE THAT GOT AWAY - Frank Whittle secured backing for his jet engine ideas with Royal Air force Force approval in 1935. Power Jets Ltd was formed in July 1936 to begin tests that proved inconclusive. Whittle lacked the necessary finances until after protracted negotiations with the Air Ministry after WWII had begun in 1940. A bit late, and uncle Adolf may have thought twice about invasion plans if we ruled the skies with super-fast jets, but there we are. Thank heavens we had radar. By April 1941 the engine was ready for tests. A first flight was made on 15 May 1941.  By October the United States had heard of the project and asked for the details and an engine. A Power Jets team and the engine were flown to Washington for General Electric to examine and begin construction. The Americans worked quickly. Their XP-59A Airacomet was airborne in October 1942, before the British Meteor, which became operational in 1944, too late to help in the war effort. Had the MOD leapt on the idea when it was first presented, it could have shortened the war considerably, in addition to increasing UK revenues from the patent that never was.  The jet engine proved a winner in America where the technology was enthusiastically embraced. Whittle was knighted in 1948 and went to work in the US shortly afterwards, becoming a research professor at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. The lesson to be learned here is that innovation germinates in response to the world around us - and we must keep up with current trends or give ideas away for lack of support. Patent law determines that financial backing is needed in the first Eureka year, or becomes lost.




The CDE is the entry point for new science and technology providers to defence, bringing together innovation and investment for the defence market, ensuring that our front-line forces have the best battle-winning technologies for the future.

The CDE funds research into novel, high-risk, high-potential-benefit innovations. CDE works with the broadest possible range of science and technology providers and often provides an entry point for those new to defence. CDE aims to remove barriers for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to enter the defence supply chain. More than two thirds of CDE contracts go to small and medium-sized enterprises and innovators within academia, providing a vital mechanism for defence to access their fresh thinking and capabilities.

CDE offers two routes to funding: the continuous defence open call and a series of themed calls for proposals, which address particular defence and security challenges, identified from within the current Defence Science and Technology Programme.

CDE was opened in May 2008 and has received more than 3,000 proposals with research contracts awarded to date worth a total of over £23.5 million. Around 15 percent of all proposals received have been funded.



PlanetSolar, the largest solar boat in the world


Swiss world record breaking solar boat, idea first proposed by British inventor in 1994/5 and repeatedly brought to the attention of the MOD - another one that got away.




The Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) is the first point of contact for anyone with a disruptive technology, new process or innovation that has a potential defence application. CDE funds research into novel high-risk, high-potential-benefit innovations sourced from the broadest possible range of science and technology providers, including academia and small companies, to enable development of cost-effective capability advantage for UK Armed Forces.

CDE is the entry point for new science and technology providers to defence, bringing together innovation and investment for the defence and security markets.

CDE is aligned with the Government’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) managed by the Technology Strategy Board.

All CDE research proposals must be submitted online via the portal. You are also welcome to come and talk to us at CDE before submitting a proposal. The CDE team at Harwell is available to talk to you about your innovative idea or you can book a one-to-one surgery appointment via the events page. Once your proposal is submitted you can track its progress online.

CDE welcomes research proposals via two different routes:

Open call - an enduring call for any innovative research ideas that have a potential defence and security application.
Themed call – a specific call for innovative research ideas to meet particular challenges.
Find out more about the proposal process.

CDE provides:

* understanding of defence background and military issues
* visibility of MOD requirements and challenges
* access to full, proof-of-concept funding for successful research proposals
* support and coaching to maximise the impact of research outputs
* access to MOD specialists and established defence suppliers
* increased opportunities for proven innovations to be developed further.

CDE Portal

Please see the attached Quick Start Guide or log in below

The online submission process through ‘The Portal’ has been designed to enable you to draw out and highlight the aspects of your innovation that our assessors will be looking for. We are using structured web forms that will help us understand:

* What your innovation does
* How your innovation could contribute to defence
* How your innovation might be taken through to market
* You can also add attachments containing diagrams or more detail, but the information you provide through the 

   web forms should highlight the key aspects of your innovation and is the primary basis for proposal assessments.

Within your portal account you will construct your proposal using web forms. When you ‘publish’ your work for review by yourself or others in your Enterprise a pdf document will be produced. To edit this document you must return to the web form page.

Publish’ is not the same as ‘Submit’.

Only when your proposal has been submitted through the Portal (again as automatically generated pdf documents) can your proposal be seen by the assessors. The web forms and pdf documents produced before submission will not be viewed - we regard this work as private to you and your Enterprise.

There are four parts to the web form accessed through top-level tabs. Please complete all parts of the proposal document:

Military - How your idea might contribute to defence. You do not have to complete this part, but we encourage you to include your thoughts or ideas.

Innovation - This is your idea; what it does, and how it fits into wider defence - through connections, integration or dependencies. It also allows you to summarise the intellectual property involved in your innovation and highlight benefits to stakeholders.

Supply - What you require to realise your idea; including access to the technical capabilities needed to produce and test your innovation and who you may need to work with. In this section you are also invited to tell us how your delivery approach may be better, cheaper or faster than others.

Commercial - Detail the resources (funding) required by your proposal, identify the preferred funding and contracts, proposal deliverables and, if appropriate, propose stage payments.

The eventual output from the portal is an automatically generated pdf which can be reviewed and ultimately submitted for assessment.

We have recently updated ‘The Portal’ and detailed guidance, examples and handbooks are available for downloads below and also within the portal itself.

Account Manual – how to establish and operate an account on the portal covering both single user and multi user accounts.

User Manual – a short guide for individual users to manage their contact details and passwords.

Technology Application Reference Manual – how to prepare an unsolicited or open proposal, respond to specific opportunities and manage contracts through the Portal.

Technology Application Guidelines.

ITT Manual – how an invitation to tender (ITT) or call for proposals can be created and managed in the Portal.






GOVERNMENT UK DSTL defence science and technology laboratory


Science MOD UK Enterprise


Wiki United_Kingdom_Hydrographic_Office

US Department of Navy Research, development & Acquisition -

US Fleet Forces Command -










The Bluefish™ platform in a modified form is suitable for adaptation to a robotic battleship. The Wolverine ZCC in its ultimate form may carry 4 x Tomahawks, 30 x SAMs, 2 x 12.75" and 2 x 21" torpedoes + an ROV or minisub. Not bad for a 50 ton battleship that needs no crew and runs on clean energy from nature. A zoned network of these ships can police international waters, attack and sink enemy aircraft carriers and submarines in formation and shoot down aircraft that present a potential threat to national security. Alongside the proposed patrol vessel is a higher powered combat version with 176kW total energy harvesting equipment for sprint speeds in excess of 20 knots.



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