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MoD offers £6 million lure for data projects



Machine learning, sensors and operator cognitive capacity provide focus for three challenges

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has put out a call for small businesses to come up with new ways of using data in decision-making, with the lure of millions of pounds in investment to support the successful projects.

It has announced three challenges and said companies can submit ideas in a bid to win funding under the Small Business Research Initiative. Those successful in the first round will receive shares of £3 million – up to £150,000 each –  then go on to compete in a second phase for a further £3 million.

One of three challenges is to develop new solutions for defence in the rapid and automated integration of sensors. The MoD is making increasing use of the technology and collecting a large volume of complex data that is wants to exploit more fully.

The others are to free up personnel through the use of machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence for military advantage, and the effective use of operator cognitive capacity, particularly by human-machine teaming. The latter involves the integration of intelligent machines with human operators and is considered to have a significant potential in cyber defence.

The competition will also involve projects being split between fast and standard track approaches, giving smaller companies and low maturity solutions a chance to develop. The deadline for proposals is 21 March.

The MoD has previously run competitions for technology solutions under the Defence Growth Partnership Innovation Challenge. Early last year this led to a contract with Massive Analytic for the development of a big data defence platform.

Image from MoD under Open Government Licence v1.0

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