Case study

Enabling the MOD to access innovative research

Frazer-Nash is at the cutting edge of novel and emergent technologies, and working with the Ministry of Defence’s Science and Technology Laboratories is a key part of our work.

Managing £300 million novel research portfolio for defence

Frazer-Nash is at the cutting edge of novel and emergent technologies, and working with the Ministry of Defence’s Science and Technology Laboratories (Dstl) is a key part of our work.

We provide technological, analytical and scientific support to Dstl to help address future and current concepts and operational needs and challenges across all the Defence domains: land, sea, air, joint and space.

In 2019, we were awarded the framework management of one of the six major streams of research for Dstl’s Serapis framework; a research programme which focuses on novel areas of C4ISR technology research. Research areas span space systems, synthetic environments, and simulation technology to support human capability development. Over six years, the programme sets out to spend up to £300 million to address key research needs for defence. 

Frazer-Nash is the Lot 6 Prime delivering the “Understand” element of the framework along with our partners Roke Manor, Digital Catapult and University of Birmingham.

Delivering Research differently; a truly collaborative approach

The Ministry of Defence strives to learn from and leverage the best innovative thinking in order to create operational advantage and resilience. Access to non traditional defence suppliers has always been a challenge due to commercial, technical and security constraints.

Frazer-Nash has always held close relationships with Academia and Industry across a diverse mix of markets. Recognising the MOD’s need for diverse expertise, especially in this fast paced area of technology development, Frazer-Nash set up a strong and diverse supply chain managed through a bespoke portal that creates a full, open and honest competition structure. It also enables MOD to reach non-traditional Defence research companies that previously it would have struggled to access.

This allows dstl to get access to specialist expertise and research from: 61 suppliers, 36 SMEs, 10 Non-traditional defence suppliers, 9 Academic institutions.

Enabling a swift route to communicate opportunities and enable contracting with the supply chain

Managing a large supply chain often creates significant challenges and takes up valuable resource and time. Managing the on-boarding of suppliers and communication to ensure the correct information had been obtained is a time consuming process. To achieve an efficient supply chain management system, we implemented a dedicated procurement portal which enables suppliers to on-board themselves by submitting information electronically into the portal. It also enables us to notify the entire supply chain of all oportunities coming through Lot 6 allowing suppliers to self select at EOI.

This system has proven its ability to support swift disemmination of opportunities, selection of suppliers and contracting to support very fast timescales, as required in response to the Government’s need for support to the COVID-19 pandemic task force.

I am delighted with how the Serapis Framework is maturing As the Technical Lead I am particularly pleased at how Frazer-Nash has proactively engaged with Dstl; in particular, seeking to build relationships with the project managers who will be putting work through Serapis. Furthermore, I welcome the efforts being made to build up the supply chain which will give Dstl the ability to work with traditional and non-traditional suppliers and exploit innovation. This is going to be a long term partnership which has got off to an excellent start due to the commitment of all parties including Frazer-Nash.

James Prain, Technical Advisor to Serapis Lot 6, Dstl

One of the greatest challenges that Dstl faces is handling fast-ball high-priority research tasks from its customers across UK government departments, particularly when the skills that are needed to deliver such research outcomes are already stretched within Dstl. This situation occurred when the UK government tasked Dstl to assist in some urgent modelling of how Covid-19 outbreaks occur throughout the UK using publically available data, and all of Dstl’s Data Scientists were already committed to other tasks. It is a testament to the SERAPIS framework and Frazer-Nash's lot leadership that this high-priority task was put on contract quickly and seamlessly so that fast-ball research requirements can be handled as a collaboration between industry, academia and Dstl.”

Martyn Fletcher – Dstl, Principle Scientist

Discover more