The Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP) pilot aims to increase defence sector’s contribution to economic growth in the UK by driving productivity and innovation.

The programme is supported by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which published The Defence Industrial Policy Refresh in 2017.

The policy set the following objectives for the defence sector in the UK:

  • Make it easier for innovators, small and medium-sized enterprises and non-traditional defence suppliers to do business in the sector
  • Improve the wider economic and international value of the sector, helping deliver national security objectives
  • Help UK industry to be internationally competitive, innovative and secure

Applying for a project

DTEP was launched on 12 June 2019. This funding application process is currently open and we will accept applications up to 20 December 2019.

For more information about DTEP complete the enquiry form or contact your client executive.

About DTEP

DTEP is based on the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) model.

The programme will help small and medium-sized suppliers develop innovative technologies and increase their ability to win new business with prime aerospace companies across the world.

To qualify for grant funding of up to 50% of £300,000 total project expenditure companies must be Invest Northern Ireland client companies and must collaborate on a research and development project with at least one or more partner. They must also work with a sponsoring UK based Tier 1 or defence prime company as part of the project.

Important programme information

  • The partners can be other companies, catapults or academic partners, but must be based in Northern Ireland
  • Invest Northern Ireland will work with local companies and primes to help build relationships
  • The sponsoring Tier 1 Company or Prime will freely contribute their time, effort and resources to work with the SMEs as they undertake their collaborative research and development project (estimated value of 15% of the grant value).
  • Fundamental research is not suitable, but a wide range of Technology Readiness Levels (usually TRL4-7) may be considered if a clear outcome is defined in the application.
  • DTEP funding is provided under Invest Northern Ireland’s Grant for R&D scheme which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.

Assessment criteria

An assessment panel will evaluate all applications in September 2019.

Applications will be scored against the following criteria:

  • Must include an Invest Northern Ireland client company, partner and sponsoring prime company
  • Demonstrate how the project technologies provide alignment with MoD objectives, the MoD Science and Technology Strategy 2017 or show how the proposed project helps address the strategic research objectives of the sponsoring Tier 1 defence company or prime
  • Benefit the competitiveness and capability of the consortium partners
  • Show clear benefit technically and in creating or safeguarding jobs
  • Have a clear exploitation path, typically through a prime or tier 1 supplier
  • Aim to use newly developed technology or processes in current or future product or manufacturing process, with potential wider exploitation possibilities to enhance the advanced manufacturing sector

Key funding dates

  • Deadline for applications - 20 December 2019


We will make sure collaboration and intellectual property issues are agreed by all project partners before project funding is awarded and we will monitor and review project progress through quarterly meetings.

For more information about DTEP complete the enquiry form or contact your client executive.

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