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UK MOD Front Line Commands set to benefit from new decision support capability that replaces former Niteworks service


The Aurora Engineering Partnership is pleased to confirm the introduction of a collaborative and agile new service to drive innovation and address complex defence challenges for the UK MOD.

Features lab

Working in partnership with the DE&S Future Capability Group (FCG), this latest contract amendment will result in the former Niteworks service being replaced with new capabilities and expertise as part of the Engineering Delivery Partner (EDP) programme.

The new service will be delivered under the name Futures Lab, powered by EDP, with the Aurora Engineering Partnership working in collaboration with FCG to maximise innovation and exploitation of new technologies and capabilities on the front line. This move puts the Aurora Engineering Partnership at the forefront of some of the MOD’s most important and innovative projects and programmes.

Originally established by the Ministry of Defence, Niteworks aimed to provide a commercially neutral environment for addressing complex defence challenges through a partnership between MOD, industry and academia. The new service will maintain the critical, successful elements of Niteworks, whilst harnessing the successfully established EDP approach to provide tangible support, insight and substantial benefits for Front Line Commands early in the acquisition cycle, all for a lower cost.

Futures Lab will bring together EDP’s existing network of small and medium enterprise providers, but will be strengthened with the addition more technology and research based organisations. The news service will include Aurora domain-based leaders who will be working alongside FCG, into the Front Line Commands, to develop the tasks and to lead on the exploitation and knowledge management of the insights gained.

The Head of FCG, James Gavin, said, “we are looking forward to Futures Lab delivering direct benefit for the Front-Line Command customers, but also the value to Industry stakeholders in that it will help the MOD focus its capability investment more productively and more rapidly towards exploitable capabilities.”

“As we have with EDP, we will now be progressively expanding and developing our capabilities and approached to fulfil the unique support requirements of the UK’s Front Line Commands,” says Simon Galt, Managing Director of the Aurora Engineering Partnership. “Significantly, this will take full advantage of our dedicated procurement processes and exemplary approach for exchanging ideas, reducing frictional bidding costs and providing Micro and SME companies a platform to deliver their critical thinking into DE&S and the Front Line Commands. Such a responsive service model, supported by our highly effective Provider Network, is crucial for the effective identification, assessment and deployment of emerging technologies and capabilities. It will also help to reduce risk while delivering advantages in performance, cost and time in the procurement cycle.”

The EDP programme was established in 2018 as a £2.5Bn 10-year contract for engineering services to complement the outstanding engineering capability of the in-house engineering workforce. Dr Jonathan Cook, Head of the DE&S Engineering Function says “EDP is now the default route to market for our contracted engineering services and is a great example of an effective public-private sector partnership. It is already delivering significant financial savings, minimising delays and acting as a catalyst for innovation. Providing capacity and capability across all engineering service areas, this programme is also simplifying and increasing the engagement of smaller and specialist enterprises within and beyond the traditional defence sector supply chain”.