The Defence and Security Accelerator has used International Women’s Day to announce its new head, Dr Lucy Mason.

Joining from the Home Office where she most recently led the science and technology, she will be responsible for building strong relationships between defence and security departments within the UK Government, industry, academia and other partners.

Launched in December 2016, the Accelerator fast-tracks innovative, game-changing ideas by funding their development and connecting suppliers to end users at an early stage of development.

By matching them with expert Innovation partners and guiding them through the process, we help turn their ideas into marketable products and defence and security capabilities.

Backed by a rising defence budget and the £800m Innovation Fund, the Accelerator is a key conduit for transforming Defence’s creative culture as part of the Defence Innovation Initiative.

This investment helps deliver future battle-winning technologies, keeps our Armed Forces safe in challenging environments and creates prosperity.

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Lucy has expertise in security and policing and her main interests are in technology and innovation, digital ethics and identity, social and behavioural science, and horizon scanning.

Since joining the civil service in 2009 she has held roles in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Government Office for Science, Cabinet Office, Department for Health, and the Home Office.

The Accelerator will also work with security departments from across government to strengthen the national security of our nation.

Rob Solly, interim head of the Accelerator, said: “Lucy’s passion for innovation and strong leadership skills will be vital in taking the Accelerator through to full operating capability; ensuring innovative ideas can be taken forward for the benefit of our Armed Forces and the security of the UK.

“Her expertise in horizon scanning and security technology and her knowledge of digital ethics and identity, social and behavioural science, make her a perfect candidate for this role.”

Over the last two months, the Accelerator has launched two routes to funding: Themed Challenges and the Enduring Challenge, and is developing new collaboration mechanisms to be launched later this year.

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The first Innovation Fund challenge was launched in February to revolutionise the human-information relationship for Defence.

The Enduring Challenge, launched in January, casts the net wider to provide a route into defence and security for any supplier who thinks they have an idea that can benefit UK Defence and Security, at home or abroad.

Lucy was Home Office lead on the Internet of Things (IoT) and a Board member for the PETRAS IoT Research Hub, and was formerly Deputy Head of Foresight in the Government Office for Science.

Prior to joining the civil service she was Risk and Business Continuity Manager for Thames Valley Police and staff officer to the Chief Constable.

Lucy has a doctorate in Archaeological Science from Oxford University.