The Ministry of Defence this week announced £10 million in new funding for research, as well as two new fellowship schemes.
It is hoped that the cash will support a "competition of ideas" that will offer innovative solutions to major defence problems. Universities will have until the end of January to bid for a share of the money.
Sir Roy Anderson, chief scientific adviser at the MoD, said that the competition would give academia and industry an open platform to respond to defence needs.
A pilot scheme for three new Royal Society Postdoctoral Research Fellowships begins next month, aiming to attract "the brightest and best scientists" into defence and security-related research. A similar scheme is planned for engineers in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering.
A pilot for 30 doctoral research studentships will be launched next summer. An additional competition is planned for early 2007 to create a consortium for research into novel materials. Research priorities include biological detection systems, communications, logistics, radar and materials.