Ministers open the pioneering UK Defence Solutions Centre and announce a £10 million ‘DGP Innovation Challenge’
Business Minister Matthew Hancock and Defence Minister Philip Dunne today opened the Defence Growth Partnership’s (DGP) UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC) at the Cody Technology Park in Farnborough, Hampshire.
As part of the opening Philip Dunne announced a £10m ‘DGP Innovation Challenge’, to be led by the UKDSC. The challenge will enable next-generation solutions and technology to meet 21st Century global defence needs, with the winners announced in September 2015.
The UK Defence Solutions Centre is an industry-first, bringing together the very best minds from across the defence industry to develop world-beating products and services for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and international customers.
Today’s opening marks the launch of a key initiative set out by the DGP Recognising the need for greater cooperation across industry, the DGP identified the UK Defence Solutions Centre as a way to better address the major challenges facing the sector, and develop innovative defence solutions for customers around the globe, including the MoD. The UKDSC will engage the entire defence value chain, from large multinational primes, mid-tier companies, the impressive diversity of small and medium sized companies as well as academia and technologists.
Operating as a ‘hub’, the UKDSC will work to maximise the potential of existing research and development, and manufacturing support. It will bring together experts from leading companies throughout the sector so that they can work collaboratively in a pre-competitive environment to deliver tailored services and products which meet long-term requirements of international customers – enabling the UK to grow its global market share.
Business Minister Matthew Hancock said: “The UK is respected as a world-leader in delivering innovation, high performance and reliability within defence. We are Europe’s largest exporter of defence equipment and services, second only to the US.
“Strengthening global competitiveness is crucial to the UK’s economy; with the defence industry alone contributing £8.2 billion gross value added a year to the UK economy and 87 per cent of companies generating revenue through exports. “This new centre in an important step and shows just how closely Government and industry are working together to secure the long-term future of the sector. The opening of the UK Defence Solutions Centre is an important milestone for the DGP, spearheading a new approach to the way we develop defence capability in the UK. The UKDSC will be the friend of innovation, harness the entire value-chain and act as Britain’s showcase to our international partners and customers.”
The Minister for Defence, Equipment Support and Technology, Philip Dunne MP
“To underline the Government’s commitment to innovation and the entire value-chain I am today announcing the UKDSC will run a £10m ‘DGP Innovation Challenge’, funded by the MOD, which will be 100% compliant with the SBRI. The challenge throws down the gauntlet to innovators the length and breadth of the country to find next-generation solutions and technology to meet 21st Century global defence needs. The opening of the UKDSC today, and some of the work on display from the Growth Opportunities, represents concrete progress and shows the commitment of Government and the defence industry to the DGP. The UKDSC provides Britain with a unique capability for industry to work collaboratively to solve customers’ needs, both now and in the future.”
Steve Wadey, Co-chair of the Defence Growth Partnership
“Today marks the start of a very exciting development for the UK’s defence industry. We’re creating a world-class team who bring with them considerable experience, ingenuity and insight. Together, we will make the UKDSC the place to understand and explore the needs of defence customers, both in the UK and abroad.”
Steve Brittan, CEO of the UK Defence Solutions Centre
The UKDSC is an integral component of the DGP jointly resourced by Government and industry, with BIS providing £5.4 million and industry providing people resource to support the establishment and operation of the Centre up until 2017/18. It will have a permanent central core of staff, with around 25-30 people, operating independently of the partner companies.
As a centre for coordinating strategic planning, the UKDSC will facilitate new ways of working and business models to better meet the challenges of a changing economic environment; and it will provide technology and skills road maps to enable more effective business planning across the industry.
The UKDSC is open to involvement from organisations across a range of sectors. It aims to ‘unlock’ Britain’s wider industrial infrastructure in order to maximise research and development opportunities, manufacturing support, expertise, and capability. Many SMEs are already involved in projects and studies underway.
In order to engage with a broad customer base the Centre will work closely with the UKTI’s Defence and Security Organisation. A dedicated Customer Advisory Group is to invite customers from around the world, as well as the UK MOD, to explore future needs and requirements.
Facilitating closer collaboration with customers, collaboration partners and industry, the UKDSC looks out across a 15-year horizon.