UK opens new innovation hub to accelerate growth as part of Defence Growth Partnership

Andrew Elwell

The Defence Solutions Centre, a product of the UK’s Defence Growth Partnership (DGP), was officially opened today in Farnborough. The new centre has been designed to bring together the leading authorities and the "best minds" from across the defence industry to develop innovative and cutting edge products and services for the Ministry of Defence and international customers. The UK DSC will act as an important hub for collaboration on research, design and technology in the defence market. It’s been created to maintain the UK’s global market share in defence and help accelerate its innovation and manufacturing base.

Speaking at the centre’s launch, DE&S minister Philip Dunne also announced the DGP Innovation Challenge, which is a scheme designed to find next-generation solutions and technology to meet future requirements. The winners will be announced in September 2015.

The Defence Growth Partnership was unveiled at the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow. The DGP is a partnership between industry and government that seeks to ensure the UK continues to develop a thriving defence sector capable of delivering security, growth and prosperity.

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 Minister for Defence, Equipment Support and Technology, Philip Dunne MP said: "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 UK DSC will be the friend of innovation, harness the entire value-chain and act as Britain’s showcase to our international partners and customers.

"To underline the Government’s commitment to innovation and the entire value-chain I am today announcing the UK DSC 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.’

Steve Wadey, Co-chair of the Defence Growth Partnership said: "The opening of the UK DSC 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 UK DSC provides Britain with a unique capability for industry to work collaboratively to solve customers’ needs, both now and in the future."

Steve Brittan, CEO of the UK Defence Solutions Centre said: "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 UK DSC the place to understand and explore the needs of defence customers, both in the UK and abroad."