The science and technology arm of the Ministry of Defence is to open a base in Newcastle. 

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is looking to harness the region’s artificial intelligence and data science capability by creating a new unit based at the National Innovation Centre for Data. 

Around 15 new staff will be recruited to work at the unit, which is due to open in late 2021. 

The NICD seeks to address the shortage of data analytics skills in the UK and helps companies and organisations to exploit data.  

The government says Dstl will be able to access NICD’s ecosystem of non-traditional small and medium-sized enterprise suppliers to help solve defence and security data challenges. 

The NICD is supported by Newcastle University which, along with other regional universities, offers a diverse pool supply of suitably qualified potential staff. 

“Our £6.6 billion investment into research and development will supercharge science and innovation to lead the way in developing cutting-edge technologies,” said Defence Minister Jeremy Quin. 

I am delighted that Dstl are expanding their pioneering work in the north east of England which will benefit from a range of new skills sets, knowledge and expertise. 

The establishment of the team in Newcastle will provide Dstl with greater resilience, capacity and diversity in artificial intelligence and data science, which is a critical area for the UK and in increasing demand.  

The move demonstrates Dstl’s commitment to supporting the levelling up agenda and increase collaboration with universities and non-traditional SME suppliers. 

Paul Kealey, the Dstl Division Head responsible for the new team, commented: “This is a really exciting opportunity to leverage innovation, create jobs and business opportunities, and contribute to the government’s ‘levelling up’ ambitions.  

It will support the UK to achieve its vision as a great science power by tapping into the diverse pool of regional talent and highly skilled businesses.