Record spending with Small and Medium Enterprises this year will be highlighted by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead when he speaks at Venturefest South in March…

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has already committed to spend £41 million in 2019/20 on research directly with SMEs, up from £38 million last year. Dstl places around 26% of its outsourced research with SMEs and the aspiration is to continue to increase this percentage.

At Venturefest, Dstl will be exhibiting some of its work with industry, such as a scale model of theMaritime Autonomous Surface Testbed boat. Initially conceived by an SME, this pioneering vessel is being developed for the Royal Navy and increases protection and information by detecting threats and operating beyond the visual line of sight.

There will also be a Dstl talk on the innovative development of synthetic biology for the sustainable manufacture of products, such as medicines, materials, foodstuffs and fine chemicals, to meet the present and future needs of society.

Dstl and Defence and Security Accelerator representatives will be available to discuss collaboration and funding opportunities and Dstl’s Searchlight initiative to attract non-traditional suppliers to work with the defence community.

Gary Aitkenhead commented: “This will be my first visit to Venturefest and I am looking forward to discussing how Dstl can work even more closely with SMEs and businesses in the region.”

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