Newcastle hub to boost military AI

Dstl opens north-east base

Tyne Bridge at night    Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/PA Images

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has become the latest part of government to announce the creation of a new regional base, with plans to set up a Newcastle outpost.

Dstl said the move would expand its artificial intelligence and data science capabilities and see a unit based at the National Innovation Centre for Data, which will allow it to tap into the centre’s network of small- and medium-sized enterprises “to help solve defence and security data challenges”.

The arm’s-length research body, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, said it was recruiting around 15 new staff to work at the unit, which it expected would open towards the end of this year.

Paul Kealey, who is Dstl’s head of cyber information systems and divisional head responsible for the new team, said the Newcastle unit would help the organisation to access new talent. 

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“This is a really exciting opportunity to leverage innovation, create jobs and business opportunities, and contribute to the government’s ‘levelling up’ ambitions,” he said. “It will support the UK to achieve its vision as a great science power by tapping in to the diverse pool of regional talent and highly skilled businesses.”

The National Innovation Centre for Data is hosted by Newcastle University and based at the Catalyst in the city.

Last month chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed that Darlington had been chosen as the location for HM Treasury’s new northern base as part of plans to relocate 22,000 civil service jobs away from London by the end of this decade. Sunak also used the Budget to confirm that Leeds would be home to the new UK Infrastructure Bank.

York, meanwhile, has secured an increase in the number of Cabinet Office staff who will be based in the city.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove last month confirmed Glasgow would host his department’s second headquarters, while the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will boost its presence in East Kilbride.


Sam Trendall

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