THE first building for a new multi-million pound state-of-the-art Ministry of Defence innovation centre, which will create 90 jobs, has been completed.

The 'Army BattleLab' will house an engineering workshop and is the first phase of the MOD's project at Dorset Innovation Park, Winfrith. It is a 450 sq m workshop space and Defence personnel will shortly begin using the facility.

A second building comprising 1,100 sq m of office space is on track to be completed later this year and will be used by the UK’s Armed Forces and the wider MOD for the next 15 years.

READ MORE: The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester set to reopen

In its first 10 years, the Defence BattleLab facility aims to create 90 local jobs, add £4 million to the local economy and enable the MOD to work in collaboration with academic institutions, corporates and SMEs.

The project marks a £5.7m collaboration between the MOD, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Dorset Council.

Dorset boasts a particularly strong defence sector and is home to many MOD establishments, such as the Army’s Armoured Trial and Development Unit in Bovington, the Royal Corps of Signals training centre in Blandford and the training area at Lulworth Cove, which is used by all elements of the UK’s Armed Forces.

Brigadier Matt Cansdale, British Army, Head Future Force Development, said: “We are delighted that the Army and Defence BattleLab remains on course for completion this year despite recent turmoil. This reflects a huge amount of excellent collaborative work from all the partners in this project and is indicative of the strong relationships and commitment from the whole team.

"The completion of this workshop is an important steppingstone and will allow us to start using this facility in its intended purpose of engaging with industry in a more collaborative manner."

Cllr Tony Ferrari, Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Assets and Property at Dorset Council, said: “The Defence Battlelab reflects Dorset’s historical links with the Army, forged over many generations, married with our current place at the cutting edge of technology. There are many strands that have come together to make Dorset the right place for the Defence Battlelab, such as Lulworth Ranges and 5G coverage, so it’s exciting to see institutions from different centuries brought together to deliver solutions for today’s armed forces.

"We’re pleased at the progress being made with this project and I personally cannot wait to see the finished facility later in the year.”


t: 01305 830999

e: marie-claire.alfonso

twitter: @MCAlfonsoJourno