Sited at Dorset Innovation Park in Wool, an investment of £1.5 million by Dorset LEP will be matched by £3.1 million from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and £1.1 million from Dorset Council.
Aiming to be operational by spring next year, the centre will provide 1,100m2 new office space and 450m2 new workshop space for MOD innovation, and associated conference and collaboration space. It aims to create 90 new jobs and achieve a direct Gross Value Added (GVA) of £4 million in its first 10 years.
The centre, which will incorporate the Army Battle Lab, will enable the MOD to work in collaboration with academic institutions, corporates and SMEs to develop new products and technologies with the potential to be commercialised.
Dorset 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.
Jim Stewart, chairman of Dorset LEP, which oversees the strategic development of the Enterprise Zone said, “This large-scale investment is a major boost to Dorset’s defence sector. Dorset is renowned for its strengths in innovation and this new MOD workspace will enable these sectors to flourish even further.”
Cllr Gary Suttle, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Economic Growth and Skills, said, “Dorset Council has a long association with the Ministry Of Defence and the armed forces in general, and we hope that this is seen as another development that will give long term confidence to businesses that might be looking to invest in our local economy.”
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