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WAY AHEAD FOR DEFENCE DIVERSIFICATION ANNOUNCED

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Plans to harness British defence technology to strengthen the whole ...
Plans to harness British defence technology to strengthen the whole

of UK industry have been announced by defence secretary George

Robertson.

A blueprint for a new Defence Diversification Agency is set out in

the White Paper 'Defence Diversification: getting the most out of

defence technology.' It builds on proposals put forward in a Green

Paper, published in March.

A director-designate, Joe Carr, has been appointed to get the new

Agency into operation by the beginning of next year.

George Robertson said:

'I am determined to derive maximum benefit from our substantial

investment in advanced technology for defence use - by getting that

technology working for the wider economy. We want to use our

world-beating defence skills to strengthen the UK's industrial base

and help improve our economic performance.

'I am very grateful for the comments we received from organisations

and individuals following the publication of the Green Paper earlier

this year. There were over 80 responses, covering a broad

cross-section of opinion, and the White Paper draws on the ideas put

forward.

'The original concept of a Defence Diversification Agency lodged

within the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency remains. Its job

will be to work closely with existing business support organisations

to provide assistance and advice to companies in exploiting defence

technology for civil use. We have, however, decided to build on this

concept by creating an overseeing body made up of representatives

from industry, the trades unions, and central and local government.

This body, to be known as the Defence Diversification Council, will

be well placed to offer strategic guidance to the Agency, and advice

to me.

'Joe Carr has been appointed director-designate of the Defence

Diversification Agency. He is currently working at DERA on secondment

from TI Group plc and has a solid background in industry and

experience of working in government at various levels. His task will

be to get the new Agency up and running by the beginning of next

year.'

THE WHITE PAPER - KEY POINTS

The Defence Diversification Agency will have an operational budget of

some£2m a year, found from within the defence budget.

It will provide a point of entry for those organisations that have

little experience of working with DERA so that they can receive

advice and gain information on available technology, thereby

facilitating access to DERA laboratories, stimulating transfer of

MOD's Intellectual Property Rights and encouraging partnerships for

co-development programmes.

The agency is one of the key elements of a series of complementary

initiatives at DERA designed to create greater benefit from the

nation's investment in research and development. These include

establishing six dual use technology centres and encouraging the

development of science parks at a number of sites. DERA has already

made significant contributions to the success of a number of

non-defence companies in a wide range of areas from pharmaceuticals

to racing car design.

The Defence Diversification Agency will link its efforts with other

existing Government and European initiatives. Small and medium-sized

enterprises (SMEs) already have access to a number of sources of

business support and the DDA is keen to avoid wasteful duplication or

unnecessary confusion by establishing yet another independent

business support agency. The DDA will build on the experience that

DERA has gained by working closely with the emerging regional

development agencies, government offices, Business Links and other

business support organisations to ensure that its activities are

complementary to those which are already well established.

- see LGCnet 09/11/98 `COUNCILS WELCOME ESTABLISHMENT OF A DEFENCE

DIVERSIFICATION AGENCY'

- LGCnet subscribers can request a copy of the White Paper on 0171 833 7324/5.

DEFENCE DIVERSIFICATION AGENCY TO BENEFIT SCOTLAND

The creation of a new Defence Diversification Agency will strengthen

Scottish companies by allowing them to exploit defence technology for civil use, Scottish business & industry minister Lord Macdonald said.

Commenting on the launch of the Defence Diversification White Paper Lord Macdonald said:

'The establishment of the Defence Diversification Agency will be good for business in Scotland and allow companies to exploit defence technology for civil use. I am also pleased that the sgency plans to open an office at the Rosyth Europarc and that its staff will work closely with local business support agencies to ensure that its activities are complementary to those which are already well established.

'In Scotland we have many world class companies working at the leading edge of the defence business. They operate in a very competitive global market and are important contributors to the knowledge economy.

'The new agency will enable such companies to find new ways to apply their technologies so that they can find new markets for different applications. It is already happening - I know that Marconi Electronic Systems in Fife, having built up expertise in simulators for the armed

forces, is now beginning to successfully apply that technology to simulators for power stations and trains.

'The new agency will also help companies who want to find out more about defence technologies and give them support in applying these technologies to their operations. It is right that the money spent on defence research and development should, where possible, find its way back into the commercial sphere so that as many people as possible may benefit from the investment.

'I look forward to seeing this initiative flourishing here in Scotland with firms tapping into technology in a new and exciting way.'

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