What is the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL)?

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), headquartered at Porton Down in Salisbury, provides solutions to the problems of UK defence and security by delivering high-impact science and technology.

DSTL is an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), operated along commercial lines. It is one of the principal government organisations dedicated to science and technology in the defence and security fields.

What is the Role of DSTL?

The role  of DSTL is two-fold:

  1. Delivering science and technology for defence and security:
    1. Maximising impact and value from the science and technology portfolios.
    2. Supplying specialist science and technology services which must be done in government.
    3. Providing expert and impartial advice, analysis and assurance.
    4. Integrating science and technology delivered by industry, academia, wider government and its allies.
  2. Stewardship of defence and security science and technology capabilities:
    1. Ensuring the required capabilities are available now and in the future, in line with the science and technology strategy.
    2. Bringing together the right people, relationships, infrastructure, knowledge and licences to practice.
    3. Maximising the effectiveness and efficiency of science and technology infrastructure and assets.
    4. Working with industry, academia, wider government and its allies to access and build capability.

What are the Priorities of DSTL?

DSTL helps the MOD to implement the recommendations of the National Security Strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, in particular to:

  1. Identify and monitor national security risks and opportunities;
  2. Protect the UK and interests at home, at the border and internationally, in order to address physical and electronic threats from state and non-state sources.

Who does the DSTL Work With?

DSTL mainly works with the MOD but, because of their expertise and facilities (particularly in the wider area of UK defence and security), they work across government for more than 40 government departments and agencies.

They also work with partners in industry, academia and allies, using science and technology to help to solve defence and security issues.


Doing Business with Defence Handbook. Edition 24 (2018).


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