UK and US technology collaboration will be built around defence say ministers

First formal agreement

The UK and US defence ministers have committed to enhancing the two countries' science and technology collaboration.

They have also agreed to develop joint programmes of research and to "strengthen engagement between industry and academia".

In the first formal science agreement between UK defence minister Philip Dunne and US defence under secretary Frank Kendall, the UK and US have agreed collaboration on cyber security; space research, knowledge and capabilities; and energy use and consumption.

The two countries have also agreed to build upon existing high-profile science and technology projects, including next generation aircraft, counter terrorism, force protection, and chemical and biological defence.

The US and UK are already each others' largest international research partners.

Defence minister Dunne said: "There is no doubt that science and technology will matter even more in the future than it has in the past. Technological innovation is vital if we are to protect our battle winning edge - which is why the UK has protected annual investment in science and technology at a minimum of 1.2 percent of the defence budget.

"This enhanced collaboration will ensure that our work is smarter and delivers more effectively for both nations."

The enhanced relationship is underpinned by three strategic priorities, said the UK Minstry of Defence, namely, maintain capability advantage and interoperability, improve mutual financial benefits through burden sharing, and support economic growth through innovation.

Work is being progressed by the chief scientific advisers for both nations, and they will retain oversight of the enhanced programme, the MoD said.

Professor Vernon Gibson, the UK's defence chief scientific adviser, said: "We are two of the greatest scientific nations and our defence and security scientists and laboratories have developed strong bonds from so many years working successfully together.

"Through close cooperation with my opposite number, Al Shaffer, we will ensure the effective and efficient co-ordination of world-class facilities. I am looking forward to getting started, building on our existing programme of collaborations, whilst accelerating development of new joint programmes in priority areas for defence now and in the future."

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