Seeking Expressions of Interest to be part of the NEW 3CRDSC Steering Group
A message to 3CRDSC members from Richard Morgan, President 3CRDSC, SDSC-UK and Head of Defence, Security & the Forces Team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys, a Top 60 law firm with 800 staff and 11 regional offices.
What is the 3CRDSC?
"The concept of Regional Defence & Security Clusters (RDSCs) was introduced by HMG’s Integrated Defence Review published in early 2021. The idea is for the creation of regional forums which will bring together defence procurement, academia and industry, under the umbrella of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in which defence challenges and requirements and potential solutions can be discussed.
For me, as founder of the original 3CDS Group, this was manna from heaven. The original concept of the Group when founded in 2014 was to find commercial opportunities for members and consortia of members. Our attempts to raise funding to resource that activity were unsuccessful, so we were restricted to operating a networking group and events such as SDSC-UK (formerly 3CDSE).
RDSCs present the prospect of returning to the original mission and enabling continuous activity rather than one-off events. For HMG there is clearly a wider agenda – including the “levelling up” policy – hence the South West has been used as the pilot region.
RDSCs are not exclusive to defence and security industry
Also what was clear from both the 3CDSE 2021 and 3CDSE 2022 MOD Special Projects Industry days, is that MOD want to look wider than just the defence industry to avoid reinventing the wheel or being behind advances elsewhere – so reaching out to organisations involved in AI, fintech, gaming etc.
So, we have brought together the LEPs covering the 3 counties, MOD and DASA personnel with central oversight of the project, alongside Wolverhampton University – founders of Cyber Quarter on Hereford Enterprise Zone – NMITE, the new Hereford university and also Gloucester University, Cheltenham who host the CYNAM cyber security hub.
We are currently investigating a suitable online collaboration platform or ecosystem to facility the provision of commercial opportunities.
It is clear that there are already a number of such platforms available which are resource-intensive to monitor, and it is not our intention to create yet another.
Our investigations are on-going at the date of writing but we hope to reach a successful conclusion imminently.
3CRDSC is a front runner
Nationally, we are at the fore-front. The South West RDSC, covering all areas from Bristol south and west and centred around Exeter University, are the pilot scheme and already functioning. Their CEO Neil Skelland has been very helpful – the cluster has established a steering group and are resourced in manpower by 2 (Babcock and Plymouth LEP) who provide a staff member each who devote 50% of their time to the project.
Between us and the South West, we have Western Gateway – following the M4 corridor from Swindon to South Wales – and they are near to operational.
To the north is the Midlands RDSC at a similar formative stage to us.
There will be lots of challenges to resolve, such as security measures to protect IP, but all are resolvable. I am delighted that Tony White, CTO at Ultra PCS, a long time friend to 3CDSE, and with extensive experience of supply chain collaboration, has agreed to lead the due diligence on these issues for the 3CRDSC group and to confirm efficacy of systems for industry participants.
Silverstone Technology Park
Via Harrison Clark Rickerbys' (HCRs) new Northampton Office, we also have an exciting possibility to twin in some form with a South East Midlands RDSC, which we are in the process of initiating alongside the Silverstone Technology Park and South East Midlands LEP, both of whom HCR are connected to, and the other LEPs through the OxCam Arch from Oxford to Cambridge.
Additionally we are in discussion with Julian Free CBE, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Lincoln Uni, who has 30 years experience in the military as an artillery brigade commander and within NATO, and liaising with RAF Waddington (AWACS squadron) to create a Lincoln RDSC.
For the 3CRDSC there is a real USP to exploit, mirroring the constituency served by SDSC-UK and it’s focus on innovation serving special forces and the intelligence agencies. Our geography and network should enable us to create a unique version of the RDSC concept.
We see the 3CRDSC group as a natural nucleus for the industry group – it is independent and a not-for-profit entity, and also cost-neutral for members exhibiting at SDSC-UK which has grown into the leading event serving this constituency."
We are looking for expressions of interest in being part of Steering Group – please e-mail Anna Roby-Welford firstname.lastname@example.org to register interest.