Ministry of Defence’s Science and Technology Initiative

The Defence Science and Technology Portfolio is a series of programmes and standalone projects designed to meet the Ministry of Defence (MOD)’s capability needs and to ensure the UK armed forces remain at the cutting edge of technology.

To deliver on the scale and ambition set out by the MOD’s Chief Scientific Adviser will require a whole-of-UK effort as well as collaboration and cooperation from international allies.

Sustaining strategic advantage through science and technology (S&T) is the first objective of the UK’s combined security, defence, development and foreign policy.

Over the next 4 years, the MOD will invest at least £6.6 billion in research and development (R&D) and this Science and Technology Portfolio will ensure defence sustains operational advantage, can make the right decisions, and generate prosperity for the UK.

Predominantly, the following programmes and projects will be delivered by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), but partners in industry and academia will be crucial to delivery with significant funding available and opportunities to collaborate.

The portfolio has been designed by Defence Science and Technology in partnership with our stakeholders to ensure MOD’s science and technology activities:

  • address defence’s capability priorities
  • enable a decisive UK technological edge
  • allow defence to understand the future
  • sustain sovereign and critical capabilities
  • balance challenge-driven research with exploratory research

Chemical Biological and Radiological (CBR) Defence


Outpacing chemical, biological, radiologicial and nuclear (CBRN) adversaries and threats through cutting-edge science to provide operational advantage for UK defence and security.

Technical challenges

The technical challenges of this programme are to:

  • understand: a sovereign capability to assess, understand and anticipate risks for CBR defence, security and resilience
  • prevent: actions to engage and constrain adversaries are driven by scientific evidence and analysis; effects are delivered with cutting edge capabilities
  • protect and recover: capability development is underpinned by scientific evidence and analysis; cutting edge capabilities are assured and evaluated


Delivery of this programme requires:

  • CBR diagnostics and medical countermeasures
  • CBR sensing
  • CBR situational awareness
  • CBR counter-proliferation
  • CB analysis and attribution
  • CBR operational response
  • radiation protection
  • CBR hazard assessment
  • CBR hazard management
  • CBR physical protection

Benefits to UK defence and security

This programme will:

  • deliver science and technology to achieve operational advantage
  • achieve evidenced and effective decision making using science and technology
  • achieve strategic influence and enhanced science and technology delivery through collaboration

Commercial routes

You can also engage with us via the UK Industry’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Special Interest Group (CBRN-UK)

Point of contact

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