MINISTER for Portsmouth Matthew Hancock will today officially open a new centre for research into unmanned autonomous boats, submarines and other vessels.
The Centre for Maritime Intelligence Systems (CMIS) was announced by the Prime Minister in July and is already up and running.
It brings together academics, scientists, engineers and naval specialists at Portsdown Technology Park and has received support worth £4 million from government, industry and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
Tapping into the unique expertise in Portsmouth, the centre is a testbed for new systems and technology that can be sold to defence and civilian customers around the world.
Mr Hancock said: ‘This centre puts Portsmouth at the forefront of a growing £9 billion-a-year market.
‘Whether it’s for environmental monitoring, gas exploration or clearing underwater mines, there is massive potential for unmanned vessels.
‘Technology developed here can play a big role in Portsmouth’s future. The city has the talent and expertise to lead the world in this area.
‘We chose Portsmouth as the best location for this centre in July and thanks to hard work from government, industry and local leaders we have got it off the ground in double quick time.’
Before the opening the minister spoke at the ‘Shaping the Future of Portsmouth’ conference where he announced that the Ministry of Defence and Portsmouth City Council have now exchanged contracts enabling the transfer of land at Horsea Island and Tipner Firing Range.
This milestone in implementing the Portsmouth City Deal will allow space for 2,370 new homes alongside 58,000 square metres of employment space for the growing marine and advanced manufacturing sectors of the Solent economy. Together, these will create 3,700 permanent jobs.
The City Deal is providing more than £950 million of public and private sector investment in Portsmouth and Southampton, and the minister has been driving forward progress through the Ministerial Taskforce on Portsmouth, which he chairs.
Mr Hancock also confirmed that Portsmouth’s Highbury College will form part of the first national UK Shale College.
The new centres of excellence will train a generation of onshore oil and gas specialists.
The National College for Onshore Oil and Gas will be headquartered in Blackpool and linked to colleges across the country, including Highbury.