Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl): Delivering high-impact science and technology for the defence and security of the UK
DSTL protects the UK and our interests at home, at our border, and internationally, in order to address physical and electronic threats from state and non-state sources
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) ensures that innovative science and technology contribute to the defence and security of the UK. It is one of the principal government organisations dedicated to science and technology in the defence and security field. One of the most recent examples when Dstl stepped up to the task was when the novichok attacks in Salisbury brought global threats to its doorstep.
Its analytical chemists worked round the clock to identify the organophosphate nerve agent Novichok that was used to poison the Skriphals. They researched, analysed and carried out testing for over a year, assuming the role of scientific lead in the aftermath of the incident, providing tactical advice to the entire operation. During the year, its chemical weapons experts analysed over 7000 environmental and biomedical samples to correctly identify the agent and carried out decontamination work at 12 sites across the region.
Dstl’s decontamination scientists brought their unparallel knowledge of how chemical weapons spread and how best to clean them up and were instrumental in leading the nation’s effort.
They also tracked the movements of potentially contaminated individuals with the help of traditional policing tools and also identified potentially contaminated vehicles and many of which were ultimately destroyed including eight belonging to the ambulance service and 16 to the police.
Owing to its expertise and facilities Dstl works mainly with Ministry of Defence, particularly in the wider area of UK defence and security. It also works across government- with more than 40 government departments and agencies.
Not just government, Dstl works with partners in industry, academia and internationally, using science and technology to help solve defence and security issues.
They sustain and grow science and technology capabilities that must remain in government, and help develop capabilities that are managed elsewhere, for example, in industry and academia.