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2021 Q2 Defence Webinar

  Innovation and Disruption in Defence 

  Defence BattleLab Update 


14:00 - 15:30 BST

Thursday 20 May 2021
 Virtual Event, taking place on Zoom  

This second episode in our series of webinars on the Defence BattleLab (formerly the Defence Innovation Centre) will provide an update to industry on the progress of the project and outline how those Defence users invested in this project are planning to utilise the facility.

Following on from the first session in December, this session will include briefings from the Royal Navy, British Army and DSTL on key areas of collaboration and focus as they seek to test and develop their approach to using the facility. In addition Dorset Council, a key partner in this project, will expand upon its wider plans for both the Dorset Innovation Park, and also how they will support and work with the project going forward. Following the updates there will be a Q&A session with the speakers.

In partnership with :

RN_LogoArmy Innovation logo-1

DSTL   Dorset council logo COLOUR (PNG)


Brigadier John Read Royal Marines, Deputy Director Maritime Capability, Royal Navy

John Read

Brigadier John Read is Deputy Director Maritime Capability in the Navy Command Headquarters (NCHQ), responsible for delivering future capability by turning ideas and concepts into tangible projects and programmes, acting as an architect for future force design.

John joined the Royal Marines in 1994, where his early operational experience consisted of Northern Ireland Peace Support, Mozambique flood relief, West African Peace Support, and warfighting in Iraq.

On promotion to Major, John joined the Land and Littoral Manoeuvre (LLM) Capability Delivery Team in NCHQ, gained a Defence Masters Degree with Distinction, and then joined CAP Air & Littoral Manoeuvre in MOD Main Building’s Equipment Directorate.

As a Lieutenant Colonel John was the Royal Marines Branch Manager, undertaking strategic manpower planning and overseeing post SDSR10 manpower drawdowns, followed by the Littoral Manoeuvre desk officer in Navy Resources and Plans, transitioning to Finance and Military Capability Navy Policy and Maritime Strategic Force Development lead desk. He then moved back to NCHQ as Chief Of Staff LLM Capability Delivery Team, before becoming the Maritime Capability Conceptual and Strategic Force Development lead.

Promotion to Colonel as DACOS Resources followed, responsible for financial planning and management, including balance of investment, stepping up to ACOS Resources & Plans shortly thereafter. This led to a short stint as Deputy Director Portfolio, to build and establish the new Navy Portfolio Office, prior to assignment as Deputy Director Maritime Capability.


Brigadier Matt Cansdale MBE, Head of Future Force Development, British Army

Brig Matt Cansdale MBEBrigadier Matt Cansdale commissioned into The Parachute Regiment in 1998. His time at Regimental Duty in 2 and 3 PARA was interspersed with operational commitments, deploying to Northern Ireland in 1998 and 2004, Sierra Leone in 2002, to Iraq for the invasion in 2003, and four times to Afghanistan in 2002, 2008, 2010/11 and 2014/15. He was Mentioned in Despatches following command of A Company 3 PARA in Southern Afghanistan in 2008 and made an MBE following command of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Helmand Province in 2010/11. He served as Commanding Officer 3 PARA 2015-16.

At Staff, he served in the Defence Equipment and Support organization and as SO2 Leadership at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he was responsible for writing the British Army’s first leadership doctrine. Following Command, he served as Military Assistant to Commander Field Army. After service as Assistant Head Equipment Plans and a brief stint in Ground Manoeuvre he moved, in 2020, to be Head Future Force Development.  


Dr Matthew Brookes, Defence BattleLab lead, Dstl

Bio_photDr Matthew Brookes is a Technical Fellow the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Defence.  He is attached to the Energetics Analysis Group, part of Dstl’s Counter-Terrorism and Security (CTS) Division, and is the Independent Technical Assurer for two Dstl Programmes: Security Systems and Future Sensing and Situational Awareness.  Matt is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Chartered Chemist, and deployed to Afghanistan twice as the UK Scientific Adviser.  Matt is the CTS Innovation Lead and Dstl lead for the Defence BattleLab.


John Sellgren, Executive Director of Place, Dorset Council

John Sellgren official photo

John Sellgren is Executive Director of Place for Dorset Council where he has responsibility for a diverse range of customer facing services. His portfolio includes planning, highways, waste, regulatory services, assets and property as well as the council’s library, registration and bereavement services. Prior to this he was Chief Executive at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council.


This is a private event for members of our community. Membership is free and takes less than 5 minutes. As a member, you will have access to this and other complimentary events. Learn more.

This event is open to everyone in the MOD; and to members who are C-level, VPs, Directors, Heads and the drivers of live projects in other organisations.

Register to Attend