Dyson to double UK workforce to 7,000 with mega robot R&D campus
James Dyson briefing workers yesterday. Image: Dyson

Dyson to double UK workforce to 7,000 with mega robot R&D campus

1 Mar 2017

A new Dyson campus will function as a global hub for R&D into robots, batteries and AI.

Robot and vacuum cleaning giant Dyson is building a second R&D campus in the Cotswolds, near its global headquarters in Malmesbury.

The campus, located on former Ministry of Defence land at Hullavington, Wiltshire, will increase Dyson’s footprint in the UK by a factor of 10.

‘After 25 years of UK growth, and continuing expansion globally, we are fast outgrowing our Malmesbury campus’

The new campus will enable Dyson to continue creating more high-skilled jobs in the UK, while boosting exports.

The company has more than tripled its UK headcount in the past five years and currently employs 3,500 people there, half of which are engineers and scientists.

Dyson buying into robotics

Dyson is also the UK’s largest investor in robotics and the company is realising ambitious plans to develop new technologies such as solid state battery cells, vision systems, machine learning and AI.

It has 40 live technology projects with UK universities including Imperial College London, Cambridge, Warwick and Newcastle.

“After 25 years of UK growth, and continuing expansion globally, we are fast outgrowing our Malmesbury campus,” said James Dyson.

“The 517-acre Hullavington campus is an investment for our future, creating a global hub for our research and development endeavours. It will enable us to continue creating world-class products and jobs right here in the Cotswolds.”

The company has already committed £250m to its existing 56-acre Malmesbury headquarters, which will also become home to the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology from September of this year, to offer aspiring engineers a relevant alternative to a traditional university degree.

Site preparations for phase one of the Hullavington campus begin next week and restoration of the World War Two hangars will start in May, for occupation from the end of the year.

Dyson is also investing £2.5bn in future technologies and currently spends £7m a week in R&D.

This announcement follows the opening of the company’s new Technology Centre in Singapore two weeks ago. Located in the heart of the country’s start-up community, next to the National University of Singapore, Dyson engineering teams will aim to develop new technologies and tools for tomorrow’s connected home.

The new R&D campus in the Cotswolds will be the tip of the spear in Dyson’s efforts to rejuvenate the UK’s engineering culture.

James Dyson is also investing £15m over the next five years to tackle the dearth of skilled engineers in the UK. An acute skills shortage means that the UK will need an extra 640,000 engineers by 2020 – limiting Dyson’s recruitment potential.

The programme will combine academic learning with hands-on experience alongside Dyson’s engineering team on the Malmesbury campus.

The students will graduate having earned a salary throughout, and with the prospect of earning a full graduate wage on completion of the four-year programme.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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