DSIT plans new Salford HQ amid sharpened regional focus

Cable cars moving along street at sunset in Manchester, England.
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The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has announced plans to establish its second headquarters in Salford, bringing hundreds of jobs to the region.

The announcement forms part of the government’s Places for Growth programme, a civil service-wide commitment to increase the number of roles outside of London and the South East to 22,000 by 2027.

The department and its Building Digital UK initiative already hosts around 200 staff in the Greater Manchester area, but is committed to doubling this number over the next few years.

"We are taking the long-term decisions to move government roles out of London so more people from our great towns and cities can play a direct role in changing this country for the better," said Cabinet Office minister John Glen.

Greater Manchester is one of the DSIT’s active growth locations, along with Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Darlington, and Edinburgh.

"It is important that the people we serve are placed at the heart of government and that policymakers represent the diversity of our communities," said secretary of state for science, innovation and technology Michelle Donelan.

"That is why the Places for Growth commitment is so vital in helping to ensure that we can grow our economy and deliver on the prime minister’s priorities."

DSIT to draw on Manchester tech excellence

Manchester has a long history in the field of science and technology, the department said, and boasts a wide range of cutting-edge research institutions, world-class universities, and a thriving technology cluster.

Earlier this year, the city was revealed to have retained its title as the fastest-growing tech hub in the north of England, employing more than 60,000 tech workers across more than 1,600 startups and scaleups.

Tech employers include Big Four firms PwC and Deloitte, Lloyds Bank and NatWest, and other major companies such as Moonpig, Siemens, Fujitsu, and Softcat.


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DSIT specifically highlighted some of the technological advancements to have been made in the area, including the first artificial splitting of the atomic nucleus and the discovery of isolated graphene, which sparked numerous innovations in materials science and technology.

"Greater Manchester is steeped in a legacy of technological progress, rooted in the Industrial Revolution and long home to scientific pioneers like Alan Turing and Ernest Rutherford," Donelan said.

"By establishing our second headquarters here, we not only tap into a pool of exceptional talent but also ensure that policymakers responsible for the growth of science and technology live and work alongside a dynamic community of sci-tech leaders."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.