In 2019, working alongside Blaenau Gwent Council, the Welsh Assembly and the University of South Wales, Thales has established a new National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) in Blaenau Gwent. The £20 million site will be used for digital and cyber security training and research facilities, providing lab space for, SMEs and microbusinesses to test and develop digital concepts.
The National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) will be the first research and development facility of its kind in Wales, and will provide the perfect setting for SMEs and microbusinesses to test and develop their digital concepts.
The University will run an Advanced Cyber Institute at the Centre that will provide a base for major, multi million pound, academic research, and will also operate a Digital Education Centre that will enable SMEs, schools and individuals with the skills they need to protect themselves online.
As well as providing a vital facility for Welsh SMEs and academic research, the NDEC will also root technology giant Thales firmly in the South Wales valleys. The centre will be managed by a small team, some of whom have already been recruited from the local community.
Both the Welsh Government and Thales have committed £10m each to the project which is expected to generate significant income. All elements, apart from the educational aspects of the centre, are expected to be fully self-sufficient within five years.
In addition to NDEC, Thales employs 60 people in Aberporth, where the site specialises in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including the Watchkeeper surveillance UAV programme. The facility has received £10 million of investment from Thales in the UK since 2002 and is located in the largest area of segregated airspace for UAV operations in Europe.
1,100Jobs supported by Thales in Wales
2019The year the £20m NDEC was opened in Ebbw Vale
£50mThales’s impact on GDP in Wales during 2017
Thales provides significant support and funding to universities and research institutions across Wales. In 2017 Thales signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of South Wales (USW), setting out a framework for collaboration on education, research and training pursuits in order to develop the latest technology solutions.
The partnership has seen Thales combine its expertise and pedigree in high-tech ICT, cybersecurity, digital secured solutions, analytics, sensors and design-driven innovation; alongside the USW’s capabilities to identify new collaborative programmes within cybersecurity.
USW students have benefited from site visits; guest lectures; PhD studentships; placements and internships; student projects and apprenticeships. Thales also worked closely with the University and Welsh Government to set up the National Digital Exploitation Centre in Wales. Opened in 2019, the £20m centre will act as a catalyst for digital and cyber educational training and research facilities in Wales.
Professor Lydon, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of South Wales, said: “This agreement is the next milestone as we grow our relationship, creating value for our economy, our students, and the world of industry.”
ResilientWorks is the next stage of development in the Welsh Tech Valleys programme – to create a living laboratory campus for cyber trust at the former steelworks site in Ebbw Vale. Our work here is cutting-edge, including innovation in electric vehicle positioning, charging systems, and battery management, as well as exploring the resilience of AI systems.
ResilientWorks sits alongside the National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) to create the Thales Ebbw Vale Campus. Building on the successful NDEC model, it is again a partnership between industry, academia and Welsh Government, to be delivered in collaboration with Cardiff University and EyzOn Energy.
By 2024, the aim is for ResilientWorks to have doubled Thales’s presence in Ebbw Vale –– benefitting the smaller companies of the South Wales cyber cluster, bringing in new work and investment from outside the country, and giving Wales a distinct identity in the international technology markets.
Find out more about NDEC
The National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC), is a digital hub in Ebbw Vale, co-developed by the Welsh Government, the University of South Wales and Thales.
The centre exists as a cornerstone of Thales’s cyber capabilities within the UK and aims to support the Welsh government’s programme of digital investment and transformation. It does this by providing support, training and project space to large organisations, SMEs and individuals, research and development opportunities, and by helping to win work-share within Wales.
The first research and development facility of its kind in Wales provides the perfect setting for SMEs and microbusinesses to test and develop their digital concepts while big multinationals can benefit from use of the research lab to develop major technology advances and exploit the global opportunities of digital transformation.
The NDEC has already secured work for Wales from Innovate UK and the UK Government, and is working with companies from Europe and overseas, including GE Steam Power and TT Electronics, as well as Welsh companies such as Protecht and Awen Collective.