Ploughshare has 15 years of experience in putting government intellectual property into the hands of users

Ploughshare was established to take on the increasing commercialisation activities being conducted by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). In 2005 Dstl recognised that a wholly-owned, but separate company, would be better suited to engage with industry to negotiate license deals and create spin-out companies – and so Ploughshare was born.

We set out with the aim of unlocking the potential of Dstl-owned discoveries to deliver additional impact from Dstl’s research in Science & Technology (S&T). In 2017 an even larger pool of innovations became available to us following an agreement with the Ministry of Defence (MOD). This extended our access to innovations from all MOD departments, including the Front-Line Commands, Strategic Command, and the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

We are an integral part of the UK government’s technology ecosystem, and ensure government science delivers real prosperity to the economy, our society, people’s lives, and the environment.

By connecting inventors and investors, we have helped accelerate to market products that change the day to day lives of individuals, nations and the whole world.

timeline pil old logo 400x200

April 2005

From small beginnings

Ploughshare Innovations is established to provide a commercialisation route for technologies developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

January 2005

First spin-out company

P2i is the first company to be spun out. The business is based on technology that creates a hydrophobic coating originally developed to protect soldiers from chemical agents.

The back side of the smartphone with water drops on a black background with water drops. Protect your smartphone from water.
Tower Bridge panorama during sunset

January 2015

January 2015 Economic Benefits Exceed £65M

An independent report identified that Ploughshare’s activities have contributed £65m GVA (Gross Value Add) to the UK economy. Additionally, 550 jobs and £44m of exports have been created.

Female medical staff worker wearing protective equipment takes sample from nose of a patient to antigen test for coronavirus.

May 2015

Support to the Sierra Leone Ebola Outbreak

Dstl worked closely with industry partner and licensee BBI Detection to provide Public Health England (PHE) with 10,000 test kits to support medics in Sierra Leone during the Ebola Outbreak.


January 2015

Galileo Adopts Improved SatNav Signals

An improved design for satellite navigation signals was licensed to the European Commission and will be employed in the Galileo system.

1200px MinistryOfDefence.svg

July 2017

IP Portfolio Expanded

The Ministry of Defence’s Intellectual Property Rights group (DIPR) signed an agreement with us to expand Ploughshare’s role to provide technology transfer services to wider MOD.

July 2017

Economic Benefits Exceed £118m

An independent report identified that Ploughshare’s activities have contributed £118m GVA (Gross Value Add) to the UK economy. Additionally, 585 jobs and £75m of exports have been created.

Earth at night, city lights showing human activity in Europe from space. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.
timeline psp 400x200

April 2018

Relocation to Porton Science Park

Ploughshare moved to the newly built science park as lead tenants. Being just outside Dstl, it places us much closer to our main source of innovations and allows us to forge links with the other high-tech businesses on site.

April 2020

Hetti Barkworth-Nanton becomes CEO

Hetti joined Ploughshare from Vodafone where she led the transformation of the UK Enterprise Business. Hetti has spent the last 25 years in financial, transformation and commercial leadership roles across major blue chip organisations, often working with leading-edge technologies.


Stay connected

Keeping you informed about industry activity, latest
technology and UK Innovation. Subscribe to our insights.​