A new government 'spy centre' to bring together innovative ways of helping national security is to be built in Milton Keynes.
The proposed site is being kept secret, but it is on farmland and adjacent to an existing secure facility in MK.
This week a competition has been launched to find an architect-led team to design and deliver the new facility, which is described as a "co-creation space" where high-tech engineering businesses, academics and government security bodies can work together on new cutting-edge technologies.
The project is being organised through the National Security Technology and Innovation Exchange (NSTIx). This is a government-led science, technology and innovation partnership that enables "coherent and agile" delivery of innovative national security outcomes and to meet the UK's national security needs.
Its role is also to respond to rapid changes in threats and opportunities
The new centre will officially be known as an Operational Technology Co-Creation Space and will help provide innovative solutions in support of a broad range of UK Government National Security partners.
A spokesman said: "The site will become a public facing gateway and benefit from access to existing government engineering expertise and facilities in the local area.
"Operational Technology (OT) is critical to delivering the National Security mission. It provides a unique capability through which HMG seek to 'keep the UK safe'. In practical terms OT requires the application of cutting-edge technology from various specialisms. These include, inter alia, advanced manufacturing, power sources, low-power/high bandwidth radio communications, digital identity management and edge device analytics. "
There will be engineering workspaces, meeting rooms, seminar areas, hot desk zones, a café, and support facilities will all be required.
To be eligible to work on the project, every design team member will be required to participate in the national security vetting process and obtain a clearance level of security check responding to urgent or emerging threats to national security.
Gary Clark, HOK and RIBA Architect Adviser for the competition, said: “This Operational Technology co-creation space competition is an exciting opportunity for an architect led design team to create an inspirational science building and interior that becomes an exemplar for whole life net zero carbon sustainability. This project will become a critical piece of our national infrastructure for science innovation, and therefore its importance will be assured in the decades to come.”
The competition is only open to individuals with a UK passport currently living in the UK due to the security clearance required.
It is "essential" that the building is completed by 2024, says the government.