People and Business: Peter and Pete chill out

A PETER and a Pete were trying to look excited and enthusiastic yesterday in the shivering conditions of a refrigerated wind tunnel as the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (Dera) continues to develop its user-friendly public face.

Peter Snow - he of the swingometer - was wearing his Tomorrow's World hat at Farnborough to film sailing hero Pete Goss - he of the Legion d'honneur for rescuing fellow yachtsman Raphael Dinelli, as body-temperature control tests were done on the specially-developed Musto sailing gear that Mr Goss will use on his next adventure.

Dera is in the middle of delicate negotiations to change from being a wholly-owned Ministry of Defence facility into a PPP - a public-private partnership. It was hoped the matter would be resolved by late this year, but signs are it could take rather longer.

The Human Sciences division of Dera is part-sponsoring the research but, as Colin Higenbottam - who said: "I am just a scientist" - explained: "We have a commercial aim to attract more projects from the private sector and there are comparable problems in this to ones we have with the military."

Another attraction is that it has brought Dera into contact again with the Benetton Formula One team, as they are also working with the Musto team.