The University of Edinburgh has joined the government’s network of academic centres, which specialise in developing the latest cyber security techniques and contribute to the UK’s knowledge in this field.
The government is increasing its focus on cyber defence in response to the growing threat of hostile cyber action against the UK, as dictated by the National Cyber Security Strategy, published last November.
In order to qualify as a centre of excellence, Universities have to demonstrate a commitment to cyber security research, and “sustained funding” for future work from a variety of sources.
They are also expected to have a critical mass of academic staff engaged in cutting-edge cyber security research, and a track record of publishing high-impact research in leading academic journals and conferences,
Cabinet Office Minister Ben Gummer said that the research at the centres, worth £1.9 billion, would help the country develop the skills necessary to tackle the growing cyber threat.
He said: “This government is determined to make the UK the safest place in the world to live, work and do business online.
“That is why we need truly ground-breaking research to stay one step ahead of the growing threat of cyber attacks. I am pleased to announce that the University of Edinburgh as the latest academic institution to contribute their expertise to this vital field, joining 13 other universities from around the country.
“By engaging with business, industry and academia, we will ensure that we develop the skills and research we need to tackle this growing threat to the UK.”
The Cabinet Office revealed that more than 20 institutions applied to join the network, 14 of which were successful.
The University of Edinburgh is the first Scottish institution to be granted the title.
Professor David Aspinall, of the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, said:
“Cyber security and privacy is now an essential aspect of modern life which impacts the technology we see and use, as well as the behind-the-scenes technology we rely on that supports the physical and virtual infrastructures.
“Our recognition as a centre of excellence will bring fresh impetus to our research, to help make the digital world safer for everyone.”
Other additions include the university of Warwick, and the universities of Birmingham, Cambridge, Lancaster, Newcastle, Southampton, Oxford, and Queen’s University Belfast, which had their statuses renewed.
Chris Ensor, deputy director for cyber security skills and growth at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said it was “fantastic” to see leading universities trailblazing the UK’s cyber security research, and to see Scotland represented for the first time.
He said: “At the NCSC, we are absolutely committed to maintaining and improving our already strong reputation as a global leader in cutting-edge research, and look forward to collaborating with these establishments to make the UK the safest place to live and work online.
“These universities conduct world-class cyber security research and this initiative will improve the way academics, government and business work together – benefitting the whole country.”