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Eight UK universities awarded excellence in cyber security research status

Warwick Ashford

The first eight UK universities have been awarded “Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research” status.

The scheme to recognise Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research is the first in a number of initiatives outlined in Protecting and Promoting the UK in a Digital World, the Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy.

The universities were recognised for their work by the UK intelligence agency GCHQ in partnership with the Research Council’s Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Announcing the award, the three organisations expressed the hope that other UK universities conducting research into the field of cyber security will also qualify.

They said such centres of excellence will benefit the UK by enhancing the cyber knowledge base through original research; providing top quality graduates in the field of cyber security; supporting GCHQ’s cyber defence mission; and driving up the level of innovation.

The universities chosen as Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research

  • University of Bristol
  • Lancaster University
  • Queen's University Belfast
  • University of Southampton
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Oxford
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • University College London

The Centres of Excellence will help make the UK government, business and consumers more resilient to cyber attack by extending knowledge and enhancing skills in cyber security.

The chosen universities will benefit from closer collaboration with GCHQ, the UK cyber community and industry; partnership endorsement in associated publications and prospectuses; better understanding of government and industrial cyber issues; helping to formulate the future cyber security research agenda; and extra funding opportunities and £50,000 capital investment.

Minister for Cyber Security Francis Maude said: "We want to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business, by investing in the best expertise to keep pace with technological change.

"That is why promoting academic excellence is at the heart of the Government's Cyber Security Strategy. These first eight centres will play a vital role in boosting research, expanding our cyber skills base and fostering innovation in the field."

The Academic Centres of Excellence will open for business on 1July 2012 for a period of five years. During this time GCHQ will encourage more universities to develop their capabilities and meet the stringent criteria for recognition.

This initiative is aimed at establishing the UK cyber research community as the pre-eminent environment in which to conduct research and in turn attract the best academics and research students in the UK and from overseas.

The research conducted will support the drive for better cyber protection for the UK government and enable businesses and consumers to benefit from the opportunities offered in cyberspace in safety.


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