A cyber security research centre focused on biometrics is to be launched at the University of Southampton.
It will be one of eight UK universities awarded government funding for cyber security research.
Government has prioritised cyber security, which covers bank and border security as well as security for IT systems that run critical national infrastructure.
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Southampton will use part of the funding to extend its study of biometrics, which identifies people using various characteristics.
While fingerprint, face and iris recognition tools are already in use, researchers at Southampton University are analysing the way people walk and the shape of their ears as ways to identify them.
These characteristics, they claim, are as unique as fingerprints, but more difficult to fake than traditional forms of identification, according to the BBC.
Southampton, Bristol, Lancaster, Oxford and London universities, Imperial College London, Queens University Belfast and University College London have all been named Centres of Academic Excellence in cyber security research by the government.
The scheme 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).
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.
This initiative is aimed at establishing the UK cyber research community as the pre-eminent environment in which to conduct research. It is hoped this will attract the best academics and research students in the UK and from overseas.
The research will support the drive to improve cyber protection for the UK government and enable businesses and consumers to benefit from the opportunities offered in cyber space in safety.