New funding for UK security research

It’s good to hear that the Government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is inviting bids for £6 million of new research investment to develop solutions to address vulnerabilities in complex information systems. It’s needed. Very little attention has been given to this area.

This type of research needs pump priming.  Over the last two decades, research carried out by IT users has disappeared and developments by technology vendors have become increasingly short term. Too much university research remains detached from business (just take a quick glance at an Elsevier publication). TSB funded projects help to fill this gap by bringing technology vendors and users together with academic researchers. Such initiatives would not happen by themselves.

The new money is earmarked for projects that will investigate how to reduce the security vulnerabilities of the complex information systems that underpin our digital world. It’s a new area of research, and one of growing importance. The funding is supported by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. In the words of Andrew Tyrer of the Technology Strategy Board “Information is the lifeblood of our day to day existence. Our competition will seek to address what we consider to be one of the greatest challenges to the way we live and work”.

What’s also different about this competition is that it’s designed to be much more accessible to SMEs and individuals. That’s certainly a move in the right direction. Innovation is more likely to be found outside of the traditional research community. The competition opens on 16th March 2009, with an initial briefing day on the 27 February. As a research enthusiast, I shall certainly be there, looking for opportunities to get involved.

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