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Loughborough University is to create five doctoral researcher posts focusing on cross-disciplinary research in cyber security and artificial intelligence (AI), with funding, resources and additional expertise covered by cyber AI specialist Darktrace.
Under the supervision of Loughborough professors Tim Watson and Iain Phillips, the researchers will work in the university’s established Cyber Security Centre, collaborating with other academics from across the university as well as Darktrace’s own experts and technology.
The students working on the programme will select and undertake their focused research independently, but Darktrace has retained an option to carry on research that proves to be particularly significant in partnership with the university.
The partners hope that beyond the initial research projects, they will be able to expand their collaboration more widely in the service of addressing the UK’s cyber skills gap – the country currently needs about 11,000 more security pros to support UK businesses alone – and help the government meet its wider science and technology goals.
“We are delighted to be working with Darktrace. Loughborough is committed to enhancing knowledge in the area of AI and cyber security, and ensuring there is a highly skilled workforce to meet the needs of industry,” said Watson.
“Darktrace is a global leader in cyber security AI, and doctoral researchers on this scheme will have unique access to this industry leader to advance their research to tackle these increasingly complex technological challenges.”
Dan Parsons, Loughborough pro-vice-chancellor for research, added: “At Loughborough, we are committed to harnessing the power and potential of AI to benefit society, and doing so in secure and resilient ways.
“This partnership with Darktrace will help us deliver this, and we are delighted Darktrace has chosen us as their first higher education partner in the UK.”
Darktrace technical director, Rosie Cooper, who will also be acting as a supervisor on the new programme, said: “Darktrace is built by experts in areas ranging from data science and mathematics to astrophysics, immunology, linguistics, and even classical Greek.
“Cross-disciplinary teams have been key to our success. We believe the same approach to skills can propel a world-leading technology industry in the UK and, as a business at the forefront of UK tech and one that has benefitted from the country’s academic strengths, we want to help make that happen. We’re excited to partner with the doctoral students at Loughborough to advance this agenda.”
For Darktrace, the partnership reinforces a commitment made by the company – which recently celebrated its 10th birthday party – to help build a generation of diverse technology talent in the UK.
Among other things, it has been running an internship programme in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC’s) successful CyberFirst scheme, pitched at teens and young people, and Code First: Girls.
Read more about cyber in academia
- An MBA programme at Lancaster University designed to deliver security leadership education to business leaders has received NCSC backing.
- A new project hosted at the University of Plymouth in Devon aims to develop cyber security measures to protect the UK’s increasingly important offshore wind farm assets.
- The so-called CHERI protection model developed at the University of Cambridge is showing great promise for future cyber security technologies.