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Challenges around security, privacy and trust in the internet of things (IoT) – the subject of much debate around the industry – will be explored at a research hub to be set up by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The EPSRC has launched a call for interested bodies to take part in a contest to win a share of the £10m funding pot set aside for the project.
The £10m fund forms part of an integrated £40m three-year package, set out by chancellor George Osborne in the pre-election budget, for demonstrator programmes, incubators and research hubs to help the UK become a leader in the IoT ecosystem.
Prime minister David Cameron has made no secret of his desire for the UK to lead a “new industrial revolution” around the IoT.
The research focus will look at the various interactions, policy and governance, beliefs and behaviours between people and the growing number of IoT systems in the wild.
It will combine expertise from a number of leading UK universities, in collaboration with the government’s Digital Economy Unit – newly transferred from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills into the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – InnovateUK, the Digital Catapult and the Future Cities Catapult.
Government chief scientific advisor Mark Walport said the IoT has the potential to boost productivity, make transport more efficient, reduce energy consumption and improve public health standards.
“The research hub will help catalyse the technologies and address the challenges associated with the internet of things to make the UK a world leader. I encourage universities to make the most of this opportunity,” he said.
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EPSRC chief executive Philip Nelson said people's lives are becoming ever-more interconnected with digital devices and the internet.
“The potential benefits are wide – an exchange of information in an emergency could save time and lives.
“However, it is clear people have concerns about how their data is handled and kept secure, so the IoT hub will address these challenges. Successful economies are economies that invest in science. This is an investment in the science of the future and it will help deliver a successful and secure UK.”
Entries to the EPSRC contest will close on 20 July 2015, with the hub expected to be up and running in January 2016. There is also an expectation of anticipated matched funding over the lifetime of the hub, cash and in kind, from the host universities and partners.