London security centre handed £14.5m to get off the ground

The government is to fund a new cyber security innovation centre in the capital and has launched a competition to develop and design it

London will be home to a new cyber security innovation centre to conduct world-leading research and development into the next generation of security technology.

Over the next three years, the centre will receive £14.5m of investment through the government, which has launched a competition to develop and design the unit, which it described as a “big boost” for London’s booming tech sector.

The capital is also home to GCHQ’s National Cybersecurity Centre, set up in 2015 by former chancellor George Osborne as part of a £1.9bn investment to “aggressively defend” the UK from malicious actors.

Digital minister Matt Hancock said: “London is one of the world’s most important tech sectors, with a record £5.6bn investment in the industry in the past six months and a new tech firm formed every hour in the capital.

“Our investment in a new cyber innovation centre will not only cement the city’s position as a world leader, but also boost the whole country by giving UK firms access to the latest cyber technology and allowing startups to get the support they need to develop.”

The new centre will bring together both established industry players and new startups to collaborate on the development of future security technologies. Through the unit, newly-formed businesses will get access to mentoring services, business support and early-stage growth advice.

A separate centre – the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator programme – opened in Cheltenham earlier this year, and has already produced seven startup “graduates”.

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Both of these projects are part of a £25m national investment through the Petras Research Hub – led by University College London – as part of the Westminster-backed IoT UK research and innovation programme, alongside Lloyds Register Foundation, and industry and other public sector organisations.

Earlier this month, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport coughed up £20m to fund cyber security training in schools with the intention of providing nearly 6,000 teenagers with the skills needed not just to protect themselves online, but also to build a future career in the cyber security industry.

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