Public Release: 

Queen's University in £38m bid to secure Smart Cities and the Internet of Things

Queen's University Belfast

A major investment of up to £38 million is set to establish Queen's University Belfast as a world-leading research and innovation hub for cyber security for Smart Cities and the Internet of Things.

The funding, which has been awarded as part of a major expansion of the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen's, was announced at the first day of the annual World Cyber Summit.

The £38 million expansion aims to enhance security in highly virtualised environments and connected devices, and to prevent personal information theft and fraud from laptops, smart phones and cloud storage.

Building on the many successes achieved by CSIT since it was established in 2009, the plans for expansion comes as security experts and government policy makers from around the world gather for the 5th World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit. The two-day event, held at CSIT in Belfast, is bringing together leading industry experts to discuss how to combat future threats to global cyber security. The select group of experts will share current trends in cyber security, look at security threats likely to emerge in the years ahead and agree on an international strategy for developing research that will safeguard the 'Internet of tomorrow'.

Responding to the pioneering aims of the summit, CSIT has been awarded £5million funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK, along with £9 million core funding from Queen's, to continue its growth as a UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre - combining research with industry to achieve economic success.

The centre will build on its industry and academic partnerships worldwide, increasing the projected level of investment in its research to £38 million in the next five years.

CSIT will use this investment to drive forward its own research programmes, support the creation of more businesses and jobs, and provide skills and training for the UK cyber security industry, including the creation of a nine-month pre-accelerator program for cyber security entrepreneurs. The Centre plans to recruit 25 additional staff across engineering, research and commercial disciplines.

Speaking during the summit, Professor John McCanny, from the Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queen's University Belfast, said: "We are delighted to announce this investment at the World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit, an event which is helping to make the Internet of Tomorrow a safe and secure platform for the next phase of the human journey. This funding recognises how over the last five years we have successfully blended world class research and innovation to deliver economic impact nationally, internationally and regionally.

"In line with the goals of this global summit, the investment will allow us to further accelerate new value creation in this sector, drive business venture creation through our new pre-accelerator programme and build capacity for the industry by providing it with high calibre Masters and PhDs graduates."

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's Chief Executive said; "Strong economies are science economies, they invest in the science and engineering research that is needed to drive innovation and growth. The potential benefits of the virtual world and the opportunities that interconnected devices offer, for instance in our abilities to monitoring health, energy and maintain security are vast. However, we need to be able to operate in a resilient and secure environment that can cope with challenge of criminal and external threats. This funding will help arm the UK with the skilled people and techniques it needs to prosper as a nation."

Kevin Baughan, Innovate UK's Director of Technology and Innovation said; "CSIT has delivered significant UK economic growth through our original joint investment with EPSRC, contributing to over 950 new jobs in the Belfast cyber security cluster. By extending funding for a further five years, we underline our support for their commitment to raise the commercialisation bar even higher. This will help companies of all sizes grow through leveraging the excellent UK science base in cyber security"

###

The 5th World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit, running from 19-20 March, will include speakers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the UK Cabinet Office, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Allstate, Symantec, Citi, Paladin Capital Group, Chemring Technology Solutions, RSCI Cyberpsychology Research Centre, Cylab, BAE Systems, RSA and Rapid7. Find out more about the event at: http://www.csit.qub.ac.uk/Belfast2015

Please direct media enquiries to Andrew Kennedy, Queen's Communications Office on 028 9097 5384 or andrew.kennedy@qub.ac.uk

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.