New security centre marches ahead in fight against cyber crime

A joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council has secured £9 million funding to develop a new Centre for Cyber Security in Hereford.

The University of Wolverhampton has approved £1.5 million to contribute to the Centre as well as successfully securing grant funding of £4 million from the Marches LEP Local Growth Fund and £1.16 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  Herefordshire Council has approved funding of £3.5 million to contribute to the Centre for Cyber Security which will be located on Skylon Park in the Hereford Enterprise Zone.

The new Centre will offer high quality research facilities through the University’s Cyber Security Research Institute as well as providing office space for cyber businesses and advanced training facilities designed specifically to tackle threats in cyberspace.

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Cybercrime currently costs the UK between £18 billion and £27 billion a year.  65% of all large UK companies reported a breach in the last year and threats to cyber security are persistent and constantly evolving.

Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “The University has already formed strong, collaborative relationships with key companies to engage with cyber research, training programmes and enterprise development and has a number of research teams associated with the development of cyber security.

“Our strategy is to bring together our collective expertise in a centre of excellence with partners both in the UK and internationally.

“The new Centre will organise, facilitate and support the development of cyber security on a global scale whilst at the same time present us with opportunities to develop high quality academic, vocational educational and training programmes to address the digital skills shortage being experienced nationally.”

Councillor David Harlow, Herefordshire Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Communications, said: “The cyber security sector is an important and fast growing part of the UK economy, and Herefordshire is proud to be home to the new Centre for Cyber Security and a growing cluster of cyber security businesses. The new centre will provide a unique range of facilities including business space for SMEs research, product testing laboratory space and educational and training space, and will act as a draw for national investment in the local economy.”

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Andrew Manning Cox, Chairman of the Hereford Enterprise Zone, said: “This decision will help deliver a new Centre for Cyber Security at Skylon Park, following two years of work by the University and Hereford Enterprise Zone team to make the project a reality.

"The new centre will firmly establish Skylon Park as a natural home for cyber security research and innovation, putting us at the cutting edge of this pioneering field. We already have a cluster of businesses working within the growing cyber security sector and the centre will be vital to building on this expertise in the coming years.”

Graham Wynn OBE, Chairman of Marches LEP, said: “Defence and security businesses employ approximately 2,600 people across the Marches ranging from manufacturers of military vehicles, weapons, explosives, systems and technologies through to private security, security systems and investigation.

“Skylon Park is the only Enterprise Zone in the country to focus on the defence and security sector and our aim, through working in collaboration with the University of Wolverhampton, will be to build on the base of 70 plus small businesses operating locally in this market.

“The new Centre will stimulate an enhanced base of businesses engaged in cyber security solutions which will improve insight for businesses on the challenges faced in the future and drive up levels of innovation activity across the Marches.”

The new Centre will provide innovation workspace for small and start-up businesses to operate from, offering consultancy support from the University and shared facilities including laboratory space and training rooms. It will offer a range of specialist facilities for the cyber sector including server space and high speed broadband as well as research and development laboratory space. 

Building works are expected to start on the new Cyber Security Centre in November 2018 with completion expected by spring 2020.