cyber-securityThis week saw the launch of a brand new incubator program to support new ventures in the world of cyber security.  The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) is the first innovation and knowledge centre in the UK to focus specifically on cyber security, and comes hot on the heels of the recent announcement by the Chancellor to double funding for cyber security by 2020.

It marks a renewed focus on cyber security by the Government, with a GCHQ sponsorship programme called Cyber First launched earlier this year.  The programme, which is modelled on Israel’s Talpiot scheme, offers funding of £4,000 to up to 20 students who are currently taking STEM subjects, with a guarantee of work at the end of the scheme.

“The world-leading young people we support through Cyber First will help protect the UK from the growing tide of cyber attacks and cyber crime. They will also play a part in GCHQ’s key role of keeping the UK at the forefront of the multi-billion pound global cyber security industry,” said GCHQ director, Robert Hannigan at the time of the announcement.

Inside the incubator

CSIT has established itself as a leading authority on cyber security, and hopes to support innovative new technologies and companies in the field to capture the commercial opportunities available.

The incubator programme will formalise the innovation processes that have been successfully deployed in the past.  This will give startups unique access to 6 months worth of engineering development resource to help take their ideas through to market readiness and the potential for further investment.  

The work of CSIT was recently recognised in the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, which exist to showcase outstanding achievement by higher education in the UK.  It was initially established in 2009 as the UK’s national Innovation & Knowledge Centre (IKC) for cyber security.

Thus far, the programme has supported innovations in areas such as app based technology for securing online transactions; filtering technology for domestic and industrial Internet use; and anti-counterfeit technology to reduce online fraud. 

The team secured additional funding from InnovateUK and EPSRC in March this year with the aim of continuing to support ground breaking innovations in the field.

Professor John McCanny, Principal Investigator of CSIT said:

“CSIT’s unique strength lies in its approach to the innovation and commercialisation of Queen’s ground-breaking research. It overlays an excellent academic research environment with an infrastructure that is more common in high-technology companies, creating a unique team of researchers, innovators and engineers that accelerates the translation of research into business.”