Pioneering collaboration leads to the Airbus Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics – the first centre of its kind in Europe, working across industry, academia and government to provide a focus for cyber security analytics.

Cyber security (CS) is a global issue affecting every organisation and requiring solutions on a global platform. Cardiff University is part of a growing and vibrant CS ecosystem in Wales. Led by Professor Pete Burnap, world leading interdisciplinary and industry research into cyber analytics is being undertaken, in partnership with Airbus.

The collaboration was initially enabled via funding from EPSRC, Airbus, and Endeavr – a joint funding initiative between Airbus and Welsh Government to support innovation in Wales. The relationship has since accumulated over £7.8m in grants awarded from RCUK, Industry and Government. Cardiff are leading the safety-critical systems stream in the new £14m EPSRC investment in security of the Internet of Things (IoT) – the PETRAS National Research Centre.

“The Centre is an enabler for the rapid transfer of research into operational activities and ensures that researchers are able to access the latest techniques and data, supported by Airbus experts” – Professor Kevin Jones, Head of Cyber Security Architecture, Innovation and Scouting, Airbus

Located between the Cardiff Schools of Computer Science and Informatics, Psychology, and Social Sciences the Centre is mutually beneficial. Cardiff delivers global impact from its research and Airbus have commercialised University led ideas, including a new spin out which has transformed risk assessment in the UK and globally; and AI driven ‘DNA profiles’ of malware behaviours, which has also seen advanced methods for tackling malware integrated into Airbus front-line defences.

The University was also recently recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR) by EPSRC and NCSC – the public facing arm of GCHQ. Cardiff were the first institution in Wales to receive this recognition and one of only 17 in the UK. In this respect Cardiff is a go-to place for data-science and AI insights on cyber threats, supporting the AI sector deal in the UK industrial strategy and the National Cyber Security Centre’s focus on Active Cyber Defence.

The partnership’s achievements continue to receive national and international recognition, with wide ranging impacts on a global scale. Professor Pete Burnap, Professor of Data Science & Cyber Security said: “Our work supports UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, which aims to put the UK at the forefront of the Artificial Intelligence and data revolution. The centre is interdisciplinary by design and is drawing together expertise in cyber security from across the whole University.”

This article first appeared in the 2019 State of the Relationship report published 19 June 2019.