Two new centres of excellence funded by the Government will train the next generation of cyber security experts.
The new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) will be based at the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway, University of London, following the announcement of £7.5m of funding for the project today by Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts.
The centres, selected following a call for proposals issued in July 2012, are funded by £2.5m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of the RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme and £5m from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as part of its work in the National Cyber Security Programme.
David Willetts says: “Businesses are facing more cyber-attacks than ever before, putting their confidential information and intellectual property at risk. We must do everything we can to tackle this threat and make them less vulnerable.
“These new centres will produce a new generation of cyber security specialists, able to use their skills and research expertise to improve cyber security and drive growth.”
The centres will provide multi-disciplinary PhD training while working with the cyber-security to ensure training is up to date, with students receiving a mixture of masters-level education in a range of subjects while carrying out a related original research project.
EPSRC’s chief executive Professor David Delpy says: “Cyber security matters. It matters because the virtual world and the real world are conjoined and interdependent, from our hospitals to transport networks to the financial sector or our armed forces.
“Without the type of research being supported by EPSRC and our partners, the ability of individuals, businesses and our infrastructure to work effectively, productively and safely will be restricted and made vulnerable.”
The Oxford centre will focus on emerging technology themes covering challenges such as “Big Data” security, cyber-physical security, effective systems verification and assurance and real-time security.
Dr Andrew Martin, who will lead the CDT at Oxford, says: “We have been building a wide inter-disciplinary collaboration to address the challenges of cyber security. The CDT team will not draw from just the technical perspective, but also disciplines such as social science, business, and strategic studies.
“Mixing these with practitioner experiences from business and government, the students will gain a unique insight into the context of their work, and undertake research that makes a real, long-lasting contribution.”
The Royal Holloway CDT will focus on problems faced by businesses and government such as provably-secure cryptographic systems and protocols, telecommunication security, networks and critical infrastructure, trusted and trustworthy platforms and organisational processes and socio-technical systems.
Dr Carlos Cid, who will lead the Royal Holloway centre, says: “We are obviously delighted that our bid to host one of the CDTs in cyber security was successful. One of the goals of the CDT is to contribute to the pool of UK-based doctoral-level cyber security experts, and we are aiming to recruit and train some of the most promising students to work in this field.
“We are looking forward to working with our industrial and academic partners to deliver training and research of the highest quality to the CDT students.”
Doctoral training will last four years and, between them, both centres will produce at least 66 PhD graduates over the next seven years. The first cohorts of students are expected to start studying this autumn.