Innovate UK: Northern Ireland cybersecurity centre gets UK government backing

28 Feb 2023 | Network Updates | Update from Innovate UK
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

Northern Ireland (NI) Office Minister of State Steve Baker has announced £18.9 million investment in NI’s cybersecurity industry at Queen’s University Belfast’s (QUB) Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT). This includes £11 million funding from the New Deal for NI.

Cyber-AI Hub

The investment will see the creation of a new Cyber-AI Hub at CSIT. It will bring together academia and businesses to increase NI’s cyber capacity, creating jobs and supporting the government’s £2.6 billion national cyber strategy.

The funding will help ensure a pipeline of world-class cyber professionals, with the creation of a doctoral training programme and masters bursaries. This will help to deliver on the government’s pledge of 5000 cyber professionals in NI by 2030.

Leading cybersecurity

An additional £3.3 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will consolidate the benefits achieved over the past 2 phases of UK Research and Innovation funding. This will enable CSIT to continue its work to:

  • Link industry, academia, and government
  • Protect citizens and businesses
  • Drive economic growth

It will also enable CSIT to seed new research activity in emerging areas of cybersecurity. This will raise the level of impact nationally and internationally, and further strengthening the UK’s reputation as a global leader in cybersecurity research and innovation.

With an additional £4.6 million from project partners, the funding builds on NI’s impressive track record of attracting investment in its cybersecurity sector ahead of Belfast hosting the UK’s flagship cybersecurity event, CyberUK 2023 in April.

Supporting the national cybersecurity strategy

Cyber-AI Hub will see the creation of a UK government, NI based cyber engagement lead, joining the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology colleagues in NI.

This role, similar to positions in other regions in the UK, will engage directly with the NI cyber sector to support the delivery of the government’s national cybersecurity strategy. I will also support the levelling up strategy as well as exploring opportunities for further UK government funded innovation and skills initiatives.

The funding will also allow for the continuation of the NI Cyber Security Snapshot by QUB. This will highlight opportunities and challenges for the NI cybersecurity sector to be identified on a regular basis, further enabling growth in the sector.

This article was first published on 23 February by Innovate UK.

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