07 Jan 2016   |   News

Nine UK universities win grant to create Internet of Things hub

A three-year £23M research partnership will explore the ins and outs of connecting everyday devices to the internet

A consortium of nine UK universities is to receive £23 million to form an interdisciplinary hub to research the pros and cons of connecting devices such as cars, thermostats, electricity meters and body sensors wirelessly to the internet.

Over the next three years, the Petras hub will explore the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) and related privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability and security issues.

The universities forming the hub are Oxford, Warwick, Lancaster, Southampton, Surrey, Edinburgh, Cardiff and University College London and Imperial College London.

Of the funding, £9.8 million is coming from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), with a further £14 million from around 50 industry and public sector partners.

The project is part of IoTUK, a £40 million, three-year programme to increase the adoption of IoT technologies and services in industry and the public sector.

In the future almost all of our daily lives will be connected, in one way or another, to the digital world, said, EPSRC chief executive Philip Nelson. “But, before this can happen, there must be trust and confidence in how the internet of things works, its security and its resilience.”

Petras will explore five themes over its lifespan, each led by one or two of the nine universities. Privacy and trust will be covered by Warwick and Oxford; safety and security by Imperial and Lancaster; the economic value of the technology by Imperial and Oxford; standards, governance and policy by UCL; and adoption and acceptability by Warwick and Lancaster.

Initial research will focus on the cybersecurity of low power body sensors and implants; understanding how individuals and companies can increase IoT security through better day-to-day practices; and ensuring that connected smart meters are not a threat to home security.

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