The European Commission is to put up €450 million to pump prime research into cybersecurity, with the aim of persuading industry to invest three times this amount.
The objective is to develop new approaches to combatting cyber attacks in the energy, health, transport and finance sectors.
According to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, at least 80 per cent of European companies have experienced at least one cybersecurity incident over the last year and the number of security incidents across all industries worldwide rose by 38 per cent in 2015.
The EU money comes from Horizon 2020, with the remainder expected to flow from cybersecurity companies, represented in the partnership by the newly-formed European Cyber Security Organisation.
The total investment is expected to reach €1.8 billion by 2020, the Commission said. The first funding round will open early in 2017.
Initial interest is high, said Luigi Rebuffi, the electrical engineer chosen to run the new partnership. Over 100 companies have signed up already, including the aerospace manufacturers Thales and Airbus, German software company SAP and engineering giant Siemens.