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Newcastle to play key role in new Cyber Institute

The UK’s first academic Research Institute to improve understanding of the science behind the growing Cyber Security threat has been launched today.

The Institute, which is funded by a £3.8 million grant, is part of a cross-government commitment towards increasing the nation’s academic capability in all fields of Cyber Security.  Its research will ultimately make it easier for businesses, individuals and government to take informed decisions about how to implement better cyber protection measures and safely benefit from the huge opportunities offered in Cyber Space.

Established by GCHQ, in partnership with the Research Councils’ Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK), led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Research Institute is a virtual organisation involving seven universities including Newcastle.

Newcastle University lead Professor Aad van Moorsel, Head of the School of Computing Science and Director of the Centre for Cybercrime and Computer Security said they were delighted to be selected as one of the four research teams in the first Cyber Security Institute.

“The Newcastle part of the Institute constitutes joint research between computer scientists and psychologists from Newcastle and Northumbria universities,” he explains.

"Modern day research in cyber security is not just about technology.  The success of every security technology depends on how people use it, how social pressures interact, and whether it aligns with business goals.  In our Cybercrime Centre here in Newcastle we bring together experts from social sciences, business and engineering to work on these complex problems.

"The key problem we will be addressing is BYOD – or ‘bringing your own device’.  This is increasingly common in the workplace - we all like to use our mobile phone to read e-mail - but that introduces some serious security concerns related to the secrecy of business data.”

The new Centre will connect experts from academia and industry both in the UK and abroad to tackle some of the UK’s toughest challenges in Cyber Security, in both the public and private sectors. 
This collaborative approach between academia, industry and government will ensure that research is relevant and inspired by real world, cutting edge, security issues.

Francis Maude, Minister for Cyber Security, said "The UK is one of the most secure places in the world to do business - already 8% of our GDP is generated from the cyber world and that trend is set to grow.  But we are not complacent. Through the National Cyber Security Programme we are putting serious investment into the best UK expertise to lead thought in the science of cyber.  The UK's first academic Research Institute will strengthen capability in a strategically important area, keeping the UK at the forefront of international research in the field."

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, added: "Britain has one of the largest online economies in the world and a growing cyber security sector, and we need to ensure this success continues. This new Research Institute will draw on the leading expertise in our universities from both technological and behavioural disciplines to address key challenges. It will help businesses, government and individuals to better protect themselves from cyber threats so they can make the most of the opportunities the internet presents."

published on: 12 September 2012