£1 million funding announced for academic innovations in aviation security

UK universities seeking to carry out cutting-edge research into the next generation of aviation security solutions are set to benefit from Government funding worth £1 million thanks to a joint initiative between the Department for Transport and the Home Office.

The Future Aviation Security Solutions (FASS) programme is offering the funding to universities through Industrial PhD Partnership (IPP) grants. All UK universities can apply for the FASS IPPs which will bring industry and academia together in a determined bid to mentor students with enterprising ideas and create seamless movement of passengers and cargo in the airports of the future.

As well as enabling universities and industry to develop innovative aviation security measures, FASS IPPs will enhance the UK’s national security expertise by creating a pool of highly-skilled researchers. The dedicated funding programme will focus primarily on aviation security, adding to the UK’s ability to deliver novel solutions for the future of aviation transport.

Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “The safety and security of everyone travelling is our highest priority and the UK is internationally recognised as a centre for aviation security expertise. This valuable funding ensures our world-leading universities can continue to create a pool of highly-skilled individuals with the right degree of expertise that’s vital for our national security.”

Academic and industry supervisors

Successful students will have academic and industry supervisors helping them to build a network of contacts across the aviation sector and gain relevant work experience that could lead to employment opportunities.

FASS IPPs will contribute to national security by improving the UK’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks and could lead to the creation of new products and services that enable faster and more effective airport screening processes.

The UK has one of the safest aviation systems in the world and has made one of the largest contributions to improving global aviation security standards. The introduction of FASS IPPs builds on the Government’s commitment, outlined in both the CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy and the wider aviation strategy, to continually review, innovate and improve UK and international aviation security standards to ensure that the skies remain as safe as possible for the travelling public.

Home Office Security Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The introduction of these grants is an important part of our work to make sure the UK continues to boast the world-class skills and experience needed to remain at the cutting-edge of aviation security. This is the latest example of the FASS fulfilling its vital role of bringing Government, industry and academic experts together to ensure that we keep ahead of the evolving threats we face.”

FASS is offering the scheme as part of its commitment to funding research and innovation and will be supported by the Connected Places Catapult in delivering the scheme. Mark Westwood, CTO at the Connected Places Catapult, said: “Our experience in the transport sector has shown us that there’s a wealth of knowledge, expertise and creativity in UK universities and SMEs capable of solving many of the challenges facing the aviation industry. We’re excited to help connect our extensive SME and academic networks with FASS to develop real solutions which could make air travel better and more secure for everyone.”

Applications to FASS IPP

Applications to FASS IPP will need to have both a university and industry partner. There will be three brokerage events bringing together universities and potential industry partners in order for them to network and learn about the full application process. These will be held on 12 September (Leeds), 19 September (Birmingham) and on 1 October in London.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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