Cranfield University’s research on cyber security set to “step up a level” with Atkins collaboration

Reports on the UK’s ability to protect its technology, data and networks from the threat of cyber crime are frequently in the news. With electronic systems increasingly relying on the Internet to manage everyday things like electricity, air traffic control or food supplies, it’s critical that products and systems are manufactured with defences against cyber attack built-in at the production stage.

With this in mind, Cranfield University and Atkins – one of the world’s leading design, engineering and project management consultancies – will now collaborate to provide the thought leadership needed to address this major challenge.

A new professorial chair in Cyber-Secure Engineering Systems and Processes at Cranfield University will be funded by Atkins. Leading a new research area within the Manufacturing Informatics Centre, the role will focus on developing an understanding of – and responses to – digitally-based threats.

The Manufacturing Informatics Centre will address the challenges associated with cyber threats to increasingly connected and complex engineering systems and processes by creating innovative engineering solutions which protect both systems and knowledge in multiple manufacturing sectors.

Professor Rajkumar Roy, director of manufacturing at Cranfield University, explained: “Modern complex engineering systems can sometimes be less secure than traditional ones, while cyber threats are a major and growing challenge. We aim to develop the next generation of manufacturing engineers and managers who are able to protect manufacturing systems and machines from cyber threats. Cyber-secure ‘Internet of Things’ technology development will have a major impact on implementing Industry 4.0, which uses the Internet to connect ‘Smart Factories’ with their supply chains across a number of sectors.”

Professor Roy went on to state: “The introduction of this new chair in tandem with our new MSc in Cyber-Secure Manufacturing will provide an opportunity to serve our industry needs in the UK as well as influence the design of next generation engineering systems.”

Russell Cameron, technology director at Atkins, added: “We’re excited by this opportunity to partner with Cranfield University in order to bring its leading academic cyber research and resources together with our own design, engineering and cyber capabilities and experience. I have no doubt that this partnership will help our Critical National Infrastructure and manufacturing clients alike in meeting the increasingly complex challenges they face when it comes to improving their cyber resilience.”

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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