Two UK universities have been added to the growing list of Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACEs-CSR), further enhancing the UK’s leading position in cyber security research. The two new centres at De Montfort University and Northumbria University have been recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for having first class research capabilities.
Their strengths include improving approaches towards helping people better understand how to protect themselves online and developing new technologies to protect critical infrastructure such as telecommunications. They join a list of 17 other institutions across the whole of the UK which are regarded as strategic partners to Government and producing cutting-edge research in cyber security.
Digital Minister Margot James said: “The UK has some of the best minds in the cyber security field and it’s only right that we recognise those universities that can excel when it comes to carrying out world-leading research. The global threat of cyber security is never far from our minds. We want to ensure that our best and brightest can help shape our national cyber security strategy.”
Chris Ensor, the NCSC’s deputy director for cyber growth, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Northumbria and De Montfort Universities to the ACE-CSR community. We’ve seen the community grow from eight universities to 19 and that has been down to the hard work and investment they’ve all put in. Both are existing members of our research institutes. It’s brilliant to see how they’ve built on and developed their broader capacity and capability over several years to now meet the standards required of an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research.”
People-centric cyber strategy
Professor Lynne Coventry, principal investigator and research director of psychology who leads the Northumbria Cyber Security Research Group, explained: “Cyber security research has typically been directed towards finding technological solutions, but as our technological perimeter has strengthened, people have been left behind and become prime targets for cyber attackers. To stop today’s advanced attacks, we need to understand how to better protect the general public by adopting a people-centric cyber security strategy and exploring how to design security technology and policies which support individuals in their endeavours rather than being perceived as a barrier.”
Professor Coventry added: “At Northumbria, our holistic, multidisciplinary approach towards cyber security integrates diverse knowledge from specialists in technology, human behaviour, business, law and design. We’re delighted to receive this recognition for our work in these areas.”
Professor Eerke Boiten, director of the CTI and professor in cyber security at De Montfort University, observed: “We’re very proud of this achievement. Being named an ACE-CSR highlights our strong industry engagement and first class research capabilities. This recognition will strongly support our future plans for national and international collaborative research in topics such as industrial control systems, human factors in security, incident response, cyber crime and privacy. It also perfectly complements the provisional NCSC certification that De Montfort University offers for two of its Masters degrees in Cyber Security and Cyber Technology.”
The ACE-CSR programme is part of the Government’s delivery of the £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021. Northumbria University was a founding member of the Research Institute in Science of Cyber Security, while De Montfort is an Airbus Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security and Forensics.