Developing a Cyber Innovation Hub

Wales has a thriving cybersecurity sector which is growing an international reputation based on externally validated evidence – an internationally recognised mix of cybersecurity-focussed big business, a critical mass of small enterprise and GCHQ-recognised academic excellence – promoted by Welsh Government strategy.

Thales and Airbus have laid significant roots in cybersecurity innovation and are heavily engaged with public sector activities. Thales’ National Digital Exploitation Centre in Ebbw Vale and Airbus’ CyberLab in Newport represent £28m of investment in cybersecurity innovation in partnership with Welsh Government, Cardiff University and University of South Wales.

We have two Universities – Cardiff and USW that are recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) as Academic Centres of Excellence in either research or teaching. Their work underpins ground-breaking research that has seeded spinouts and SME’s and been translated into larger businesses. This creates a strong, sustainable supply chain in Wales, recognised and valued by its businesses. Having these ingredients makes us a nationally excellent cybersecurity ecosystem.

The Cyber Innovation Hub will provide the catalyst to significantly increase the number of cyber security businesses in the region and in so doing, attract further private investment and enhance our cybersecurity skills and talent pool.

The Hub will bring together market-driven cybersecurity challenges (via partners including Airbus, Thales, BT), the GCHQ-recognised research and skills excellence at Cardiff University and USW, and the Alacrity Foundation’s experience of cultivating successful start-ups.

With innovations being tested against real, controlled cybersecurity attacks on a world-class “digital twin” infrastructure; and a unique set of cybersecurity reskilling courses – the CCR cybersecurity cluster will become a focal point for Cybersecurity businesses and investment both locally and internationally.

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Proposition

The Hub will seek to:

  • Develop an MSc qualification in Cyber/ Ethical Hacking in partnership with Cardiff University, USW and backed by PWC.
  • Create a physical space for FDI, demonstration and open innovation through the Cyber Demonstrator
  • Establish and deliver a Cyber Challenge Fund with business, industrial, government and academic partners
  • Reinforce partnerships across Cyber South Wales and the West, most centrally with Western Gateway partners and collaborators

Requirements

  • £50m – To develop an open innovation space for R&D and a problem-solving ‘living lab’ capability
  • £25m – For a cyber specific challenge fund
  • Relocation – Consider relocating MoD policy development staff to the region to support a challenge based test bed approach to cyber problem solving that will have global application and relevance.