How the Cyber Innovation Hub is rising to the Challenge

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When the Cyber Innovation Hub opened in the summer of 2022, it was quite rightly viewed as many different things to many different people.

A catalyst for CCR to become a leading cyber security cluster by 2030 … a hothouse to nurture more than 25 high-growth companies … a generator of skills that are critical to digital-age success … this revolutionary UK-first facility is all of these. And more.

Beyond the above, this pioneering Hub is also home to a team that can rise to any cyber challenge: with a challenge programme open to any individual or small team with an idea for a game-changing cyber solution.

This pioneering programme will focus on driving rapid development of innovative solutions that are tightly tailored to industry demand – and attractive to private equity investors. A major differentiator at Cyber Innovation Hub (CiH) is that responders to the challenge programme, if successful, will have a team built around them – plugging any gaps in their expertise, whether it be a coder, ‘frontperson’, or commercial lead – with CiH making sure the team has all the skills it needs to drive its solution to market.

With the very first Cyber Challenge recently launched on 3rd March – and open for applications until 28th March – we spoke with Professor Pete Burnap, Director of the CiH, about how this programme will both energise and support the growth of real-world cyber solutions, founded on world-class practices …

pete-burnap-cardiff-university-CIB

With the very first Cyber Challenge recently launched on 3rd March – and open for applications until 28th March – we spoke with Professor Pete Burnap, Director of the CiH, about how this programme will both energise and support the growth of real-world cyber solutions, founded on world-class practices …

“Our Cyber Challenge Programme delivers impactful real-world solutions, to a world standard.”

“The Cyber Challenge Programme is an incredibly agile and powerful way to deliver impactful and sustainable cyber solutions, wherever they’re needed. And given the pace of the fourth industrial revolution and everything that’s going on in the world, they’re needed in many places!” explains Pete.

“We’ve designed the programme to bring the most tailored solution to every individual challenge – acting as a matchmaker between challenge responders and entrepreneurs, creating a very special alchemy in the Alacrity Foundation’s incubation programme.” 

“That incubation programme enables us to build a dedicated team around the challenge responder – and provide them with support and services to scale quickly.”

“Those trailblazing teams will have access to internationally recognised researchers at Cardiff University – researchers of proven calibre, with experience of generating and validating cyber security solutions on world-class testbeds.”   

“And the support doesn’t stop there. The teams will also enjoy all the collaborative benefits of working in the Tramshed Tech – alongside existing cyber and digital SMEs – accessing an ecosystem that provides physical resources as well as the emotional encouragement every new business needs to succeed.”

“Throughout the programme, the innovators will have as much support as they need from our industry partners, to ensure that market viability is at the forefront of development – and we’re also in the process of designing and implementing state-of-the-art cyber security testbeds in the amazing environment of Cardiff’s Sbarc building, adding another dimension to delivering innovative challenge solutions.”

“So you can see why we’re confident of transforming these newly-born teams into thriving businesses built on the strongest foundations, at the end of the 12-month programme.”

“Transforming newly-created teams into thriving businesses, through a 12-month programme.”

With the first Challenge Programme now open for applications, what insights can  Professor Pete give to any innovator capable of providing potential solutions?

“We’re looking to identify, develop and demonstrate innovative solutions in four main areas – Industrial IoT encryption, Incident response for SMEs and Citizens, Operational Technology, and Protecting SMEs and Citizens.

“Those challenge areas have been chosen because they broadly align with key issues identified by the National Cyber Security Centre, and have been shown to be important to our industry partners at this moment in time. Now we’re looking for ideas that can be rapidly developed and tested, with the potential to be scaled and used across the UK over the coming months.”

“We’re setting the bar high but we’ve deliberately kept the process simple. Once the application date closes on 28th March, every response will be quickly assessed by a panel of CiH partners, to determine suitability and potential market viability. The successful challenge responders will be notified by 1st May, then be invited to join the CiH innovation programme, which guides the innovators and their solution through ideation, product development, testing, marketing – and revenue generation.”

“The programme itself will start in June, be completed by July 2024, and we offer a stipend of £1,500 a month to help with costs. But the real reward is in the expert support and our commitment to bringing the solution to market. That’s absolutely priceless – for the innovator, and for cybersecurity in this country.”

If you have a potential solution to meet any of the cyber challenge areas, apply now by simply filling in this form here. 

Alternatively, you can register for an online briefing event being held on Thursday 23 March at 1400-1500 UK-time, by contacting cyberinnovationhub@cardiff.ac.uk.

Cyber Innovation Hub is co-funded in partnership by Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and Welsh Government

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