Government invests £100m in new cyber security R&D and launches fund to drive diversity across the industry

Profile picture for user ddpreez By Derek du Preez January 27, 2019
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has also announced funding to help improve diversity across the cyber security sector.

cyber security
Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced over £100 million in funding for new cyber security research and development, which is being allocated via the government’s Industrial Strategy.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said that the UK will become a “world leader” in ‘designing out’ many forms of cyber threats to online services and digitally enabled products.

Some £70 million investment through the Industrial Strategy Fund will support research into the design and development of hardware so that it will be more secure and resilient from the outset. The government said that the aim is to ‘design out’ many forms of cyber threats by ‘designing in’ security and protection technology/solutions into hardware and chip designs, which it claims will ultimately help to “eradicate a significant proportion of the current cyber risks for businesses and services in future connected smart products”.

It adds that the best defence against cyber threats in the future will be solutions that can work independently and protect against threats even during attacks (i.e. work autonomously).

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“This could be a real step-change in computer and online security, better protecting businesses, services and consumers from cyber-attacks resulting in benefits for consumers and the economy. With businesses having to invest more and more in tackling ever more complex cyber attacks, ‘designing in’ security measures into the hardware’s fabric will not only protect our businesses and consumers but ultimately cut the growing cybersecurity costs to businesses.

“This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action. Building on the UK’s heritage and strengths in computing and cyber security alongside the government and industry investing together to ensure the UK capitalises on its position to become a leader in the growing markets and technologies of tomorrow.”

A further £30.6 million of government investment, provided by UK Research and Innovation through the Strategic Priorities Fund, will aim to ensure smart internet connected devices are safe and secure. According to the government, there are expected to be more than 420 million such devices in use across the UK Within the next three years.

A focus on diversity

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport made a separate cyber security related announcement today, which will see new funding released to help drive diversity in the industry.

Four new projects across England have been announced to encourage more women, BAME and neurodiverse candidates into a career in cyber security, with each benefiting from a total investment of at least £500,000.

The funding forms part of the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund.

It will help organisations “develop and sustain projects that identify, train and place untapped talent from a range of backgrounds into cyber security”.

The projects receiving funding include:

  • Crucial Academy: Diversity in Cyber Security. This initiative based in Brighton looks to retrain veterans in cyber security, in particular focusing on women, neurodiverse candidates and BAME individuals.
  • QA: Cyber Software Academy for Women. This project running in London, Bristol, and Manchester will train and place a cohort of women into cyber development job roles within industry. An additional cohort will also be trained in Birmingham as part of the West Midlands Combined Authority Skills Deal.
  • Blue Screen IT: HACKED. This Plymouth based initiative will scale up an already existing programme which identifies, trains, and places individuals, including neurodiverse candidates, those with special needs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds into a cyber security career.
  • Hacker House Ltd: Hands on Hacking, Training and Employer Portal. This project based online will develop a portal allowing for an increased number of people to be trained and then engage with employers.

Digital Minister Margot James said:

“Our cyber security industry is thriving but to support this growing success we need a skilled and diverse workforce to match. These latest projects show that whatever your background, ethnicity or sex, there are opportunities to join the cyber security profession.

“We want to demonstrate that you can have a dynamic and exciting career in a sector that sits at the heart of our economy, and is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”