Royal Holloway’s Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security gets Renewed Funding

The UK government has announced the renewal of funding for the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Cyber Security at Royal Holloway, University of London. Since 2013 the university has hosted one of the two UK CDTs in Cyber Security, with an original grant of approximately £3.8M from the EPSRC and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. The grant has now been renewed, at the level of £3.45M, to provide funding for three further cohorts of PhD students in cyber security,

This is one of the initiatives in the new National Cyber Security Strategy, which was launched this week by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP. The five-year strategy will see an investment of £1.9 billion into defending UK cyber systems and infrastructure, deterring adversaries, and developing national cyber security capacity. The new strategy also confirms the long-term commitment of the government to supporting the UK’s cyber security academic sector.

Royal Holloway’s CDT in Cyber Security has currently 37 students, working on a wide range of cyber security topics. Students follow a dedicated four-year programme of training and research in cyber security, with strong business engagement. The first cohort of CDT students is expected to graduate in 2018.

Professor Carlos Cid, the CDT Director, said “The renewal of our grant comes on the back of a very positive 2015 evaluation of the CDT’s progress, and we are delighted with the new award. We have worked hard at Royal Holloway to build a vibrant and successful cohort of CDT students, which we think have already started to make a valuable contribution to the UK cyber security sector. Overall, we are proud to have again been recognised as a trusted centre for training the next generation of UK cyber security leaders.”

Royal Holloway has a long tradition in cyber security education and research. The Information Security Group (ISG), established 25 years ago, is one of the largest academic cyber security research groups in the world. Royal Holloway was one of the first academic institutions in the country to be recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR). Its highly successful MSc in Information Security programme was one of only four to gain full GCHQ certification in 2014, and now has well over 3,000 alumni around the world. At doctoral level, Royal Holloway has been producing PhDs in cyber security and related areas for over 30 years, with many its PhD graduates occupying senior cyber security roles in academia and industry.

A key feature of the CDT programme is its engagement with the cyber security industry sector. Industry partners help to deliver CDT training and shape the CDT research portfolio. In addition, most CDT students spend three months on an industrial placement during their studies. Dr Simon Shiu, Director of the HP Security Labs in Bristol and a member of the CDT Advisory Panel, wrote “Each year new technologies mean greater dependence and more vulnerability to new threats and types of attacks, and so we need research in cyber security to keep pace with other changes and innovations. The CDTs in Cyber Security develop deep and broad expertise and experience in cyber security research. Being well connected to government and industry means these PhD students are well placed to help the UK technology industry to rise to this growing challenge.”

Professor Keith Mayes, Head of the ISG and the School of Mathematics and Information Security at Royal Holloway, states “The CDT is a fantastic example of how government, academia and industry can work together in the national interest. We have been able to attract first-class students to work on a wide range of information/cyber security research topics, knowing that they are suited for subsequent employment in critical national security roles. I am absolutely delighted that the CDT will continue to develop these talented individuals and their research“.

Author: Dylan Jones

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