A dedicated cyber security research cluster has officially opened at the University of Abertay in Dundee with the objective of supporting Scotland’s rapidly growing cyber sector.
The first such cluster to open north of the border, the £18m Abertay cyberQuarter has been jointly funded by Westminster and Holyrood via the Tay Cities Region Deal, providing a dedicated physical space for collaboration and experimentation, and a secure cloud infrastructure for online learning, R&D and knowledge exchange.
The physical space at Abertay’s Annie Lamont Building is spread over four floors, providing a “flexible range” of open plan workspaces for groups, private offices for established cyber businesses or startups, seminar rooms, events, a cinema and lecture theatre, and an outdoor terrace.
The university has an established reputation as one of the UK’s cyber education leaders, and is the only Scottish institution to have yet received the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC’s) gold badge as an Academic Centre for Excellence in Cyber Security Education.
“Today is a truly landmark moment for Abertay University as we create a new home for Scotland’s cyber security community, around which the sector can be supported to experiment, develop and thrive,” said Liz Bacon, principal of Abertay University.
“This first-class hub will, crucially, help Scotland to retain the huge amount of graduate talent that comes out of Abertay and our partner institutions every year, and will also act as a secure, shared space where new solutions to global cyber challenges can be addressed for the common good.”
Scottish government employment minister Richard Lochhead added: “The opening of the Abertay cyberQuarter is an important moment for the university, region and sector. New opportunities in areas like cyber security are central to our commitment to deliver economic transformation.
“The Scottish government’s £6m funding through the Tay Cities Region Deal will help build on Abertay’s existing strengths to take advantage of these opportunities and deliver sustainable, inclusive prosperity for the region.”
Scotland minister Iain Stewart said: “The growing use of online platforms, cloud computing and online shopping means cyber security is more important than ever. There were more than 400 cyber attacks in Scotland in 2020-21, and more than a million incidents of computer misuse are reported across the UK each year.
“The launch of the cyberQuarter today further strengthens its reputation as the place to come for research and expertise on cyber security – an industry which will bring high-skilled work and investment to the region. The UK government is contributing £5.7m towards this fantastic facility.”
Among some of the organisations supporting the new centre from the start is the now well-established Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), which has already taken space at the facility and will host its first Exercise In A Box workshop at the cyberQuarter on 22 June.
The organisation said its increased presence in Dundee will boost opportunities to engage with organisations across Tayside, and provide a home for 20 part-time ethical hackers, many of whom are Abertay students or graduates.
SBRC CEO Jude McCorry said: “Abertay has long held an excellent reputation in the cyber industry. This week’s launch of the brand new cyberQuarter at Abertay University will extend this, and we have no doubt that it will be a positive space where academia and industry can unite to tackle cyber threats.
“Becoming a founding member of Abertay cyberQuarter was important for us, given that Dundee is already home to our brilliant team of ethical hackers, who work assiduously alongside their studies to support organisations across Scotland in becoming more cyber aware. I can’t wait to see the centre live up to its potential.”
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