Abertay University is to lead a new £11.7m project to create a cybersecurity research and development centre as part of the Tay Cities Deal.
Based on the Abertay campus in Dundee and run with core partners the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, the city’s new ‘cyberQuarter’ will be a cluster of academic and industry activity, offering expertise in applied research and access to a range of public-sector support for local businesses and public bodies.
Abertay was the first university in the world to offer degrees in Ethical Hacking, where students are trained in offensive cybersecurity and taught to think like hackers.
The project will tap into this sector-leading expertise while linking up with the digital industries ecosystem of Dundee and offering wider business-focused engagement through key partners.
“Cybersecurity is a sector rapidly expanding across the UK and every year there is high demand for the skilled Ethical Hacking graduates to graduate from Abertay" - Principal Nigel Seaton
The signing of the Tay Cities Deal saw the Scottish Government commit £6m to the cyberQuarter project, with the UK Government investing £5.7m.
Businesses in the new centre will be able to benefit from bespoke support and advice from Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise.
Abertay University Principal, Professor Nigel Seaton, said the Tay Cities Deal investment has the potential to ignite a major new industry for the area, following the hugely successful growth of the video games cluster.
He added: “Cybersecurity is a sector rapidly expanding across the UK and every year there is high demand for the skilled Ethical Hacking graduates to graduate from Abertay.
“The Tay Cities Deal announcement is a vitally important step in the growth of this emerging industry and will add yet another area of strength to Dundee’s digital economy.”
Mandy Haeburn-Little, Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre said: “Today is a milestone day for Scotland.
“I am delighted that our partnership vision with Abertay University has been recognised through this very significant investment which will be of benefit to every citizen in Scotland and of course to a much wider international audience also.”
Head of the Division of Cybersecurity at Abertay, Dr Natalie Coull said: “The cyberQuarter will help position Dundee as a key player in the UK cybersecurity industry and will play a crucial part in retaining the skills talent that we produce here.
“We are delighted to be leading on this fantastic opportunity for the area.”
Part of a regional strategy to build high quality jobs for the future, the cyberQuarter sits alongside a project led by the University of Dundee to establish the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science.
Together, these projects provide a nucleus for a cluster of expertise in cybersecurity and digital forensics which has the potential to accelerate company growth.
Both universities and their partners are committed to aligning of the goals and work programmes of these new centres to fit with the Scottish and UK Governments’ wider ambitions, strategies and action plans on cyberresilience and cybercrime.
Abertay offers BSc (Hons) Ethical Hacking, MSc Ethical Hacking and Cybersecurity and BSc (Hons) Computing from its Division of Cybersecurity, with students learning about penetration testing, digital forensics, human-computer interaction, usable security, IoT, secure software development, artificial intelligence, and parallel programming.