It has been announced by GCHQ, one of the three UK intelligence agencies, that Oxford University has been recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research.
The award recognises the University’s long track record of excellence in this area of research and aims to ensure that work done at Oxford helps to protect the UK from cyber attack as well as opening up new business and research opportunities.
Oxford is one of the first eight UK universities conducting world class research in the field of cyber security to be awarded ‘Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research’ status by GCHQ in partnership with the Research Councils’ Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
The Centres of Excellence will benefit the UK by enhancing the UK’s cyber knowledge base through original research, providing top quality graduates in the field of cyber security, supporting GCHQ’s cyber defence mission, and driving up the level of innovation.
‘As we increasingly live our lives online, doing everything from banking to sharing work files or family photos, cyber security affects just about everyone,’ said Dr Andrew Martin of Oxford University’s Department of Computer Science, who led the Oxford bid. ‘It raises concerns for the individual, for business, and for government (who have ranked a cyber attack as a UK 'Tier 1 Threat').
‘Good security also creates new opportunities - for better privacy, new businesses, and more efficient online services. Our research tries to span these concerns - both trying to fix short-term problems and to explore how good security shapes new products and services in the future.’
The new Centre of Excellence will enhance the opportunities for business, government and other university partners to benefit from research at Oxford in areas such as; secure sharing of healthcare information, visualising the potential impact of cyber attacks, giving people more control over their personal data, and developing more secure alternatives to online passwords. It will also encourage further collaboration with groups both inside and outside the University.
Dr David Wallom, Associate Director - Innovation, of the Oxford e–Research Centre at Oxford University said: ‘Many disciplines today collect vast volumes of data, shared this between collaborators both inside and outside the academic sector, performing analysis, looking for patterns and unexpected links. These often have strong security needs, and so research in cyber security and its applications is crucial to the future of scientific research.’
The Academic Centres of Excellence will open for business on 1 July 2012 for a period of five years. During this time GCHQ will encourage further universities to develop their capabilities in order to meet the stringent criteria for recognition. This will position the UK cyber research community as the pre-eminent environment in which to conduct leading edge research and in turn attract the best academics and research students in the UK and from overseas.