The University of Manchester is partnering with fellow Northwest universities and local Small-to-Medium-Enterprises to deliver a £6 million, European Funded business support project over the next three years.
Cyber-attacks pose an £860m risk to the region’s businesses each year according to estimates by the Lloyds City Risk Register. The GM Cyber Foundry aims to combat these threats by combining expertise and research in Cyber Security to create new products and services for SMEs. Manchester will be working in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University, Lancaster University and the University of Salford to help empower Greater Manchester’s small and medium-sized companies to protect themselves against malicious computer attacks.
The Cyber Foundry will match the research strengths of each university to the business needs of the local community; projects and technical assists can then be developed in a targeted and streamlined way through business development intervention. It will also enable cybersecurity research capability, which is in great demand in the region, to be managed efficiently.
Dr Daniel Dresner, Academic Coordinator for Digital Trust & Security and Lecturer in Cyber Security at The University of Manchester says:
“We'll jointly run targeted business engagement sessions, to supply specialised cybersecurity support and guidance, and also identify projects that can harness research and innovation expertise from the four partner universities. The goal is to see the development of novel cybersecurity products and services.”
The GM Cyber Foundry has been approved by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which allocated £3m of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding to the scheme. With over £25m being invested in fibre broadband connectivity, a planned £5m Cyber Innovation Centre, and the new GCHQ site, Greater Manchester is both a major hub for digital development and research, and a trusted place to do business.
Dr Dresner added:
I'm thrilled to be working with SMEs again on pragmatic, applied Cyber Security research to make working in GMCA's business ecosystem that bit safer. Direct innovation with them is the next logical step after my part in a Technology Strategy Board supported project that created the only information security benchmark designed with SMEs in mind.
The GM Cyber Foundry aims to engage 150 Manchester SMEs over the next three years (October 2018 - September 2021). Participation in the GM Cyber Foundry programme is fully funded for eligible businesses (Greater Manchester based SMEs) and all business sectors are eligible to participate.
First stage participants will receive 12 hours of free support including an online diagnostic tool, a face-to-face one-day workshop and a subsequent one-to-one interview. These will help participants to create an individualised business strategy and step-by-step action plan for the development of new products and services underpinned by cyber security innovation, coupled with appropriate signposting to access the cyber security innovation base available in the region.
The GM Cyber Foundry programme will also identify businesses that could benefit from further hands-on technical support from an expert team at one of the participating Universities. If you’re interested in participating in the pilot cohort and learning more about the Cyber Foundry project, please get in contact using the form in the sidebar and we will arrange to follow-up with you.
The University of Manchester has embedded teaching and projects for Cyber Security on its undergraduate courses and has extended this to dedicated themes in its Masters programmes. The latter have hosted over 1500 students and 50 student dissertation projects. The University's Cyber Security research programme ranges from the sociotechnical aspects of cyber to fundamental trustworthiness for cyber security that is afforded by software verification. Its data scientists are proactive in the research and implementation of privacy and anonymity underpinning Cyber Security and its legal scholars work on the national and international aspects of cyber security law. University of Manchester staff were at the centre of the establishment of the only international governance standard for cyber security SMEs , and contributed to the definition of the National Cyber Security Centre's Cyber Essentials Scheme.