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Bristol University to play pivotal role in protecting the country from cyber attack

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02 April 2012



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The University of Bristol has been awarded a new and prestigious status for its world-class research in the field of cyber security, playing a pivotal role in helping to make government, business and consumers more resilient to cyber attack.

It has been named today as an Academic Centre for Excellence in Cyber Security Research – a new status which means the University will work more closely with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK cyber community and industry.

Promoting academic excellence is at the heart of the Government's Cyber Security Strategy and the University of Bristol hopes this will lead to exciting opportunities for its students and graduates.

The centres have been introduced to increase the number of top quality graduates in the field of cyber security, ultimately aiming to build a skills base able to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business online.

Work carried out in at the University of Bristol will support GCHQ’s cyber defence mission, boost research to keep up pace with technological change and drive up the level of innovation.

In return, Bristol University will receive a £50,000 capital investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and future funding opportunities. It will also play a part in formulating the future Cyber Security research agenda.

The status has been awarded to eight universities by GCHQ in partnership with the Research Councils’ Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “Britain has one of the largest online economies in the world and a growing cyber security sector. Supporting universities to carry out more research and training skilled graduates to work in the cyber-security industry will help build further confidence in doing business online.

“There was strong competition among universities to be selected as a Centre of Excellence in cyber security research and I congratulate those who have been successful.”

Professor Nigel Smart, who is leading the Academic Centre for Excellence in Cyber Security Research at Bristol University, said: "Being awarded this status reaffirms the University of Bristol’s position as a leading research institution in this area, which is of immense importance not just to business but also national security.

“The Centre of Excellence spans areas as diverse as our Photonics work related to Quantum Key Distribution, and the mathematics and computer science work performed by our Cryptography Research Group. This is one of the world’s largest groups focusing on cryptography and provides some of the leading teaching programmes at the University of Bristol, including the successful MSc in Internet Technologies with Security."

Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: “We are delighted that our world-class research in cyber security has been recognised in this way. And it is undoubtedly true that by bringing together the very best research through these centres, the resultant whole will be greater than the sum of its parts.”