Northumbria University recognised for excellence in cyber security research

Northumbria University, Newcastle, is one of just two universities to be newly recognised this year as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research by the National Cyber Security Centre and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACEs-CSR) scheme is sponsored through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It is one of a number of initiatives outlined in the UK Government’s£1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy2016-2021, ‘Protecting and Promoting the UK in a Digital World’, which outlines how Government is working with academia and industry to make the UK more resilient to cyber attacks.

After successfully meeting the scheme’s tough requirements, Northumbria has now been recognised as an ACE-CSR. The Northumbria Cyber Security Research Group leads the University’s research across this area. This multi-disciplinary group combines technical research on biometric encryption, wireless sensor networks, web security protocols, and image recognition, with human-centred work on usable security, privacy, trust and behaviour change. The group’s work identifies both the virtual and physical risks associated with connected smart cities and complements other work ongoing at the University relating to the digital living space, which explores the intersection of people, place and technology in the digital and urban environment.

Emphasising the importance of research in this area, Professor Lynne Coventry, Principal Investigator and Research Director of Psychology who leads the Northumbria Cyber Security Research Group, commented: “Cybersecurity research has typically been directed towards finding technological solutions, but as our technological perimeter has strengthened, people have been left behind and become prime targets for cyber attackers.

“To stop today’s advanced attacks we need to understand how to better protect the general public by adopting a people-centric cybersecurity strategy and exploring how to design security technology and policies which support individuals in their endeavours, rather than being perceived as a barrier. At Northumbria our holistic, multidisciplinary approach to cyber security integrates diverse knowledge from specialists in technology, human behaviour, business, law and design. We are delighted to receive this recognition for our work in these areas.”

Northumbria will join a community of a total of 19 Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, encompassing many hundreds of academic researchers across the full range of Cyber Security disciplines and representing the very best academic research capability in the UK.

Digital Minister Margot James said: “The UK has some of the best minds in the cyber security field and it’s only right that we recognise those universities that can excel when it comes to carrying out world leading research. The global threat of cyber security is never far from our minds we want to ensure that our best and brightest can help shape our national cyber security strategy.”

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for Cyber Growth at the National Cyber Security Centre, said: “Northumbria’s recognition is a testament to their commitment to producing world-leading cyber security research particularly at the boundaries of computer science and human factors. With two ACEs-CSR now based in Newcastle we’re really pleased to see the strength of the North East showing through.”

Professor Andrew Wathey, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University, said: “This announcement recognises Northumbria’s work in developing cutting edge solutions to the threats faced by our critical infrastructures. Northumbria’s research has a rising international reputation in the field, particularly in human-computer interaction, data fusion, privacy, digital economy and business, and digitally-enabled communities.”

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