15 December 2020

Abertay University named UK Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security

Abertay University named UK Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security

A student working on a computer

Dundee is poised to become Scotland’s cyber security capital as two major milestones prepare the city for significant growth in the sector.

Abertay University is today (TUES) named among the first eight UK universities to be awarded Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education recognition by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – part of GCHQ.

The accolade recognises the high quality of Abertay’s teaching, research and outreach work and is linked to the University’s plans for the cyberQuarter - a major project that has attracted £11.7m of UK and Scottish Government funding through the Tay Cities Region Deal, combined with a further £6.5 million investment from Abertay.

"This award from the National Cyber Security Centre is another step along the way to ensuring that Scotland is not only a cyber-resilient country but a leader in cyber security education.” - Deputy First Minister John Swinney

Following the signing of the Tay Cities Region Deal later this month, the cyberQuarter will bring a new research and development centre to Abertay’s campus in Dundee, providing a space where industry, academics and students work together on new solutions to real-world cyber security problems.

The cyberQuarter is also designed to attract existing cyber security firms to Dundee, support the creation of new companies and boost the security and resilience of the Scottish business community.

In granting Abertay Academic Centre of Excellence recognition, the NCSC recognised the plans for the cyberQuarter and the high quality of the University’s degree programmes.

"I am delighted that we are seeing Tayside go from strength to strength as a national hotbed of cyber research and innovation." - Iain Stewart, UK Government Minister

The NCSC also recognised a range of existing and planned work, including projects to increase female under-representation in the sector, an initiative to retrain armed forces veterans with cyber skills and a commitment to skill-up all students and staff in general cyber security.

The Academic Centre of Excellence will become the pathway for Abertay students to interact with and benefit from the research and knowledge exchange activities of the cyberQuarter and its business links.

Professor Nigel Seaton, Principal of Abertay University said: “Being named a UK Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education and the launch of the cyberQuarter project will place the University and the city of Dundee at the heart of Scotland’s cyber security sector. We are confident that by combining academic expertise, student talent, enterprise support and industry knowledge in this way, we have all the ingredients for significant sectoral growth and new job opportunities, as well as innovation in research and business development.”

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, said: “I am delighted we can now recognise the first tranche of universities as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Education, complementing our existing programmes which recognise high quality cyber security research and degree courses. It is a testament to the continual efforts of academics, support staff and senior management that cyber security remains high on their agenda. We very much look forward to working with them over the coming years and strongly encourage other universities to work towards achieving similar recognition in the future.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP said: “My warmest congratulations to the team at Abertay University for achieving recognition as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education. This award from the National Cyber Security Centre is another step along the way to ensuring that Scotland is not only a cyber-resilient country but a leader in cyber security education.”

UK Government Minister Iain Stewart said: “Congratulations to Abertay University on this important and prestigious accolade from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre. I am delighted that we are seeing Tayside go from strength to strength as a national hotbed of cyber research and innovation. The UK Government is supporting this through its £150 million investment in the Tay Cities Region Deal, which will create thousands of jobs and support our economic recovery from coronavirus.”

Dundee City Council Leader, Councillor John Alexander said: “Dundee is well known as one of Scotland’s leading tech industry hubs and the work being led by Abertay in the cyber security sector offers huge potential for the city to build on that reputation. It is fantastic to see the progression of these projects, which we hope will increase the resilience of Scotland’s businesses while also creating new opportunities for Dundee.”

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