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Oxford and Royal Holloway to train cyber security graduates


Two new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), that will provide the UK with the next generation of researchers and leaders in cyber security, are announced today by Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts.

The Centres, which will be based at the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway, University of London, are jointly funded with a total of £7.5  million, with £2.5 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of the RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme and £5 million from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as part of its work in the National Cyber Security Programme.

David Willetts said: "Businesses are facing more cyber-attacks than ever before, putting their confidential information and intellectual property at risk. We must do everything we can to tackle this threat and make them less vulnerable. These new Centres will produce a new generation of cyber security specialists, able to use their skills and research expertise to improve cyber security and drive growth." 

The Centres, selected following a call for proposals issued in July 2012, will draw on a wide range of expertise to provide multi-disciplinary PhD training. They will also engage with industry to ensure training reflects the complex and dynamic nature of cyber threats. 

EPSRC's Chief Executive Professor David Delpy said: "Cyber security matters. It matters because the virtual world and the real world are conjoined and interdependent, from our hospitals to transport networks to the financial sector or our armed forces. Without the type of research being supported by EPSRC and our partners, the ability of individuals, businesses and our infrastructure to work effectively, productively and safely will be restricted and made vulnerable."

The training will comprise of a mixture of masters-level education in a range of subjects and a related challenging and original research project. Graduates will have the skills required to contribute research-derived expertise to business or government.

The  University of Oxford CDT will focus on emerging technology themes and cover some of the most pressing cyber security challenges faced by society today including: 

*           the security of 'Big Data'

*           cyber-physical security

*           effective systems verification and assurance

*           real-time security

Dr Andrew Martin who will lead the CDT at the University of Oxford said: "We have been building a wide inter-disciplinary collaboration to address the challenges of cyber security. The CDT team will not draw from just the technical perspective, but also disciplines such as social science, business, and strategic studies.  Mixing these with practitioner experiences from business and government, the students will gain a unique insight into the context of their work, and undertake research that makes a real, long-lasting contribution."

Dr Carlos Cid, who will lead the CDT at Royal Holloway, University of London said: "We are obviously delighted that our bid to host one of the Centres for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security was successful. One of the goals of the CDT is to contribute to the pool of UK-based doctoral-level cyber security experts, and we are aiming to recruit and train some of the most promising students to work in this field. We are looking forward to working with our industrial and academic partners to deliver training and research of thehighest quality to the CDT students."


 The Royal Holloway CDT will focus on problems faced by businesses and government such as:

*           provably-secure cryptographic systems and protocols

*           security of telecommunication networks and critical infrastructure 

*           trusted and trustworthy platforms

*          organisational processes and socio-technical systems


Doctoral training will last four years and, between them, both centres will produce at least 66 PhD graduates over the next seven years. The first cohorts of students are expected to start studying this autumn.

The University of  Oxford's Cyber Security Centre has been established to bring together experts from anumber of disciplines in Oxford and the wider world to address the cybersecurity challenges of the 21st century. It embraces challenge in technicaldifficulty and in new and potentially disruptive ideas, welcomes newcontributors to the domain, and will facilitate creativity. The Centre willdrive major developments in the theory and practice of cyber security, andaims to help in the creation of a safe, secure and prosperous cyberspacethrough internationally leading research and educational programmes.



The full press release is here:

Media coverage of the news includes:

* The BBC:

* The Telegraph: