Cyber security centre of excellence to open at Cardiff University

24 April 2017

Computer code

A new research centre set up to provide world-leading research into the ever-growing problem of cyber security has today been launched by Cardiff University and Airbus.

The Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics will be located at Cardiff University’s School of Computer Science and Informatics and will be the first centre of its kind in Europe.

World-leading studies

Together with experts from Airbus, researchers will carry out world-leading studies into machine learning, data analytics, and artificial intelligence for cyber-attack detection. This research will aim to protect corporate IT networks, intellectual property, and critical national infrastructure.

The centre, which forms part of a strategic Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties, will also develop industry-relevant academic programmes in cyber security at the University, in an attempt to fill the skills gap that currently exists in the field.

The agreement will also support knowledge sharing between Airbus and Cardiff University, with the potential for secondments and industrial placements to be made available for researchers and students.

Cardiff University’s Dr Pete Burnap, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security Analytics, said: “Cyber security analytics is about improving our resilience to cyber-attacks through data modelling to detect and block malicious behaviour before it causes its full impact; but also about understanding what motivates the behaviour, what its likely impact will be, and how to communicate security alerts among decision and policy-makers...”

Pete Burnap

“The centre is interdisciplinary by design and will draw together expertise in cyber security from across the whole University.”

Dr Pete Burnap, Reader in Data Science & Cyber Analytics

Dr Kevin Jones, Head of Cyber Security Innovation at Airbus, said: “Collaborating with leading Universities such as Cardiff to research and develop sophisticated machine learning and data analytics for attack detection is a key approach in the future protection of critical systems...”

“The launch of the Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics is an enabler for the rapid transfer of research into operational activities and ensures that researchers are able to access the latest techniques and data, and in addition are supported by Airbus experts.”

Dr Kevin Jones, Head of Cyber Security Innovation at Airbus

Cutting-edge machine learning algorithms

In tandem with the launch of the Centre of Excellence, Cardiff University has recently been awarded almost £2m in external funding from a range of sources, including UK research councils, industry and government, to launch major new programmes over the next 3 years, aimed at developing cutting-edge machine learning algorithms to detect cyber threats targeting various internet-enabled environments, including online social media to control systems in critical national infrastructure.

Together, Cardiff University and Airbus have already received more than £1m of funding for cyber security, including studying risks to the systems underpinning critical national infrastructure. This was part-funded by the Endeavour programme backed by Airbus and Welsh Government.

Cardiff University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, said: “This exciting new partnership is a great example of how Cardiff University’s expertise is linking up with world-leading businesses to make a better future for Wales and the world...”

VC Prof. Colin Riordan (Square)

“Cyber security research is of critical importance in our digital society so it’s extremely important that we find innovative, real-world solutions to help detect, and protect against, dangerous cyber-attacks.”

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University
For more information visit the School webpages.