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Launch of Cyber Innovation Hub

3 May 2023

Students in cyber security research lab

A Cyber Innovation Hub (CIH) that aims to transform South Wales into a leading cluster has been formally launched today in Cardiff.

CIH is on a mission to transform South Wales into a leading cyber security cluster by 2030.  It aims to do this by creating a world-class pipeline of new cyber security products, high-growth businesses, and technically-skilled talent.

CIH is led by Cardiff University and funded by Welsh Government and Cardiff Capital Region (CCR), alongside knowhow from partners including Airbus, the Alacrity Foundation, CGI, Thales, Tramshed Tech, and the University of South Wales.

Politicians, industry leaders, academics and funders from across the UK joined the launch at the University’s Abacws building.

Speaking at the event, Welsh Government Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Government is proud to co-fund the CIH in its mission to transform Cardiff Capital Region into one of the UK’s leading cyber clusters by 2030.

“The CIH will be a vital pillar in supporting the Welsh economy by creating high value jobs and a skilled workforce to meet the demands of the cyber security sector.

“The Hub will also help deliver the vision set out in the Welsh Government’s recently launched Cyber Action Plan for Wales by promoting strong partnerships and collaboration so that we can build upon and grow our cyber ecosystem, bringing even further benefits to the economy and achieving a prosperous and resilient future for Wales.”

The Welsh Government is making a £3 million investment in the new Hub over 2 years, with £3 million of co-funding from CCR and £3.5 million of in-kind match funding from consortium partners.

Kellie Beirne, CEO, CCR, emphasised the importance of the cluster to its locality: “CIH offers a unique opportunity to bring together four complementary elements – academia, government, businesses and capital – to create a force for new enterprise creation, innovation and skills that gives CCR a competitive advantage against other UK regions.”

Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies MP said: “I was delighted to attend the launch of the Cyber Innovation Hub at Cardiff University and hear about the fantastic potential for the Cardiff Capital Region to become a leader in cybersecurity, creating highly skilled and well paid jobs in a sector that growing incredibly quickly.

“Cardiff Capital Region already has a great reputation for cybersecurity and this facility will bring together researchers, innovators and businesses interests and will be step-change for the sector. The UK Government is proud to have contributed £3m which, along with our partners, has helped bring this about.”

Cardiff University and University of South Wales are recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) as Academic Centres of Excellence in research and education.

Professor Pete Burnap, Director of CIH said: “Thanks to Welsh Government and CCR support, CIH has the opportunity to really accelerate the growth of the cyber sector in South Wales. This is a unique opportunity to galvanise the existing expertise and investments in the region by joining the dots to work as an outcome-focussed cluster. We aim to grow the number of cyber security companies anchored in Wales by 50% and upskill 1500 people with hands-on technical skills through bitesize, affordable training.

“Private and public sector companies are now developing market-led cyber challenges, we’re match-making the best idea creators with entrepreneurial talent to build teams that rapidly develop high quality IP and build new cyber products. During this process we are working with the broader start-up and financing ecosystem in Wales to ensure these companies are scaling by design and can trade around the World.

“CIH has already made great strides in the 6 months since the project started, with recruitment of staff underway, establishing external advisory and governance boards from private and public sector, development of our first market-led challenge with 3 new startups based around PhD-led ideas in play that were showcased at the launch today, and the development of a survey for employers to find out more about the difficulties they face in recruiting people with cyber skills.”

According to a UK Government Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis from 2022, some 46 cyber-related businesses are registered in Wales, employing 4% of all cyber security professionals based in the UK, with an average advertised salary of £49,600. CIH aims also extend to attracting companies not yet anchored in Wales to move here, based on the game changing talent development activities, which would create more high-value jobs for local people.

The Cyber Innovation Hub is based in sbarc|spark. Home to talented people who create new ventures, sbarc|spark connects entrepreneurs, organisations and public sector leaders with world-class researchers and professional advisers.

For more information about the Cyber Innovation Hub and its plans for the future, please visit the Hub’s website.

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