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German visit opens doors to new cyber opportunities

University of Gloucestershire celebrated the one-year anniversary of its groundbreaking digital partnership in Germany by welcoming its partners from FHM University of Applied Sciences and Düren Council to explore opportunities to make new cyber connections in the county.

Regional partners were invited to Gloucestershire Business School to find out more about the programme of Cyber and Digital programmes, ranging from short “digital skills bootcamps” to full Masters programmes, being delivered by University of Gloucestershire in partnership with the Institute for Cyber Security and Digital Innovation (ICDI) in Düren, Germany.

The ICDI is a collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences Fachhochschule des Mittelstands (FHM) and the Düren Landraat (District Council). Recognising the need for the North Rhine Westphalia region to lead on digital innovation and address the cyber the skills gap to support its SMEs in a fast-changing world, Düren Council invested funding of 4.23 million euros over five years to establish a new facility.

Replicating the sector-leading technologies accessed by students at University of Gloucestershire, the multi-university facility features a cyber attack and defence room and digital lab. It will employ escape room models and offer collaborative events for local business, cyber awareness classes for schools, a cyber summer camp for children and after work sessions.

Student enrolment targets for both the BSc (Hons) Cyber and Computer Security and MSc Cyber Security programmes delivered by the University of Gloucestershire in the ICDI have been exceeded, and a high-quality team of academic and business professionals are supporting the ICDI development.    

To celebrate the anniversary, and look ahead to the next phase of the partnership, a delegation of civic and business leaders and senior members of FHM University visited Gloucestershire to explore new opportunities for collaboration with the CyberTech sector in the region. Presentations were also shared about the exciting future of the Golden Valley Development and the work of CyNam – a cyber cluster involving 4000 people from more than 150 companies.

University of Gloucestershire Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Marston, said: “We were delighted to welcome a delegation from Germany to share the successes of the first year of this ground-breaking partnership with many of those individuals leading the CyberTech agenda in the county.  

“With Gloucestershire having the greatest concentration of cyber tech firms outside of London, the visit enabled us to consider how the University, alongside our local authority and business partners, might deepen that relationship and explore new opportunities for innovation, enterprise, research and development.”

“Our discussions have shown that both in Gloucestershire and in Düren we have a shared ambition to work with our partners to create a new economic future for our community.  We can all see that Cyber and Digital will be foundational skills for innovative, successful businesses in the future.  We have a shared commitment to equip our students with those skills to lead future growth as we pivot from old industries to new.”

Professor Dr. Volker Wittberg, Vice Rector for Research and Development at the FHM University and head of the new institute said: “This innovative partnership builds on our international digital outreach all over the world, and provides new opportunities for learning, research and knowledge exchange that will give a brighter future to SMEs and young people in our region, as well as our partners.”

The development of the ICDI is only one element of University of Gloucestershire’s ambition to establish itself as a centre of excellence for computing and digital technologies. Developments over recent years include: