The University of Gloucestershire welcomed news that a joint funding bid for the Cyber Wales and West project has been shortlisted to move to the next phase of business planning. This brings the University one step closer to realising plans to develop the Cheltenham Cyber Business Park, as one component of a world-leading cyber innovation network in our area.
The University of Gloucestershire is a partner in a collaborative funding bid by four South West Universities to the Strength in Places programme. The bid is led by the University of Bristol and also includes the Universities of Bath and Cardiff. It is one of 24 projects across the UK to be awarded up to £50,000 each in wave 1 funding from UK Research and Innovation.
Through the Cyber Wales and West project we aim to provide an industry-focused test bed and innovation environment harnessing the experience, talent and entrepreneurial skill from across the region to create new opportunities in cyber security that will be of service to society.
The project is designed to drive economic growth by capitalising on a world-beating cluster of research and business investment, but in a way that achieves inclusive growth, enabling all of our communities across the region to benefit. Ultimately, the aim is to work with our partners across the region to support establishing new business growth and enterprise facilities, support training and provision of specialist up-skilling activities, grow capacity for world class research, create unique large-scale research platforms aimed at the cybersecurity challenges of infrastructure systems, develop an industrial cyber super-cluster, and harness the diversity of experience, talent, insight and entrepreneurial skill from all parts of our community.
One element of the project is to create a new innovation and enterprise hub on the proposed Cheltenham Cyber Business Park. The hub would complement and build on existing cyber innovation programmes led by GCHQ. The hub would draw on the University of Gloucestershire's track record and facilities in computing and cyber degree programmes, and our expertise in providing excellent Growth Hub services to support business. It would support the creation and growth of innovative cyber businesses as a core component in creating a thriving and successful Cyber Park, giving a major boost to growth and economic development in the county.
Professor Kamal Bechkoum, Head of the School of Business and Technology at the University of Gloucestershire, said:
“We are delighted by this news which will give us the opportunity to strengthen the central role we want to play in delivering the Cheltenham Cyber Park. Working with the research excellence of the Universities of Bristol, Bath and Cardiff, complementing the achievements of GCHQ's innovation programme, and coupled with our expertise in training and business support, our ambition is to provide a state of the art research and knowledge exchange facility at the Cyber Park. This will enable us to help deliver tomorrow's cyber solutions in terms of tools and infrastructure as well as skills and workforce development in this area of strategic importance."
This early-stage seed funding from UKRI allows the Cyber Wales and West project partners to develop the ideas and plans further. The team now has until later in the year to produce a more substantive bid for funding to see these proposals through to completion. Between four and eight of the strongest bids will receive between £10m and £50m each.