£9 million Centre for Cyber Security in Hereford close

Herefordshire County Council is being urged to approve the launch of a new joint venture company with the University of Wolverhampton to build the innovative Centre for Cyber Security at Skylon Park.

Making a total loan of £5 million to the new company alongside the university, the new centre will offer high quality research facilities through the University’s Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute (WCRI) as well as providing office space for cyber businesses and advanced training facilities designed specifically to tackle threats in cyber space.

The centre will also help attract inward investment and form part of a nationally-important Cyber Triangle with GCHQ in Cheltenham, the Government Cyber Centre in Newport, South Wales, andQinetiq in Worcestershire.

David Harlow, cabinet member for Economy and Communications, said: "Cyber crime currently costs the UK an estimated £20 billion a year, and tackling this issue is at the forefront of global innovation. The new Centre for Cyber Security will contribute hugely to this burgeoning new field, including providing business space for research, product testing laboratory space and education and training, and will attract significant investment to the region. Herefordshire is already home to a cluster of cyber security businesses, and we are proud to be at the cutting edge of this emerging global field of expertise.”

Ian Oakes, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, added: “The University has already formed strong, collaborative relationships with key companies to engage with cyber research, training programmes and enterprise development and has a number of research teams associated with the development of cyber security.

“Our strategy is to bring together our collective expertise in a centre of excellence with partners both in the UK and internationally. The new centre will organise, facilitate and support the development of cyber security on a global scale whilst at the same time present us with opportunities to develop high quality academic, vocational educational and training programmes to address the digital skills shortage being experienced nationally.”

Worryingly, 65 per cent of all large UK companies reported a cyber breach in the last year and threats to cyber security are persistent and constantly evolving. Councillors are being recommended to back the setting up of the joint venture company when they discuss the plans on 13 December.

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