The University of Surrey has announced the launch of the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS).
Offering a means for academia and industry to work together on research, Michael Kearney, vice president of research and innovation at University of Surrey, called it an “an important initiative in its own right”.
He said that it will be supported with investment and staff, and this fitted within the wider realm of security as a generic theme, and with different aspects of what goes on in other areas of the university “where security is a key thing for the overall strategy”.
SCCS director Steve Schneider said at this week’s launch that the reason for setting SCCS was to consolidate what going on in the University of Surrey and after a number of academic appointments, it made sense to bring these together within the inter-disciplinary aspect of cyber security.
He said: “Many faculties have areas that touch on cyber security, and we are interested in developing links with academic community, with the public and private sectors and Government and organisations outside of the university. It makes sense to bring them under one shop window and present various aspects of security that we have to offer, and look at security within university and what capabilities we can grow.”
He confirmed that the SCCS will consist of seven academics with another set to be recruited, Schneider as director and two deputies. There will also be 21 associate academics drawn from seven departments.
This year also sees the University launch its MSc in Information Security that will consist of eight security modules and a project. Schneider confirmed that the emphasis is on practice, underpinned by rigorous foundations and a strong emphasis on industry. “The aim is to use the applied security lab to support coursework and opportunities to support MSc projects. This will be offered full time this year and as part time offer from 2015.”
The three research themes of the SCCS will be on: privacy and data protection; secure communications; and human centred (human factors) security. “They all have an impact on each other and take account of all aspects of these themes to deliver a secure system,” he said. “What drives research is matching research and what goes on in real world and we are keen to engage in targeted research projects and involve in large consortia.”
Alan Woodward, a visiting professor at the University of Surrey, said that at the moment it was being established and was seeking the GCHQ Academic Centre of Excellence (ACE) stamp to align it with other universities, but it will aim to provide a link between Government, industry and academia.
“The idea is get stakeholders involved and the associate members like me and others who are covering other areas, and it seemed to us that there are very few places where you get that whole range of disciplines coming together and that was the idea behind it; to try and be slightly different,” he said
“Whilst there are industrial sponsors and the Government are involved, they bring in people like me who are involved with both, it is more about challenging the status quo. Think about security architecture, but start thinking ahead and critically analysing things and see technologies come out and put together human, compliance and legal aspects, it doesn’t work and you need to take an all round view, and few places are doing that.”