Nine grant winners share £10 million to secure UK’s digital services

11 June 2020 | Muriel Cozier

Government funding will help ‘radically update the security foundations of digital computing infrastructure that underpins the UK economy’.

The UK government has announced the names of nine academic research teams that will share £10 million to develop solutions to strengthen the security of digital devices and services.

The winners, which include teams from the University of Southampton, the University of Glasgow and the  University of Birmingham, will use the funding, spread over four years, to build on earlier work in which researchers were involved in the development of ‘cutting-edge microprocessor technology known as Capability Hardware.’ This technology has safeguards built in to increase its security and can be used in anything from supercomputers and servers to laptops and smartphones. The technology will soon underpin secure digital devices and services around the world.

Grant winners will create enhanced software and applications that ensure code is secure and hacking attempts can be contained. Each team will create a working example of their solution, using prototype chips, to showcase the economic and societal benefits of their secure technology.

The new funding comes from the Government’s Digital Security by Design programme, which was launched last year. Its aim is to improve security and prevent hackers from remotely taking control of digital systems. According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020, 46% of businesses and 26% of charities reported experiencing cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months.  The funding forms part of the government’s commitment to increase investment in R&D by 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway commented, ‘Cyber-attacks can cause significant economic and social damage and leave a lasting mark on affected businesses. Today’s funding will allow some of the country’s most innovative businesses and academics to work together on digital solutions to tackle these threats.’

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