Imperial awarded “Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research” status.


The first eight UK universities conducting world class research in the field of cyber security have been awarded “Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research” status.

The Academic Centre of Excellence award has been made by GCHQ in partnership with the Research Councils’ Global Uncertainties Programme and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

The Centres of Excellence will benefit the UK by: 

  • Enhancing the UK’s cyber knowledge base through original research
  • Providing top quality graduates in the field of cyber security
  • Supporting GCHQ’s cyber defence mission
  • Driving up the level of innovation

The Centres of Excellence will help make the UK government, business and consumers more resilient to cyber attack by extending knowledge and enhancing skills in cyber security.

The eight Universities chosen as Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research are: 

  • University of Bristol
  • Imperial College London
  • Lancaster University
  • University of Oxford
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • University of Southampton
  • University College London

These Centres will be the first to attain Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research status and will benefit from: 

  • Closer collaboration with GCHQ, the UK Cyber Community and industry
  • Partnership endorsement in associated publications and prospectuses
  • Better understanding of Government and industrial cyber issues
  • Helping to formulate the future Cyber Security research agenda
  • Extra funding opportunities and £50,000 capital investment

Minister for Cyber Security Francis Maude said:  "We want to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business, by investing in the best expertise to keep pace with technological change. That is why promoting academic excellence is at the heart of the Government's Cyber Security Strategy. These first eight Centres will play a vital role in boosting research, expanding our cyber skills base and fostering innovation in the field."

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:  "Britain has one of the largest online economies in the world and a growing cyber security sector. Supporting universities to carry out more research and training skilled graduates to work in the cyber-security industry will help build further confidence in doing business online. There was strong competition among universities to be selected as a Centre of Excellence in cyber security research and I congratulate those who have been successful."

A GCHQ spokesman said:  "GCHQ's recognition of eight Universities as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research underlines our conviction in the vital role that academia has to play in nurturing future cyber security talent to support the UK's prosperity in our cyber age."

The Academic Centres of Excellence will open for business on 1st July 2012 for a period of five years. During this time GCHQ will encourage further universities to develop their capabilities in order to meet the stringent criteria for recognition. This will position the UK cyber research community as the pre-eminent environment in which to conduct leading edge research and in turn attract the best academics and research students in the UK and from overseas. The research conducted will support the drive for better cyber protection for the UK Government and enable businesses and consumers to safely benefit from the huge opportunities offered in cyberspace.

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