Hacking for Security: Students to work on real-world security problems


Six figures in a discussion, abstract representation of idea generation.

MSc Security and Resilience students will work closely with the Ministry of Defence on problems such as naval navigation in polar regions.

Security is often only viewed through the narrow lens of conflict and war. The mission of the Institute for Security Science and Technology at Imperial College London is to challenge that perception and demonstrate the breadth and depth of a topic that touches everyone in society, wherever they are in the world. 

As part of that mission, 21 of the Institute’s Security & Resilience MSc students will work in teams for 10 weeks to find solutions for real-world problems in arenas as wide-ranging as naval navigation in polar regions, the creation of transportable and sustainable water supplies, and safe communication to and from areas with damaging levels of noise. 

The ‘Hacking for Security’ module is conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence and led by the Common Mission Project, an organisation focussed on building mission-driven entrepreneurs to solve critical national security and defence, civic and social challenges. 

Module lead, Dr Gareth Tear, said “Hacking for Security, as well as providing our students with exceptional teamwork and problem-solving skills for modern agile businesses, also gives them the opportunity to work on real global security challenges. Working with UK MoD and Common Mission Project to source globally relevant challenges allows the course to support both UK MoD’s global presence as well as our student’s international background.” 

Furrah Hussain, an alumna of the 2020 cohort, spoke enthusiastically about her time on the module: “Hacking for Security was an incredible hands-on course, not like one I’ve experienced before. This experience allowed me to understand the benefits of diversified mindsets and perspectives when problem solving. I now see the importance of being open-minded and appreciate the input of individuals with different experiences and backgrounds.” 

About the Common Mission Project 

The Common Mission Project’s mission is to create an international network of entrepreneurs driven to solve the critical challenges of our time—from national security to natural disasters, from energy to the environment. Solving these problems is our generational calling.  

The Common Mission Project is a registered charity in the UK and works in partnership with the UK Government, to support the delivery of our mission driven entrepreneurship courses at universities across the UK.  

Since its inception, the Common Mission Project has demonstrated that students can tackle some of the toughest government problems and, in doing so, create vibrant and diverse ecosystems where government, academia, and industry build partnerships around problems, prototypes, and solutions to urgent challenges facing the UK.  

H4 Today 

The Common Mission Project’s ‘Hacking for’ courses are run at over 62 universities around the world. The ‘Hacking for’ methodology was specifically designed for mission-driven organisations (e.g. government), enabling fresh talent, diversity of thought and approaches to engage with tough, recurring problems in big bureaucracies. The module’s interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial design provides students the opportunity to address these problems using non-traditional problem-solving methods to solve a problem in 10 weeks. 


Jack Cooper

Jack Cooper
Institute for Security Science & Technology


Security-science, Students
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