The trail-blazing project on Skylon Park, Hereford Enterprise Zone, is a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council and part-funded by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “The aim of the centre is to tackle the growing threat of cyber attacks which could significantly impact local, regional and national businesses.
“The University will provide significant resources for research and development through our Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute (WCRI) which is developing and leading an International Cyber Knowledge Hub to tackle threats in cyberspace with focus on providing expertise in relation to security for critical national infrastructure – particularly in terms of healthcare, transport and our physical environment including power grids, water networks and the nuclear industry.
“The shared facilities will also allow private sector businesses to benefit from the university’s networks and expertise as well as make use of the centre’s specialist training rooms and laboratory spaces.”
Cllr David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “We are very excited about this joint venture with the University of Wolverhampton, which is a key investment in creating more knowledge-based jobs in Herefordshire.
“The new Midlands Centre for Cyber Security is a fantastic facility which promises to attract new hi-tech investment, draw expertise and create high-income jobs in the County. It will create a range of opportunities in the growing cyber security sector in Herefordshire, which already has an established, highly regarded security industry.”
Andrew Manning Cox, chairman of Hereford Enterprise Zone and Marches LEP board member, said the new centre would further underline the zone’s position as a natural home for cyber security, business, research and innovation.
“Skylon Park has already been highlighted by the Government as having a crucial role to play in the growth of cyber research in this country and the new centre will put the zone firmly at the heart of this vital field.
“The national and international importance of the work which will be undertaken at the centre will act as a beacon of excellence, attracting still more investment at Skylon, the only Enterprise Zone in the country to focus on the defence and security sector.
“The result will be good news for Skylon Park, Hereford and the Marches region as a whole.”
Professor Prashant Pillai, Professor of Cyber Security and Director of WCRI, said: “The research group has been set up at the University to work on various security aspects like cryptographic solutions, security protocols, attack patterns and prediction, threat modelling, secure software testing and real time security analytics.
“We have also developed a wide range of cybersecurity CPD training designed to appeal to seasoned professionals as well as general enthusiasts, helping people and businesses to understand the best way to defend their products, systems and network.”
The 2,000 square metre building, designed by Associated Architects and built by Spellar Metcalfe, will provide significant resources for research and development across three cyber laboratories, advanced training facilities as part of the WCRI and additional business space for up to 16 cyber companies.
The centre, which secured £2.82m of funding via the Marches LEP’s Growth Deal with Government in 2017, is part of the new Cyber Quarter at Skylon Park, already home to numerous defence and security sector businesses.
The new centre incorporates a full height glass atrium to provide a dual break-out space and function hall, alongside the main three storey building that houses business suites, innovation rooms, IT workshops and a ‘Cyber Range’ – a cutting edge facility that will defend against the global rise of hacking.
The Cyber Quarter - Midlands Centre for Cyber Security is set to reach BREEAM Very Good, an industry-leading standard of sustainability and is set to open in Summer 2020.
Picture caption (top): Graham Wynn OBE, Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, Councillor David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council, Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton and Mark Pearce, Hereford Enterprise Zone.
Picture caption (bottom): Professor Amar Aggoun (Head of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Wolverhampton), David Holden (Project Quantity Surveyor - Speller Metcalfe), Richard Clarke (Project Manager - Speller Metcalfe), Graham Wynn OBE (Marches LEP), Councillor David Hitchiner (Leader of Herefordshire Council), Professor Geoff Layer (Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton), Mark Pearce (Hereford Enterprise Zone), Karen Morris (Strategic Capital Finance Manager - Herefordshire Council), Richard Ball (Director of Economy and Place - Herefordshire Council), Rebecca Macdonald (Associate Dean of Business Engagement - Faculty of Science and Engineering University of Wolverhampton) and Professor Prashant Pillai (Professor of Cyber Security and Director of Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute).
Notes to editors
About the University of Wolverhampton
Local Growth Fund
Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.
That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.
The government is committed to making the Midlands an Engine for Growth in the UK, increasing economic growth and improving the quality of life for everyone. The Midlands is home to over 10 million people and over 780,000 businesses. Its economy is worth £217.7 billion.
So far the government has awarded £1.9 billion in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Midlands.
8 Enterprise Zones have been established in the Midlands Engine since 2012, and 3 zones have been extended. By March 2016 these had attracted almost £1 billion of private investment, and created 85 new businesses and 7,291 jobs.
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is driving accelerated economic growth through investment in innovation, higher level skills, housing and business sites across the region.
The Marches region, which includes Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, is a dynamic business region where entrepreneurs flourish alongside global players. Covering 2,300 sq miles and with a growing population of 684,300, it is home to 30,775 businesses and a £14.3 billion economy.
Bordered by the West Midlands to the east and Wales to the west, the Marches' key centres of population and employment are the city of Hereford and thriving towns of Shrewsbury and Telford. A network of 25 smaller market towns and a large rural area make up the rest of the settlement mix – with the Marches recognised as being one of the most enterprising regions in the UK
The designated Enterprise Zone of the Marches LEP is in Hereford, at Skylon Park. It is the only Enterprise Zone in England with a unique defence and security sector focus, drawing on the city's heritage as the home of the SAS