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Online Fringe Festival puts cyber security on the international map

Online Fringe Festival puts cyber security on the international map

The academic team behind the new Midlands Centre for Cyber Security in Hereford put cyber security on the international map after delivering a successful online Cyber Fringe Festival recently.

The Festival, which ran during the last week in November 2020, featured 42 talks with delegates from 23 countries and 70 people from Herefordshire businesses taking part.

Experts from across the world delivered a range of Strategic, Operational and Technical online sessions covering Cyber industry, defence and emergency services as well as diversity, government, acceleration and skills.

Herefordshire will be home to the UK’s leading centre of excellence in cyber security when the new Midlands Quarter – Centre for Cyber Security is handed over later this month by construction contractor, Speller Metcalfe. The building is now complete and will be open in spring 2020.

The £9m state-of-the-art hub will support innovation and industry in the sector. The Centre is a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council and part-funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Academics from the University’s Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute, alongside partners, developed the fringe programme of online sessions in support of the cyber and security industry, drawing on expertise from across the globe to put the new centre on the cyber map.

Professor Prashant Pillai, Head of the School of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We were overwhelmed by the interest from across in the globe in the Cyber Fringe Festival, with speakers sharing their experiences, strategies and knowledge.

“Now, more than ever as globally we collectively try to recover following the Covid-19 pandemic, the sessions were of real value to people who are launching or growing their business.

“The expertise and specialist focus of the new centre will be part of a wider, growing campus of cyber sector companies based within the Cyber Quarter on Skylon Park. The area is already home to a highly regarded cyber economy, and the knowledge, expertise and opportunities that the centre brings will help to establish Herefordshire as one of the capitals of the cyber security sector.

“This Festival was very well received and covered some of the specialisms we offer, whilst at the same time, forging strategic partnerships and relationships with some of the world’s leading expertise in cyber and security, really put Herefordshire and the Midlands on the international map.”

Megan Gallagher, Client Relationship Manager at The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands, said: “"Thank you to the organisers for inviting myself and Hannah to speak at the Cyber Fringe Festival. It was such a fantastic opportunity to speak about my journey into cyber as a young woman to a large audience. 

“Diversity in Cyber is such a necessary conversation to have and I'm glad that we could show people that anyone can come into this industry, regardless of gender, age or background - as long as they have passion and commitment. The session ran smoothly and we both enjoyed the unique format of a conference simulation, especially during this period of reduced face-to-face contact. The team were super supportive in making sure we understood the platform well in advance to avoid confusion. 

“I look forward to seeing future events that the team put together!"

Nicki Roberts, Managing Director at Kinetic 6, said: ““Thank you for pulling off a great event! I personally made lots of contacts and learned a great deal and I know that the rest of the team benefited too. I found the talks on neuro diversity in the cyber sector very thought provoking but all the sessions I attended were of a high calibre and not at all affected by the festival being a totally virtual event.”

Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security will offer a package of tailored security testing, training, R&D and sector expertise to businesses and investors.

Supported by the university’s Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute (WCRI), the centre will also be home to 16 cyber SMEs and well as offering product testing and certification, CPD and short courses and cyber conferences attracting experts from across the globe.

Anyone interested in courses offered or businesses looking for incubation space can find out more about the Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security on the website. 

Photo CNI

“How to future proof critical national infrastructure”

How to future proof critical national infrastructure - Cyber Fringe Festival by Cyber Quarter Ltd (

A talk by Yasser Alobaidan, Charul C Jaitly, Professor Prashant Pillai, Greg Smith MP. Referencing how The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has embedded cyber security into the operations of government. The importance of business and cyber resilience.

Photo SEPAR Afghan

Empowering Afghan Women

A talk by Jo Smith, Managing Director, Separ International

Empowering Afghan Women - Cyber Fringe Festival by Cyber Quarter Ltd (

Discussing the work of SEPAR International over the last 7 years in Afghanistan and the progress and ongoing mission to empower Afghan women with our training, job opportunities and community outreach programmes.



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