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Academic receives highest India UK honour for cyber achievements


A University of Wolverhampton academic has been selected as one of ‘75 at 75’ Achievers in the India UK Achievers Honours.

Professor Prashant Pillai, Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Exchange and Centre Director for the Midlands Centre for Cyber Security at the University of Wolverhampton, has been awarded the prestigious accolade in the category 'Education, Science and Innovation.'

The Honours were bestowed at the India UK Achievers Honours Ceremony on 25th January 2023. The Ceremony included a reception at the House of Commons, UK Parliament, followed by an awards ceremony.  The Honours celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence and India-UK educational ties by recognising and celebrating the work of 75 young Indian students and alumni who have pursued a British education and made remarkable contributions in their respective fields.

Professor Pillai’s education and training is in Electronics and IT security with interest in Artificial Intelligence and he has over 20 years’ award-winning success behind him, recognised for his progressive vision and academic leadership.

He has led numerous research projects in the areas of networking protocols and cyber security. His current role as Director of the partnership project in Herefordshire - Cyber Quarter – The Midlands Centre for Cyber Security - sees him pursuing the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and developing novel security solutions for safety-critical systems. His research aims to understand and solve security threats in cyberspace, expanding knowledge of cyber-crime on a large scale, with the aim of protecting the smart cities of the future.

Throughout his career, Professor Pillai has been recognised for his research efforts, including awards for performance recognition, best paper, excellence in achievement, and excellent achievement in research. He has also delivered several keynote talks, invite talks, and panel talks, to sharing his vast knowledge and specialisations with colleagues and partners from across the world.

Professor Pillai has attained an enormous number of accomplishments in the 20 years since studying his Master’s degree in Informatics. He has published over 100 papers furthering international understanding of cybercrime, systems, security, and other associated topics. He continues to develop innovative education programmes and direct important research projects to increase global understanding of the threats we face as technology continues to progress. Professor Pillai is also globally renown for positively transforming academic departments and research groups, driven by his willingness to lead and empower those he works alongside, building groups and organisations into bodies with positive working cultures and thriving levels of success.

The work that Professor Pillai had dedicated his life to is important to almost every aspect of society and helps to ensure that the systems of the future remain safe from malicious influence and harm.

Professor Pillai said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected to receive this honour. I came to the UK to pursue a PhD over 20 years back. Leaving India and coming to a foreign land was hard and faced several issues like all other international students. However, it was a great period where I learnt several new things, made lifelong friends and got exposed to the fantastic Higher Education system of the UK. I knew then that I wanted to be an academic, and never looked back.

"I am so honoured to be recognised for the work I have done as an academic and in cyber security. It was so humbling to share the stage with leading Indian politicians, artists, scientists, and sportspersons at the awards night.

"It was interesting to find out at the awards ceremony, that India has now overtaken China as the largest nationality being issued sponsored study visas in the UK. We are seeing a rise in the number of Indian students coming to the UK to pursue higher education."

The students are part of the 'living bridge' between the two great nations, a phrase coined by the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.

Professor Pillai was also recently awarded an MBE in the 2023 New Year Honours List.

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