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Abertay cyberQuarter announces founding partners

Abertay University has announced the first founding partners connected to its Abertay cyberQuarter centre – Scotland’s new hub for cybersecurity research, development and economic growth.

Funded by £5.7m from the UK Government and £6m from the Scottish Government through the Tay Cities Deal, Abertay cyberQuarter opened on the University campus in Dundee this summer and is now welcoming its new partners having hosted a series of conferences, research activities, industry workshops and learning sessions over the last six months. The cybersecurity arm of NHS National Services Scotland was first to announce their tenancy in September 2021, prior to the opening of the building, and has now been joined as founding partners by a stream of other businesses and organisations, including:

  • ScotlandIS
  • The Scottish Business Resilience Centre
  • Techscaler (by CodeBase)
  • Accenture
  • Sophos
  • Cyber Scotland
  • Dewar Cyber Consulting
  • Scotland 5G Centre
  • The Weir Group
  • Scottish Social Services Council
  • The Care Inspectorate

Each of the founding partners will have access to Abertay cyberQuarter’s secure office spaces, with the ability to locate staff in the hub and also to use it as a base for specific activities, projects or collaborations.

The building has a secure cloud-computing infrastructure for provision of teaching, R&D and knowledge exchange, allowing users to develop solutions to cyber threats without risking live business systems.

Operating on a subscription model, the founding partners pay an annual fee which covers use of the newly-renovated centre, but crucially also includes access to the academic expertise of Abertay University’s Division of Cybersecurity and opportunities to work with students coming through the graduate talent pipeline from the institution’s Ethical Hacking and Cybersecurity programmes.

An inaugural networking event for founding partners was held at Abertay cyberQuarter on Wednesday 14 December.

Director of Abertay cyberQuarter, Professor Lynne Coventry said securing the founding partners was an important step towards achieving the centre’s goals of creating new jobs for the region, driving forward research, knowledge-exchange and innovation activities, producing solutions to real-world cybersecurity problems and addressing the loss of Scotland’s best cybersecurity talent to other UK hubs.

She added: “This announcement marks another milestone moment for Abertay cyberQuarter as we continue to build the community of businesses, organisations and key stakeholders that we will engage with as we move forward. It’s hugely pleasing that our founding partners represent a diverse mix; from cybersecurity and tech companies with experience in the sector, to groups working to strengthen Scotland’s networking and resilience capabilities, and also to public sector partners who see the value in basing themselves in the heart of our thriving cyber community here in Dundee. On a global level, all organisations are facing an increasingly sophisticated range of cybersecurity threats. Abertay cyberQuarter can help generate solutions to these by providing a platform for collaboration between industry, our academic experts and our students.”

Karen Meechan CEO of ScotlandIS said: “ScotlandIS are delighted to be one of the founding partners of the cyberQuarter. We and our members have already benefited from this partnership and will continue to do so. We have great plans for our Cyber Cluster that our partnership with the cyberQuarter will help us achieve, and we look forward to continuing our close working relationship.”

Jude McCorry, CEO of the The Scottish Business Resilience Centre and Chair of Cyber Scotland said: “We are delighted to be part of the founding partners of Abertay cyberQuarter and to have a base in Dundee for staff and our team of ethical hacking students to work and collaborate with industry. From a Cyber Scotland perspective, it’s important to ensure we are not concentrating our efforts in just the central belt areas as cybercrime doesn’t have geographic boundaries – it’s an issue for everyone in all parts of Scotland.”

Jonathan Lee, Director of Public Sector at Sophos said: “In the UK’s first cybersecurity strategy, launched last year, the government outlined its intention to invest in people and skills and deepen the partnership between government, academia and industry. This initiative is a great step forward in achieving this and we are delighted to be a part of it. As a founding partner, Sophos is excited to share its knowledge and expertise, and engage with upcoming talent.”

Audrey Opdycke-Barnes, VP of Place at CodeBase said: “Techscaler is about helping startups and scaleups at every stage of growth to reach the next level by creating an environment where founders and would-be founders feel encouraged, informed, and supported – Abertay cyberQuarter certainly delivers that environment. We’re excited to partner with Abertay University to bring the Scottish Government’s Techscaler programme to cyberQuarter, supporting people in Dundee and across Scotland to start and grow their startups.”

Dr Robert Dewar CEO of Dewar Cyber Consulting: “Being a partner of the cyberQuarter is a fantastic opportunity for SMEs like mine. Scotland is a nation of SMEs and the cyberQuarter provides a great opportunity to collaborate, share experiences and develop ideas with peers as well as engage with the cyber security sector more broadly. The cyberQuarter was also chosen as the host for the Scottish iteration of the international Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge – working with the Scottish Government and the Atlantic Council in Washington, Dewar Cyber Consulting and Abertay University helped bring a unique learning experience to the Dundee.”

Kirsty Scott, Business Manager at the Scotland 5G Centre said: “We are excited to have the Scotland 5G Connect hub here in Dundee, in the midst of the Tay Cities Regions and at the centre of heralding in next generation technologists. We look forward to supporting local companies to test, design and prototype leading edge goods and services for the rapidly emerging industrial 5G era. This will require new digital innovation and critical thinking and are perfectly placed within the stakeholder network at the cyberQuarter.”

Scott McElney, Global Chief Information Security Officer at The Weir Group said: “The expertise, experience and talent our partnership with Abertay gives us access to will help us enhance our cyber defences and resilience. In particular, we are partnering on research into how we can reduce vulnerabilities in operational technology, as a direct benefit from being part of the cyberQuarter. Weir is also proud to be a partner of an initiative which highlights, supports and celebrates Scottish talent at the forefront of initiatives to reduce the impact and disruption caused by cyber-attacks globally.”

Lorraine Gray, Chief Executive of the Scottish Social Services Council said: “As digitally enabled care services continue to grow and evolve, it’s more important than ever that everyone is skilled and empowered to practice safely and securely online. Cybersecurity is not just something for digital specialists, it’s everyone’s responsibility and I’m really pleased to be working together with Abertay and the other partners to design and innovate for the future.”

Steven Flockhart, Director of Digital and Security at NHS National Services Scotland (NSS), said: “As the first tenants of the cyberQuarter, we’re delighted so many other partners have

joined this digital collaboration. We’re excited to continue our journey with our fellow tenants and look forward to developing partnerships that drive the digital agenda across Scotland. Our teams are at the heart of an NSS cybersecurity strategy that protects our NHS, ensures that patients’ data is secure and safeguards services that save lives.”

Jackie Irvine, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said: “The Care Inspectorate takes an intelligence-led, risk-based approach to our work with care services across Scotland. Therefore we are pleased to be part of this important work, developing safe and secure digital skills. This will help us to deliver on our key aims of supporting improvement in, and providing public assurance on, the quality of care experienced by people in every care service in Scotland.”

As Scotland’s only university to hold gold-level Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education recognition from the National Cyber Security Centre, Abertay is at the heart of the country’s cybersecurity community and graduates go on to work for companies in Scotland, across the UK and overseas.

The founding partner announcement follows success for Abertay cyberQuarter at last month’s Scottish Cyber Awards where the centre was named Best Cyber Start-Up.

Businesses or organisations interested in engaging with Abertay cyberQuarter can find out more on the centre’s website.

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