Lancaster University is set to be the lead academic partner the new Manchester Digital Innovation and Security Hub (DISH).
Led by Barclays Eagle Labs, DISH will be a place for collaboration between Manchester’s business and entrepreneurial community, leading academics, public sector organisations and the voluntary sector to identify digital security threats and innovative responses to them. The hub will offer co-working space as well as access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, allowing business residents to rapidly develop and test their products and services.
Announced by Manchester City Council this week, The 11,000 sq ft cybersecurity hub is a key element of the ambition to make Greater Manchester a top five European digital city region. It will help put the city in the international forefront of the response to digital threats and support its economic recovery by helping create the next generation of innovators.
To be located in Heron House in the heart of Manchester, together with GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre, DISH will be able to draw on world-class expertise, as well the knowledge and support of the consortium partners Barclays Eagle Labs, Plexal, Lancaster University and the University of Manchester.
Additionally, through its accelerator hub, start-ups and growing businesses can be nurtured through bespoke programmes and mentorship, and new commercial products and services to enhance digital security for organisations, businesses and individuals can be created.
The new hub will be a focal point for growing Manchester’s thriving digital security eco-system and help enhance its global profile while further developing and diversifying its talent pool. Manchester was named in the 2020 Tech Nation report as the fastest-growing major tech cluster in Europe with a strong platform for further growth. The digital, creative and technology sector here currently consists of around 10,000 businesses employing 86,000 people and contributing around £5 billion a year to the city’s economy.
As lead academic partner, Lancaster University brings world-class, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recognised research, education and engagement to the partnership.
One of the UK’s leading Universities for cyber security, Lancaster is among only five universities in the UK to gain NCSC recognition as a Gold Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE), an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR) and have its Cyber Security Master’s programme certified. It is also the only university in the North West to hold any of these recognitions.
This recognition by the NCSC demonstrates the University’s continual commitment to cyber security education, research and engagement.
A research intensive University, Lancaster is ranked in the top-ten of all UK league tables, it has been the highest ranked University in the North West for more than a decade and holds a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework.
Lancaster University also has a long track record for increasing the innovation capacity and competitiveness of SMEs across North West England, delivering more than 50 European Structural Investment Fund programmes with a combined value of over £220m. These programmes have supported over 10,000 SMEs, creating/ safeguarding more than 16,000 jobs, thereby achieving significant economic and social impact regionally and nationally.
Professor Andy Schofield, Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University has a strong and long-established track-record as being at the forefront of cyber security research and education. This is excellent news for the region and we are delighted to be at the centre of this important step forward, building on the critical mass in digital security skills and innovation in the North.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The past 12 months have provided a compelling illustration both of the increasingly complex threats to cybersecurity as more and more use is made of technology and the importance of investing in innovation.
“There is a real opportunity now for Manchester to become a centre of excellence in developing new products to help safeguard both the public sector and businesses of all sizes.
“This will help drive economic growth and job creation in this fast-growing area which is emerging as one of Manchester’s distinctive strengths. The fact that we are emerging from the economic shock of a pandemic makes the Digital Security Innovation Hub all the more important.”
Jon Hope, Director of Barclays Eagle Labs, said: “Through this partnership, we have a great opportunity to accelerate the growth of Manchester’s digital security ecosystem, at a time when the industry is becoming ever more vital.
“We’ll bring the full benefits and the cybersecurity expertise we have in our UK wide Eagle Labs network, along with the world-leading knowledge and expertise of our partners Plexal, Lancaster University and the University of Manchester to make Greater Manchester a magnet for regional growth and DISH an epicentre of digital security innovation”
The Manchester Digital Security Innovation Hub is supported by Greater Manchester Combined Authority through the Local Growth Fund. DISH will be up and running later this year.