York Uni Joins Data Networks to Fight Cybercrime, Food Security

University of York

A new research programme is developing ways of extracting information from complex datasets to tackle a number of real-world issues, such as cyberattacks, greener power grids, and food security.

The programme will tackle real-world issues including ways to develop better crop yields

In 2022, cybercrime cost global businesses, consumers and governments an estimated £1 trillion. Through improved ways of pinpointing problems and making predictions, cyberattacks could be reduced, but in order to do this experts need to be able to extract useful information from network datasets that often evolve in real-time.


The programme, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will harness the expertise of statisticians and probabilists across six universities to improve analysis of complex network data.

The programme will look to develop more secure, greener power grids, better detection of cyberattacks, improved mail services and better crop yields.

Similarly, there is a need for research which will quantify the complex gene interactions in plants, contributing to the urgent need to tackle global food shortages.


By making it easier to identify problems and opportunities within datasets, government bodies and various types of industries can make more reliable plans that will put them in positions of strength in the future.

The Network Stochastic Processes and Time Series (NeST) partnership involves six universities – York, Bath, Bristol, Imperial College London, Oxford, and the London School of Economics and Political Science – and a range of companies and government organisations.


Professor Marina Knight from the Department of Mathematics at University of York, one of the NeST Deputy Directors, said: "Everyone involved is tremendously excited to have the opportunity to undertake this timely research into such an important, growing area.

"We aim to build a national centre showcasing our work and harnessing the skills of a highly diverse team with backgrounds in statistics, probability and data science. Demonstrating that maths is directly relevant to real-world issues impacting everyone's lives will be at the heart of NeST."


Jane Nicholson, EPSRC Director for Research Base, said: "The NeST programme demonstrates the fundamental importance of the mathematical sciences to important sectors such as energy, transport and cybersecurity.

"The team's work in establishing itself as a leader in the study and exploitation of dynamic networks, which will reflect the fact that the data which underpin these critical sectors is constantly changing, will deliver benefits for industry and key services which impact on our daily lives."

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