2018-12/1544182924_wolverhampton-cyber-research-institute-artists-impression

Herefordshire Council has been urged to approve the launch of a new joint venture company with the University of Wolverhampton to build the centre at Skylon Park, creating 190 jobs and helping lead the UK’s fight against cybercrime.

The university and council will make a loan of £5m to the new company in return for a shareholding.

The new centre will offer research facilities through the university’s Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute (WCRI) as well as providing office space for cyber businesses and advanced training facilities designed specifically to tackle threats in cyberspace.

As well as creating jobs, the centre will help attract inward investment and form part of a 'Cyber Triangle' with GCHQ in Cheltenham, the Government Cyber Centre in Newport, South Wales, and Qinetiq in Worcestershire.The university has already secured grant funding of £4m from the Marches LEP Local Growth Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Councillors are being recommended to back the setting up of the joint venture company when they discuss the plans on Thursday 13 December.

The centre will offer more than 10,000 sq ft of research and development floor space in three cyber laboratories and business space for 16 companies.

Prof Ian Oakes, deputy vice-chancellor at the university, said:

"The university has already formed strong, collaborative relationships with key companies to engage with cyber research, training programmes and enterprise development and has a number of research teams associated with the development of cyber security.

"Our strategy is to bring together our collective expertise in a centre of excellence with partners both in the UK and internationally.

"The new centre will organise, facilitate and support the development of cyber security on a global scale whilst at the same time present us with opportunities to develop high quality academic, vocational educational and training programmes to address the digital skills shortage being experienced nationally."

Cllr David Harlow, cabinet member for economy and communications, added:

"Cybercrime currently costs the UK an estimated £20bn a year, and tackling this issue is at the forefront of global innovation.

"The new Centre for Cyber Security will contribute hugely to this burgeoning new field, including providing business space for research, product testing laboratory space and education and training, and will attract significant investment to the region.

"Herefordshire is already home to a cluster of cyber security businesses, and we are proud to be at the cutting edge of this emerging global field of expertise."