CSIT Labs is launched: An incubator programme designed to engineer viable ventures in cyber security

Belfast, 24 November 2015: A new incubator programme, CSIT Labs, https://csitlabs.com, designed to support new cyber security ventures start, scale and engineer minimum viable product that has a clear market fit was launched today by Queen’s University Belfast’s Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), the UK’s national Innovation and Knowledge Centre for cyber security.

Recent high profile cyber security breaches show the significant costs to businesses associated with such events in terms of the remediation, loss of customer trust and shareholder value. On Tuesday 17th November 2015 Chancellor George Osborne announced that UK Government funding for cyber security is set to double to £1.9bn by 2020. This highlights the importance being placed on tackling the scourge of cybercrime and the scale of the economic and commercial opportunity available for innovative new technologies and companies in this area.

CSIT has established a reputation as a global innovation hub for cyber security. The CSIT Labs incubator programme formalises its successful innovation process and expands it to enable teams from wider UK academia, organisations and start-up/SMEs to benefit from its experience, ecosystem and world leading engineering capability. Teams will partake in a managed incubator programme which, uniquely, provides up to 6 months engineering development resource, to take ideas and promising research in the field of cyber security through to investment and market ready stage.

CSIT, a recipient of a The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2015, was established as the UK’s national Innovation & Knowledge Centre (IKC) for cyber security in 2009 with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and InnovateUK with additional support from Invest Northern Ireland. In March 2015 CSIT announced phase 2 core funding, from EPSRC and InnovateUK, and with a focus on growth, CSIT will continue to produce ground breaking innovations and programmes aimed at scaling new UK cyber security ventures at the Centre, such as CSIT Labs.

Kevin Baughan, Director of Technology and Innovation at Innovate UK said:

“The UK has an excellent research base in cyber security. CSIT is at the forefront of carrying out both world leading science in this field and translating that into economic benefit through the creation of new ventures and working with start-ups and scaling SMEs across the UK. The CSIT Labs programme is exactly the type of programme we require to accelerate cyber security research into dynamic and innovative new companies which can compete on the world stage.”

Professor John McCanny, Principal Investigator of CSIT said:

“In securing a further five year funding term for CSIT we committed to raising the bar on growth. Through our CSIT Labs programme we plan to enable wider UK academia and start-ups to access our tried and tested innovation process, engineering resource, partner ecosystem and global reach to increase the number of viable new cyber security ventures competing on the world stage. Cyber security is one of the main pillars which supports a thriving and dynamic digital economy. We hope to ensure the UK continues to lead the way in this area.”

Apply now here: https://www.csitlabs.com/apply/


Media inquiries to David Crozier – CSIT Technical Marketing Manager Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 1754 Email: d.crozier@qub.ac.uk

Press release available here: CSIT Labs PR Final.

Hi res image with caption available to download here:

Professor John McCanny - Principal Investigator, CSIT, Kevin Baughan - Director of Technology and Innovation, Innovate UK and Louise Cushnahan, Innovation Programmes Manager, CSIT at the launch of CSIT Labs today in Belfast. CSIT Labs is an incubator programme designed to engineer viable ventures in cyber security and will be based at Queen's University Belfast's Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT).  Photography by Andrew Towe, Parkway Photography.

Professor John McCanny – Principal Investigator, CSIT, Kevin Baughan – Director of Technology and Innovation, Innovate UK and Louise Cushnahan, Innovation Programmes Manager, CSIT at the launch of CSIT Labs today in Belfast. CSIT Labs is an incubator programme designed to engineer viable ventures in cyber security and will be based at Queen’s University Belfast’s Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT). Photography by Andrew Towe, Parkway Photography.

CSIT awarded Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education

Royal recognition for CSIT in its fight to strengthen cyber security

Queen’s University Belfast is being honoured by Her Majesty the Queen for its work in strengthening global cyber security and protecting the online activity of billions of internet users around the world.

The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s – a major hub for research and innovation in cyber security – is being awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. The award comes two days after the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced plans to double funding to fight cybercrime in the effort to protect the UK from online attacks.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are part of the national honours system and recognise and honour outstanding achievement by universities and colleges in the United Kingdom.

Based at the Northern Ireland Science Park, in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, CSIT, with 90 people, is one of the UK’s largest university cyber security research centres. It has developed breakthrough innovations, including novel technology which will be integrated into Apps to improve security for online financial transactions; anti-counterfeit technology to prevent internet fraud; and new processors to deliver filtered internet to homes and businesses, stripping out viruses, malware and malicious content.

Welcoming the announcement, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston said: “Cyber security is now a major global challenge, with cyber crime increasing at an alarming rate. Earlier this week, the UK Government warned of the threat of cyber attacks on vital online infrastructure, such as that which supports hospitals, banks and air traffic control systems. The need for strong and resilient cyber security technologies has never been greater. CSIT is home to some of the world’s foremost cyber security experts. It is, and will continue to be, at the forefront of efforts to protect the UK from cyber attacks and to maintain the public’s trust that their online privacy and data is kept safe.

“Since its inception five years ago, CSIT has pioneered research, development and collaboration to protect people and business and drive economic development. The Centre has had a positive impact on the security of billions of internet users around the globe and we are delighted that has been recognised by the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. I congratulate all those involved.

“CSIT prides itself on two pillars of excellence – in its world-leading research, and its unique model for commercialising that research. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which assessed the quality of research in the UK’s higher education institutions, rated 93 per cent of CSIT’s research as world leading or internationally excellent.

“Alongside that research excellence, links with global companies including IBM, Intel, Infosys, Allstate, BAE Systems and Thales, provide valuable routes to market for CSIT’s technological innovations. Strong relationships with local companies also allow SMEs unrivalled access to engineering and research expertise, enabling them to grow their business internationally.

“CSIT has been a critical factor in securing almost 1,000 cyber security related jobs in Northern Ireland, injecting around £38 million per year into our economy. The Centre has helped put Northern Ireland firmly on the map as a lead region for cyber security – an achievement that further highlights the far reaching impact of University research.”

Professor John McCanny, Principal Investigator at CSIT, said: “CSIT’s unique strength lies in its approach to the innovation and commercialisation of Queen’s ground breaking research. It overlays an excellent academic research environment with an infrastructure that is more common in high-technology companies, creating a unique team of researchers, innovators and engineers that accelerates the translation of research into business. As a result, CSIT and Northern Ireland are fast becoming a global innovation hub for cyber security.”

CSIT is also meeting the increase in demand for cyber security education through its postgraduate courses, including a Masters in Cyber Security which is informed by the Centre’s world-class research in the areas of data, network, media and physical security. It also hosts the World Cyber Security Summit – an annual event which brings together the international research community, industry leaders and government policy makers in Belfast to discuss cyber security challenges.

CSIT is among the recipients announced at a special ceremony at St James’ Palace in London this evening.  The Queen’s Anniversary Prize will be presented at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in February.

For more information visit: http://www.csit.qub.ac.uk/News/Queens-Anniversary-Prize-2015/

Protecting SMEs – Project iMES officially commences

Seven Technologies Group, Lisburn, and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), Queens University Belfast, are pleased to announce a joint collaboration designing a cloud-based security service specifically designed to enable SMEs to achieve a high level of cyber security.

Project iMES (Intelligent Multifactor Endpoint Security) officially commenced the research phase in Quarter 2 2015 with the pilot launch planned for Quarter 1 2017. It is co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, with the aim of providing cyber security solutions to support SMEs across the UK.

iMES is a planned secure and innovative cloud-based Security and VPN service designed to increase the resilience of remote services, provide stronger identity assurance and improve interoperability between platforms. Designed specifically to tackle potential security vulnerabilities of using personal devices, iMES will provide corporate grade security for both iOS and Android platforms plus devices using Window OS, securing connectivity to the internet from any location.

The collaboration draws on the strength of two cyber-focussed enterprises whose aim is to be best in class for innovative Cyber Security. CSIT is renowned for global innovation in Cyber Security and are currently focussing on the next generation of disruptive secure information technologies. Seven is a UK Government approved supplier for its Cyber Security software, an area the company has invested in heavily over the last few years, supporting its full range of security solutions for businesses.

Marc Lade, Seven Technologies Group Cyber Business Development Manager, commented:

“We are delighted to be working with CSIT on this project. Project iMES is focussed on integrating cutting-edge technology into an easy to use solution to protect small and medium size businesses from the threat of cyber-attacks. The high costs associated with reliable security often mean that small businesses, without dedicated IT support, do not have secure ‘last-mile’ connectivity for remote workers using home or public Wi-Fi. iMES users will belong to a UK wide security group as part of a managed service.”

Gavin McWilliams, Engineering Manager CSIT said:

“Translating top class research into commercial impact is central to the CSIT ethos. The iMES project gives us an opportunity to apply novel lip movement biometrics into a user-centric security solution designed for SMEs. We were delighted to support Seven Technologies in their tendering exercise and look forward to development and delivery of a highly innovative cyber-security product which will further prove the depth of engineering talent in Northern Ireland.”

For more information on this story or any of Seven Technologies Group solutions please contact Sheila Harper, Marketing Executive – Sheila.Harper@7techgroup.com

Notes For The Editor

Seven Technologies Group
With over 30 years of commercial experience, and a pedigree of real-world operational experience to draw on, Seven prides itself in offering its customers the right solution for the right environment. Products, training, research and development, and integrated support are delivered with an operational focus from experienced practitioners and scientific experts and with a dedicated 24/7 support commitment.

For the commercial and industrial sectors, Seven specialise in the field of rugged electronic systems and provide a range of security solutions for Asset Management, Site Security, Cyber Security and Machine-to-Machine applications.
Seven’s approach to everything starts with the customer and its dedicated team shares their unique technical expertise and practical experience to deliver cost-effective and enduring solutions for both simple and complex requirements. For further information please visit www.7techgroup.com

Centre for Secure Information Technologies
The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) is the UK national Innovation and Knowledge transfer Centre for IT security. Established in 2009, CSIT is also recognised as an academic centre of excellence in cyber security research by the UK Research Council.

Queen’s University is one of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities, and has recently been placed in the Top Ten in the UK for research intensity in the Research Excellence Framework assessment. In this exercise, 93% of the research conducted by CSIT academics was adjudged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
For further information please visit www.csit.qub.ac.uk

Innovate UK
Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency. Taking a new idea to market is a challenge. Innovate UK funds, supports and connects innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth. For further information visit www.innovateuk.org

Euronext and CSIT collaborate to secure exchanges

The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), the UK’s lead university centre for cyber security research has today announced that Euronext, the primary exchange in the Euro zone with more than 1,300 listed issuers worth €3.1 trillion in market capitalisation, has become a Full Member and official partner. CSIT is an Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) based at Queen’s University of Belfast’s, Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) in the Northern Ireland Science Park.

Through its novel ‘Open Innovation’ model, CSIT recognises the importance of having appropriate partners shape and direct its research agenda so that it has strong commercial and societal impact.

CSIT membership will allow Euronext to leverage top tier cyber security research, ensuring its security posture is forward looking, dynamic, and cutting edge. Further, it will provide Euronext with the opportunity to test new security defence ideas and approaches, anticipate unique attack vectors, and work in a public-private partnership to quickly respond to future threats by leveraging some of the top academic minds in this field.

Robert Duncan, Chief Information Security Officer for Euronext, said: “We are pleased to announce a partnership with CSIT, one of the top cyber security clusters in the European Union. Ensuring we protect the exchange from any threat that could affect the orderly functioning of our markets is important to our customers, stakeholders, and regulator partners. Euronext deploys best of breed security technologies to support our Cyber Security strategy.”

Euronext has invested in a strong IT team based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Belfast has a strong reputation as a growing IT and Cyber Security Hub, and Euronext is well positioned to leverage a deep pool of local talent and growing Cyber and Technology skillsets in Belfast.

“Having Euronext as a member and collaborative partner helps to apply our cyber security expertise into different market verticals. Belfast is fast becoming a leading centre for capital markets engineering. Cyber security is an important element in maintaining trust in global markets.” said Stephen Wray, Commercial Director for CSIT.

“We look forward to working with Euronext in the months and years ahead to develop innovative new solutions to protect the exchange from cybercrime, external attacks, and malicious activities as well as looking at how our existing knowledge and IP can be applied to this industry.”

Find out more about the benefits of collaborating with CSIT here: http://www.csit.qub.ac.uk/CollaboratewithCSIT/

For more information contact David Crozier, CSIT Technical Marketing Manager: +44 28 9097 1700

Notes to editors:

About Euronext
Euronext is the primary exchange in the Euro zone with more than 1,300 listed issuers worth €3.1 trillion in market capitalisation, an unmatched blue-chip franchise consisting of 24 issuers in the EURO STOXX 50® benchmark and a strong, diverse domestic and international client base.

Euronext operates regulated and transparent equity and derivatives markets. Its total product offering includes Equities, Exchange Traded Funds, Warrants & Certificates, Bonds, Derivatives, Commodities and Indices. Euronext also leverages its expertise in running markets by providing technology and managed services to third parties. Euronext operates regulated markets, Alternext and the Free Market; in addition it offers EnterNext, which facilitates SMEs’ access to capital markets. https://www.euronext.com/en

About CSIT
The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), the UK’s lead university centre for cyber security research, is a UK innovation and knowledge centre (IKC) based at Queen’s University of Belfast’s, Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) in the Northern Ireland Science Park. CSIT has been awarded “Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research” status by the UK’s GCHQ in partnership with the Research Councils’ Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). CSIT’s vision is to be a global innovation hub for cyber security, accelerating new value creation, driving new venture creation and building capacity for the cyber security industry.http://www.csit.qub.ac.uk

CSIT’s PicoPUF triumphs at 2015 INVENT Awards

PicoPUF, a CSIT spinout new venture, has been awarded NISPConnect’s prestigious INVENT Award grand prize. The INVENT competition, in partnership with Bank of Ireland UK, is an opportunity for anyone with an innovative concept to be recognized as Northern Ireland’s next big thing. The competition has long been considered the foremost Night of Invention in the region.

The PicoPUF team have invented a tiny semiconductor IP core that provides strong, unique authentication for even the cheapest microchip. As well as winning the Electronics category the concept was also awarded the overall grand prize. PicoPUF was deemed by judges to have the most innovative product with the biggest global commercial potential. They faced stiff competition from 11 other finalists in categories including Agri-Food, Life and Health, and Enterprise Software. The award was presented to the trio of CSIT researchers who invented PicoPuf, Neil Hanley, Maire O’Neill, and Chongyan Gu. Their invention means that any grade of device can have the highest grade of security. They took home a prize package of £13,000, a fast-track to NISP’s Springboard programme, and a space on the NI TechMission to California in January 2016.

“There is a perfect storm happening in IT security right now.“ said PicoPUF founder Neil Hanley. “The huge number of devices on the market, combined with the low-cost nature of these devices, makes it impossible to use heavily-computationally-resourced security solutions. Lightweight security will be a game-changer and we are set to capitalize on that. This INVENT competition has been a massive step towards that goal, and we thank the Science Park for the chance to get involved. We can’t believe we won.”

PicoPUF is focused on the area of FPGA chips – used widely in aerospace and by the military – as their initial target market. They are currently raising £250k to fund staffing and development (with plans to hire additional engineers). After FPGA chips are tackled the group can look at other subsets of chips – for instance, those used in mobile phones and machine to machine authentication.

Rounding off a successful night for the Centre was Cognition Video, a processing framework that enables the effective understanding of media content using intelligent automated algorithms, which also won the Enterprise Software category. Cognition Video’s novel processing framework analysis video gathered by CCTV cameras, and uses intelligent automated algorithms to: (i) detect motion, such as a moving vehicles (ii) recognise faces (iii) identify gender, and even (iv) profile people by age.

“We are delighted to win the Enterprise Software category at the 2015 INVENT Awards against a particularly strong field. We know that Cognition Video has a market-leading solution for things like people tracking and motion detection, because we’ve tested it against competitors.” said founder Fabian Campbell-West, a Senior Engineer at CSIT. “Our real strength lies in our ability to cover everything a customer would need in video analytics. Our solution has a wide breadth of capabilities.“

At the moment, Fabian and his co-founder Bhargav Mitra are creating a roadmap and prioritizing development areas. The retail industry of the UK and Ireland is one of their first stopping off points because take-up is faster within retail as compared to dealing with councils or law enforcement agencies.