U.K. pushes data infrastructure protection

Published 27 February 2009

U.K. government announces £6 million of research funding in the field of data infrastructure protection; application deadline is 23 April

The U.K. government has announced £6 million of research funding in the field of data infrastructure protection to improve technology security in the United Kingdom. The publicly funded research into this issue will combine academic expertise with industry experience from a range of disciplines, including systems engineering, data protection and social behavior.

In order to select suitable candidates for funding, the Technology Strategy Board has launched a competition to encourage stakeholders to bring together ideas and proposals to address these issues. Each submission is required to demonstrate how the participants will share their knowledge to meet the targets set out in the government’s National Information Assurance Strategy.

The competition also intends to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to get involved by holding information days and a fast-track route for submissions valued at less than £150,000.

The ultimate aim of the program is to accelerate the deployment of technology prototypes within the next five to seven years.

In addition to efforts of the Technology Strategy Board, support will be provided by the Center for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Funding may also be provided by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Andrew Tyrer, innovation platform leader at the Technology Strategy Board, told the Engineer: “In terms of our competence to do this, the UK is quite well placed. However no one has taken the knowledge and tried to use it correctively. The Australian and US government are doing some work on this but there is no real business collaboration to try and solve this problem. We realize that there is great potential for the UK to be at the forefront of this. By injecting government funding we will be able to accelerate our programs and make sure that we produce the first tool-sets. When we start to come out of recession it will let the businesses involved take advantage of the opportunities offered.”

A spokesperson from CPNI said: “This is not just about technology. Social sciences, pharmaceutical companies, finance specialists and biologists are just some of the potential participants we know who have expertise that can be applied. We are pleased to see that this competition is inclusive because getting a diverse mix of consortia is crucial to the delivery of results with real impact.”

The competition officially opens on 16 March and a deadline for expressions of interest must be submitted by 23 April. The deadline for full submissions is 25 June.