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Developing world-leading cyber security technology

23 September 2016

A partnership between DCMS, GCHQ and top tech start-ups to develop new technologies aimed at protecting the UK from cyber attacks has been announced.

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Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future, has been chosen to run a new cyber accelerator facility with the aim of helping UK start-ups grow and take the lead in producing the next generation of cyber security systems.

The tie-up is the first step in the development of two world-leading innovation centres as part of the Government’s £1.9bn National Cyber Security Program.

It will see start-ups gaining access to GCHQ’s world-class personnel and technological expertise to allow them to expand capability, improve ideas and devise cutting-edge products to outpace current and emerging threats.

The facility will also fast-track new firms into the booming cyber security sector which contributed £1.8 billion in exports to the UK economy last year and grew from £17.6 billion in 2014 to almost £22 billion in 2015.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock MP said 'We are making progress in our ambitious program to support innovation in cyber security, grow the UK’s thriving sector and protect Britain from cyber attacks and threats. Our two new Cyber Innovation Centres will bring together government, academic and business expertise, and will be invaluable in helping support start-up companies and develop world-class cyber technology'.

The accelerator will be based at a new Cheltenham Innovation Centre and is due to open around the turn of the year. A second innovation centre will open in London in 2017. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is contributing £50m over the next five years to deliver the two innovation centres.

Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK and Telefonica Open Future (UK), said “Wayra and Telefonica Open Future are immensely proud to be working in partnership with GCHQ on bringing further growth and opportunity to the UK’s cyber security ecosystem. Our shared vision will not only safeguard the country against cyber threats but also increase opportunities for UK-based start-ups and help establish the UK as a global hub for cyber talent.”

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for Cyber Skills and Growth, GCHQ, said “I’m really excited to be working with Wayra UK and the start-ups on what is a really novel project. Combining the knowledge and experience of GCHQ staff with some of the country’s newest start-ups and most creative entrepreneurs is really powerful combination and one I’m confident will deliver benefits to the cyber security of the UK.

“Cyber security is a team sport and as threats become more prolific and more complex, we should be sharing our experiences and views because there’s so much we can learn from each other.”

David Plumb, Digital Director at O2, said "This is an excellent partnership and great opportunity for all of us to work together to not only support the UK economy but also encourage businesses to take a real interest and invest further in cyber-security. We're devoted to ensuring our customers' lives are made easy and security is a priority here.

“We're pleased to see government investment in security, UK business nurturing and the level of expertise being shared through this partnership and I'm looking forward to seeing the benefits realised for customers."



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