Creating cutting-edge cyber defences

The UK will further cement its place as a world leader in fighting the growing cyber threat thanks to a new programme, which aims to connect industry and academics to develop the next generation of cyber security technology.

Creating an innovative cyber security industry

The Academic StartUp initiative will arm academics with the know-how and support to turn cutting-edge research ideas into commercial products and fast-track British ideas to market.

“Creating a thriving and innovative cyber security industry is all part of the work to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online,” says Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture. “This Academic StartUp programme will help turn our world-class research into world-class products and stimulate the development of our cyber security industry.”

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The scheme, funded and delivered by Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in partnership with the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK, will make sure as many good ideas as possible make it off the drawing board and into reality.

This will help the country’s cyber security sector, which contributed £1.8 billion in exports to the economy last year and was worth almost £22 billion. The initiative is part of the Government’s £1.9 billion national cyber security strategy, which aims to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online and includes opening a new National Cyber Security Centre.

Innovate UK, working the SETsquared Partnership, will receive £500k funding from DCMS to extend its existing ICURe (Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research) programme to include a cyber security strand.

The scheme has previously helped Zeetta Networks, a spin-out company from the University of Bristol, secure venture capital funding to develop ultra-HD video distribution, city-wide Wi-Fi and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

BluPoint, a spin-out company from the University of Southampton which provides free access to digital content and services for communities living without the internet, used to scheme to fine-tune its products and open up new markets in South Africa and the USA.

The scheme sees academics form product teams to market test new ideas with guidance from commercial experts. These teams connect directly with buyers and present their findings to a panel of industry experts who provide feedback and advice. The pilot may be extended so ideas become prototypes to be presented to investors at a demo day.

“The UK now has the opportunity to become a world leader in cyber security, creating jobs and driving productivity and growth. This latest programme will help fund the ideas with the greatest market potential from our world-class research base and support their development into new cyber security products and processes,” said Paul Mason, Director for Emerging and Enabling Technologies at Innovate UK.

Protection from cyber threats

This scheme forms part of the Government’s wider national cyber security strategy to help protect the UK from cyber threats. Also published today is our review of regulation and incentives around cyber security, which supports our aim to create the right regulatory framework for organisations to protect themselves without placing undue burdens on them.

It concludes no new specific legislation is required, but sets out some additional new measures to encourage businesses to improve their cyber security, including recognising the importance of the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation in incentivising organisations to take action.


Edited from press release by Jordan Platt.