Funding secured to develop high level cybersecurity course

The University of Wolverhampton, part of the West Midlands Combined Universities, has secured £192,000 to develop cybersecurity courses in support of the Industrial Strategy.

The funding has been awarded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) as part of its £6 million Catalyst Fund programme to co-develop and co-design courses in conjunction with local and national employers.

Working with employers and key partners, the West Midlands Cybercrime Unit and Satisnet, who provide cloud based training, the project will help to provide the cyber skills needed in the future economy and support the aims of the Industrial Strategy’s ‘Grand Challenges’.

The project aims to develop a Master’s Degree in Cybercrime, combining technical and management skills which will be offered as a weekend learning course.

The University of Wolverhampton has been working on cyber security initiatives for the past 10 years having established Warning, Advice and Reporting Points (WARPs) in the East and West Midlands and the South of England.  It has also invested £500,000 through its Research Investment Fund to set up the Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute.

Professor Amar Aggoun, Head of the School of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University, said:  “The growth of the UK’s digital economy depends on its ability to make sure it’s secure when it comes to cyber threats.  There’s a lack of skills and knowledge across the public and private sector and a need to develop specialist skills and capabilities to allow us to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology in order to manage the risks.

“The new course will be designed to appeal to anyone with working experience in the area from entrance level up to established consultants and practitioners.  It will be designed in conjunction with our partners using CyberKombat – a cybersecurity modelling, development training, testing and certification environment which mimics real world security architectures and operations centres.

“It is hoped that the course can eventually be rolled out to other areas across the country.”

Detective Sergeant Gary Sirrell, Regional Cyber Protect and Prevent Officer at the Cybercrime Unit, said: “We have worked with the University of Wolverhampton since the initiation of the Cybercrime Unit and want to further develop initiatives to assure the growth of the economy in the West Midlands region through an increased knowledge of cyber security risk and the safe use of technology.

“I believe that this successful bid will achieve significant impact on cybersecurity awareness and provide regional leadership for cybersecurity; a sustainable resource for cybercrime prevention in the West Midlands.”

John McCann, Director at Satisnet, said:  “We have pledged to provide our Cloud Training Environment free of charge for the project, providing CyberKomat software enabling interactive classroom simulations as well as providing facilities to learn hacking or defending techniques.”

The Cybercrime Unit will also help to develop tailored training programmes and provision of case study materials from ‘real events’ as well as creating materials to support activities.

Picture Caption: From left to right Professor Prashant Pillai, Professor of Cybersecurity at the University, Tony Proctor, Principal Lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University, Gregory Epiphaniou, Reader in Cybersecurity at the University, John McCann, Director at Satisnet, Professor Amar Aggoun, Head of School of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University and Detective Sergeant Gary Sirrell, Regional Cyber Protect and Prevent Officer at the West Midlands Cybercrime Unit.