Cyber Security Academic Startups Accelerator Programme

Posted on: 04/06/2018

17 out of 26 teams have now moved to the second stage of the Programme, funded by the DCMS in collaboration with Innovate UK and KTN.

As news headlines show, cyber security has become one of the great challenges of the digital economy. The protection of information systems and the data they hold has become a profound issue for governments, businesses, citizens and consumers. Whether it is criminal justice, national elections, insurance records or e-commerce platforms, integrity is paramount – confidence, trust, privacy and security underpin the internet just as much as routers, switches and fibre optic cable.

As well as requiring policy frameworks and carefully designed regulation, any challenge this great is also, of course, an opportunity for enterprise and innovation. The clients and customers for cyber security solutions are certainly out there – according to a recent report, the global cyber security market is projected to be worth $165bn by 2023, with an annual growth rate of more than 10%.

The UK is already at the forefront of this industry, with long-standing strengths in security and intelligence combined with in-depth research and university expertise, as well as a thriving technology scene and investment community. It is for this reason that in 2017 the UK government, in support of the Develop strand of the 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy, established the Cyber Security Academic Startup Accelerator Programme, to stimulate commercial exploitation of the knowledge base and further accelerate cyber security enterprise. The Programme is funded by DCMS (the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) in collaboration with Innovate UK and Knowledge Transfer Network.

The interest and innovation generated by this programme has already demonstrated the UK’s strengths. The Year 1 programme had an initial cohort of 12 academic teams with 7 ‘graduating’ in October 2017 with a demo day held at Level 39, Canary Wharf.

In 2018, 26 teams drawn from 22 universities took part in the initial phase of the programme, in which they were helped to develop their research work into a value proposition. The range of projects gives a sense of the diversity of applications, the market potential and the innovations taking place. Whether it is Oxford University’s Securing the Smarthome, which aims to provide a personalised home security assistant, Newcastle University’s e-voting verification system or Wolverhampton University’s process for online monitoring of violent offenders, the very latest encryption and recognition technologies are being developed and, crucially, applied to real-world problems.

Over the course of the six-week programme, the teams were given intensive support by industry experts in order to determine the potential value of an idea, to scope the opportunity and identify a business model, route to market and further development. Through a judging process, 17 of the 26 teams have now moved to the next stage of the programme: market validation.

The 17 teams will be represented at InfoSecurity Europe on 5th – 7th June at London Olympia. Details of the teams and their projects are available here.

Innovation in a field as fast-moving and complex as cyber security is inherently risky, with evolving platforms and regulations and new devices and requirements constantly coming to market. But the growing market size, combined with support such as the Cyber Academic Startups Programme and investment through DCMS and Innovate UK, mean that the UK cyber security researchers and entrepreneurs have all the encouragement they need to innovate and prosper.

If you are involved in cyber security and would like to find out how KTN can help you, please contact our Cybersecurity Knowledge Transfer Manager, Robin Kennedy: email or telephone 07870 899956.

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