Insights from the US East Coast Cyber Security Global Expert Missions and opportunities for UK business in the US market

Posted on: 18/09/2019

In September 2019, Nee-Joo Teh, Aline Martins and Jon Kingsbury, KTN, visited USA for a Cyber Security Global Expert Mission


The UK has the ambition of becoming one of the most cyber safe nations in the world. As set out in the National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021, the government is investing £1.9 billion to defend the country’s critical infrastructure and systems, to deter cyber threats, and to develop and grow the national cyber security industry. To achieve these objectives, the strategy also calls for international action and the enhancement of partnerships with key economies around the world “that can shape the global evolution of the cyber space”.


In line with the National Cyber Security Strategy, the government via UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) is investing actively to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of cyber security innovation. As part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), UKRI will invest £70 million in the Digital Security by Design Challenge. The Challenge will thoroughly renew the foundations of the UK’s digital computing infrastructure, increase productivity by reducing losses due to cyber-attacks and facilitate the adoption of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things.


Undeniably, one of the most evident partners for the UK in its pursuit of its cyber security and innovation objectives is the US. Both nations are part of the Five Eyes group of countries and share the same cyber threats and vulnerabilities. Moreover, underpinned by the US and UK’s ‘Special Relationship’, elements of the recently established US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)¬†were inspired by the UK‚Äôs National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).


The UK and the US also have strong collaboration ties in science and innovation. UKRI has had an office in the US since 2008, and in 2017 this relationship was strengthened by the signing of the UK-US Science and Technology Agreement which is now paving the way for further partnerships across US and UK government agencies, national labs and universities.


Additionally, the US is the global leader in cyber security. Between 2014-2019, the US accounted for 64.3% of the world’s cyber security investment deals, 71% of all cyber companies are headquartered in the US, and 6 out of 8 cyber security companies valued at $1B are from the US[1]. The US is also an attractive market for innovative UK business looking to scale internationally as the country is expected to spend $ 70 billion in cyber security tools by 2020[2].


With this opportunity in mind and intending to gather insights on the US cybersecurity landscape and strengthening some of the already existing innovation ties between the US and the UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) led a Global Expert Mission on behalf of Innovate UK to Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC on the week of 2nd September 2019. The Mission was comprised of experts representing government, research centres, and industry including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the NCSC, the Digital Catapult, the fast-growing DarkTrace, the multinational BT and the innovative start-up Assentian Partners.


During a week of activities, the UK experts met with a broad range of stakeholders such as the Internet Security Alliance (ISA), the US Cyber Command, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). In DC, the delegates also had the opportunity of attending the 10th Billington Cybersecurity Summit, one of the world’s highest-regarded events focused on national cybersecurity.


The delegation also had a series of meetings in the State of Maryland including with fast-growing cyber companies based in the state including Tenable and Terbium Labs and large corporations such as Northrop Grumman. The experts also had meetings with academia, including the John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and bwTech@UMBC from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. To finalise the activities, businesses support agencies were consulted, including the Maryland Department of Commerce, TEDCO, Cyber Security Association of Maryland, and Dreamport.


[1] CB Insights Cyber Defenders (2019).

KTN and Innovate UK are now gathering the insights of the Mission and preparing a report which will be published on KTN’s website within the next couple of months.

Innovate UK’s Global Expert Missions, led by KTN, play a key role in building strategic partnerships, providing deep insight into the opportunities for UK innovation and shaping future programmes.

If you would like to learn more about the Global Expert Missions Programme or KTN‚Äôs international activities, please contact Aline Martins.¬†For further information about the Security by Design Challenge, please contact Jon Kingsbury. We will be holding a collaborators’ workshop on Digital Security by Design on 26th September in London – sign up here.

To read about other KTN’s Global Expert Mission reports, please click here.

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