Scots cyber security innovation hub gets backing

Ciara Mitchell

Plans to create the first Scottish Cyber Security Innovation Hub — to help drive further growth and innovation in Scotland’s thriving cyber security sector — have been backed by industry leaders.

Once established, the hub will support early stage cyber start-ups, connecting them to potential new partners, collaborators and investors.

ScotlandIS Cyber is leading the initiative as it seeks to create new jobs and place cyber resilience at the core of Scotland’s digital transformation.

Plexal, which was founded by Delancey, is the innovation company behind the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA), Cyber Runway and NCSC For Startups.

It has been awarded the contract to create the business case and strategy for the hub, following funding from Scottish Enterprise.

The business case development is being supported by an advisory group which comprises a team of experts including Professor Bill Buchanan from Edinburgh Napier University, Peter Jaco (cyber investor and entrepreneur), Matt Little (ex-Zonefox CTO), Jamie Graves (ex-Zonefox CEO), representatives from Edinburgh Innovations, The Data Lab, CENSIS, Edinburgh University and Abertay University.

Ciara Mitchell, Cluster Manager for Scotland’s Cyber Cluster at ScotlandIS, said: “COVID-19 has caused a significant shift in the scale and speed of digital adoption which presents us with a whole new set of cyber challenges and opportunities.

“Approximately 10 new cyber companies are being launched in Scotland each year and it’s vital that we ensure that the necessary resources and support are available to help them flourish.

“We also have a well-recognised and growing focus on cyber research and education across numerous universities with the number of students in this field growing each year as well as the number of PhDs.

“It is important to support the commercialisation of the increased number of spinouts generated from this growing volume of PhDs.”

Saj Huq, director of innovation at Plexal, said: “Cyber innovation is thriving across the UK and Plexal’s excited to unlock the entrepreneurial, engineering and academic excellence that already exists in Scotland to accelerate the growth of its cybersecurity innovation ecosystem.

“We will be exploring how a cyber innovation hub in Scotland can be more closely linked with similar clusters in Cheltenham, Manchester, London and many more so innovators can access all the investment, connections and opportunities that they need to grow.”

Companies already supporting the cyber innovation hub include Cisco, Accenture, Iomart, Barrier Networks, NCC Group and Leonardo.