cyberwarriorBusinesses and individuals in the UK are aware of the extreme risks posed by the possibility of having their digital information compromised by hackers. Identity theft, corporate espionage, and loss of revenue are just a few of the potential result.

The plan to combat this is to create an elite team of cyber warriors who will help safeguard sensitive information that is stored digitally. The training grounds are universities in England, and the trainees are talented, doctoral-level computer students. Government grants have been allocated to help develop the teams.

Royal Holloway, University of London has received a £3.8 million government funds to host a new centre for doctoral training (CDT) in cyber security. The government grant has been made by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

A similar government grant has also been made to the University of Oxford. The government grants aim to address the national need for cyber security expertise at all levels by boosting the number of PhD graduates with relevant skills. Professor Keith Martin, director of the information security group at Royal Holloway, said: “While Royal Holloway has operated an excellent graduate school in cyber security for many years, a CDT represents a significantly different approach to research training, and we are looking forward to taking on the great responsibility of delivering graduates who will directly benefit the country.”

The Holloway grant will fund ten PhD scholarships in three annual intakes. Students will attend one year of courses in advance of their three-year research programme and will experience varied placements in Industry during their studies.

Royal Holloway has already secured the backing of around 30 organisations from across the cyber security sector, including IBM, McAfee, Thales, Vodafone, and Logica.

David Willetts, minister for universities and science, said: “These new centres will produce a new generation of cyber security specialists, able to use their skills and research expertise to improve cyber security and drive growth.”

(Computerworld UK contributed to this article.)