The UK government has announced a £5m investment to help researchers create new cyber security solutions as part of ongoing efforts to bolster the nation's defences.
The funding was announced at the World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit in Northern Ireland and will be provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK.
It will be used to fund research and to help develop a Centre for Secure Information Technology (CSIT) at Queen's University Belfast.
The research will focus specifically on ways to tackle malware threats, detect intrusions and prevent data theft on laptops, smartphones and cloud storage services.
The CSIT is one of seven UK Innovation and Knowledge Centres being funded by EPSRC.
Professor John McCanny from CSIT said that the centre will offer students unparalleled training and help plug the widely reported 'cyber skills gap'.
"This further investment in CSIT recognises how over the last five years we have successfully blended world class research and innovation to deliver economic impact nationally, internationally and regionally," he said.
"This funding will allow us to further accelerate new value creation in this sector, drive business venture creation through our new pre-accelerator programme and build capacity for the industry by providing it with high calibre Masters and PhDs graduates."
Kevin Baughan, director of technology and innovation at Innovate UK, mirrored McCanny's sentiment and said he expects the centres to help plug the gap.
"CSIT has delivered significant UK economic growth through our original joint investment with EPSRC, contributing to over 950 new jobs in the Belfast cyber security cluster," he said.
"By extending funding for a further five years, we underline our support for their commitment to raise the commercialisation bar even higher. This will help companies of all sizes grow through leveraging the excellent UK science base in cyber security."
The news follows widespread reports that the UK is suffering a shortage of skilled security professionals. Julian David, chief executive at TechUK, listed the shortage as one of the biggest problems facing the UK technology industry.
EPSRC is one of many powers investing in university cyber security initiatives. The GCHQ-backed cyber security courses at six universities were approved in August to help tackle the skills gap.
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