News story

Queen's University's award for pioneering work in cyber security

Centre for Secure Information Technologies in Belfast wins a Queen's Anniversary Prize for research and innovation into internet safety.

Dr Godfrey Gaston, director of the Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queen's University Belfast, with digital text projected on to him
Dr Godfrey Gaston, director of the Centre for Secure Information Technologies in Belfast.

Queen’s University Belfast has been honoured for its work in strengthening global cyber security and protecting billions of internet users around the world.

The university’s Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), a major hub for research and innovation in cyber security, has won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are funders of CSIT, which is one of several specialist innovation and knowledge centres jointly funded by Innovate UK and research councils. The Centre, headed by its Director, Dr Godfrey Gaston, has a 90-strong team based at the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter and has developed a number of breakthrough innovations, including:

  • apps-based technology which will improve security for online financial transactions
  • anti-counterfeit technology to prevent internet fraud
  • processors to filter internet to homes and businesses, stripping out viruses, malware and malicious content

CSIT has helped to secure almost 1,000 cyber security-related jobs in Northern Ireland, injecting around £38 million a year into its economy.

Strong and resilient cyber security technologies

The award came only days after the Chancellor, George Osborne, pledged to increase spending on cyber security to £1.9 billion by 2020, recruit 1,900 new staff across the three intelligence agencies and establish the first National Cyber Centre. It will be home to the country’s first dedicated ‘cyber force’.

The university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patrick Johnston, said:

The need for strong and resilient cyber security technologies has never been greater. CSIT is home to some of the world’s foremost cyber security experts. It is, and will continue to be, at the forefront of efforts to protect the UK from cyber attacks and to maintain the public’s trust that their online privacy and data is kept safe.

Professor John McCanny, Principal Investigator at CSIT, added:

CSIT’s unique strength lies in its approach to the innovation and commercialisation of Queen’s ground-breaking research. It overlays an excellent academic research environment with an infrastructure that is more common in high-technology companies, creating a unique team of researchers, innovators and engineers that accelerates the translation of research into business.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are part of the national honours system and recognise outstanding achievement by universities and colleges in the UK.

Published 23 November 2015