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£9m cyber centre on track for 2020 opening

Herefordshire will be home to the UK’s leading centre of excellence in cyber security – a £9m state-of-the-art hub supporting innovation and industry in the sector when construction completes on site in 2020.

Herefordshire Council Leader David Hitchiner and Herefordshire Enterprise Zone Chairman Andrew Manning Cox were among a group of councillors and business representatives given an update on progress of the Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security last month.

The centre is a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council and part-funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Councillor Hitchiner said: “It was marvellous to see the new Midlands Centre for Cyber Security taking shape. The progress of construction in a matter of months is remarkable and it was a joy to be given a tour of the site and visualise the inspirational structure that it will become.

“The centre is a key investment to support the creation of high-income, knowledge-based jobs in the county. We are already home to a highly regarded cyber economy, and the knowledge, expertise and opportunities that the centre brings will help to establish Herefordshire as one of the capitals of the cyber security sector.”

Zone Chairman and LEP Board Member Andrew Manning Cox said: “This is a trail-blazing project which will boost investment on Skylon Park while supporting businesses to protect themselves from hacking and data disruption.

“The expertise and specialist focus of the centre will be part of a wider, growing campus of cyber sector companies based within the Cyber Quarter on Skylon Park.”

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “It’s great to see the structure of the new centre taking shape. The aim of the centre is to tackle the growing threat of cyber attacks which could significantly impact local, regional and national businesses.

“The University will provide significant resources for research and development through our Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute (WCRI) which is developing and leading an International Cyber Knowledge Hub to tackle threats in cyberspace with focus on providing expertise in relation to security for critical national infrastructure – particularly in terms of healthcare, transport and our physical environment including power grids, water networks and the nuclear industry.

“The shared facilities will also allow private sector businesses to benefit from the university’s networks and expertise as well as make use of the centre’s specialist training rooms and laboratory spaces.”

Adrian Speller, Technical Director of constructor Spellar Metcalfe said: “Despite recent high winds and challenging weather conditions the highly-sustainable timber frame is almost complete, the installation of windows has now started and we are aiming for the building to be watertight early next year.”

Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security will offer a package of tailored security testing, training, R&D and sector expertise to businesses and investors.

Supported by the university’s Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute (WCRI), the centre will also be home to 16 cyber SMEs and well as offering product testing and certification, CPD and short courses and cyber conferences attracting experts from across the globe.

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