Scotland’s new home for cybersecurity research, innovation, and industry growth, Abertay cyberQuarter, has officially opened at Abertay University in Dundee today (15 June).
The £18m hub in Abertay University’s Annie Lamont Building has been jointly funded by the University and the UK Government (£5.7m) and Scottish Government (£6m) through the Tay Cities Region Deal, providing a new model for supporting the rapidly growing cyber sector in a facility that’s the first of its kind in the country.
In addition to a physical space for collaboration and experimentation between industry and academia, the Abertay cyberQuarter has a secure cloud-computing infrastructure that will be used for specialist online teaching and provision of R&D and knowledge exchange activities.
Operating over four floors, the centre provides a flexible range of open plan spaces for group working, private office accommodation for use by established businesses or new start-up companies, seminar rooms for training and CPD delivery, an events space, an outdoor terrace and a cinema/lecture theatre.
Abertay cyberQuarter was officially opened by Abertay University Principal, Professor Liz Bacon, alongside UK Government Scotland Office Minister, Iain Stewart MP, Scottish Government Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, Richard Lochhead MSP and Dundee City Councillor Mark Flynn of the Tay Cities Region Joint Committee.
Creating new solutions to local, national and international cybersecurity challenges will be among the goals of Abertay cyberQuarter, which also aims to bring inclusive economic growth to the area by supporting the expansion of existing companies and helping new ones to succeed.
Abertay University is a UK leader in cybersecurity education and is the only institution in Scotland to have received gold-level recognition as an Academic Centre for Excellence in Cyber Security Education from the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ).
Students from the University’s Ethical Hacking, Computing and Cybersecurity programmes will have first-hand access to Abertay cyberQuarter, learning directly from industry professionals while also bringing fresh thinking and new approaches to joint projects.
The cybersecurity arm of NHS NSS (National Services Scotland) has already announced it will be locating at Abertay cyberQuarter, bringing an initial 30 jobs to Dundee, and further partnership announcements are due in the coming weeks.
As well as the core funding through the Tay Cities Region Deal, the project has been supported with funding from Scottish Enterprise under the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework for a Cyber Resilient Scotland.
Construction was managed by SCAPE, with McLaughlin & Harvey acting as principal contractors and the designs created by Dundee-based Wellwood Leslie Architects.
Abertay University Principal Professor Liz Bacon said: “Today is a truly landmark moment for Abertay University as we create a new home for Scotland’s cybersecurity community, around which the sector can be supported to experiment, develop and thrive.
"This first-class hub will, crucially, help Scotland to retain the huge amount of graduate talent that comes out of Abertay and our partner institutions every year, and will also act as a secure, shared space where new solutions to global cyber challenges can be addressed for the common good.”
Scottish Government Employment Minister Richard Lochhead MSP said: “The opening of the Abertay cyberQuarter is an important moment for the University, region and sector. New opportunities in areas like cybersecurity are central to our commitment to deliver economic transformation.
"The Scottish Government’s £6 million funding through the Tay Cities Region Deal will help build on Abertay’s existing strengths to take advantage of these opportunities and deliver sustainable, inclusive prosperity for the region.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: "The growing use of online platforms, cloud computing and online shopping means cybersecurity is more important than ever.
"There were more than 400 cyberattacks in Scotland in 2020-21, and more than a million incidents of computer misuse are reported across the UK each year. Abertay was the first UK university to be awarded Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education by the UK Government's National Cyber Security Centre
"The launch of the cyberQuarter today further strengthens its reputation as the place to come for research and expertise on cyber security - an industry which will bring high-skilled work and investment to the region. The UK Government is contributing £5.7m towards this fantastic facility as part of our £2 billion support for levelling-up initiatives right across Scotland."
Councillor Mark Flynn, Dundee City Council City Development Convener and member of the Tay Cities Region Joint Committee, said: “The opening of Abertay cyberQuarter represents another significant step forward for the Tay Cities Region as our partnership approach continues to deliver for Angus, Dundee, Perth & Kinross and Fife.
"Cybersecurity is a major growth industry and the sector has great potential to become one of the next big success stories for the area, building on our established reputation for excellence and innovation in tech.”