Cranfield University’s research into cyber security, to protect businesses from the danger of digital attack, is to step up a level. 

Reports about our ability to protect our technology, data and networks from the threat of cyber crime are frequently in the news.  With electronic systems increasingly relying on the internet to manage everyday things like electricity, air traffic control or food supplies, it’s critical that products and systems are manufactured with defence to cyber attack built-in at the production stage.

With this in mind, Cranfield and Atkins, one of the world’s leading design, engineering and project management consultancies, will collaborate to provide the thought leadership to address this major challenge.

A new professorial chair in Cyber-Secure Engineering Systems and Processes at the university will be funded by Atkins. Leading a new research area within the Manufacturing Informatics Centre, the role will focus on developing an understanding of, and responses to, digitally-based threats.  The centre will address the challenges associated with cyber threats to increasingly connected and complex engineering systems and processes, by creating innovative engineering solutions which protect both systems and knowledge, in multiple manufacturing sectors.

Professor Rajkumar Roy, Director of Manufacturing at Cranfield, said: “Modern complex engineering systems can sometimes be less secure than traditional ones, and cyber threats are a major and growing challenge.

“We aim to develop the next generation of manufacturing engineers and managers who are able to protect manufacturing systems and machines from cyber threats. Cyber-secure ‘Internet of Things’ technology development will have a major impact on implementing Industry 4.0, which uses the internet to connect ‘Smart Factories’ with their supply chains, across a number of sectors.”

“The introduction of this new chair and our new MSc in Cyber-Secure Manufacturing will provide an opportunity to serve our industry needs in the UK and to influence the design of next generation engineering systems.”

Russell Cameron, Technology Director at Atkins, said: “We are excited by this opportunity to partner with Cranfield to bring their leading academic cyber research and resources together with our own design, engineering and cyber capabilities and experience. I have no doubt that this partnership will help our critical national infrastructure and manufacturing clients meet the increasingly complex challenges they face in improving their cyber resilience”.

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Notes for editors

About Atkins

Atkins is one of the world's most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies, employing over 18,000 people across the UK, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe. We build long term trusted partnerships to create a world where lives are enriched through the implementation of our ideas. You can view Atkins’ recent projects on their website.

About Atkins cyber resilience expertise

Atkins delivers cyber resilience expertise to the critical national infrastructure, government, national security and defence sectors. We are the largest supplier of client-side advisory in the UK security and intelligence sector and accredited to the Cyber Suppliers to UK Government scheme.

We view cyber resilience as the ability of an organisation to understand the cyber threats it’s facing, to inform the known risks, to put in place proportionate protection, and to recover quickly from attack. Depending upon the client, robust cyber resilience ultimately provides cost-effective business or service continuity, sustained revenue, or the uninterrupted delivery of military effects. It also contributes toward the ongoing protection of the UK.

By combining a deep understanding of the digital ecosystem that surrounds and supports our nation’s critical infrastructure with our experience of working in secure and mission-critical environments, we can offer unrivalled insight into an organisation’s digital vulnerabilities.

You can download a free copy of Atkins Cyber Resilient Infrastructure Report. 

About Cranfield University

Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Manufacturing Doctoral Training Centre

This higher research degree is associated with our Manufacturing Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). The Manufacturing DTC encompasses ten major research themes that benefit from the clear synergy between engineering materials, manufacturing technology and manufacturing management, supported by a strong and fundamental engineering and science base. This provides a powerful combination of multidisciplinary skills that ensures both industrial relevance and academic rigor that builds on state-of-the-art industrial scale research and development facilities that differentiate the Cranfield activity from other universities.

A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside the generic core skills training programme, provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities with Cranfield’s wider research community.