SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business is sponsoring the appointment of Professor Paul Theron as the Atkins-Cranfield Professor of Cyber-Secure Engineering Systems and Processes. 

The newly created role will strengthen the relationship in research and development between Atkins and Cranfield University, to support advances in through-life cyber security. 

Working with external funders and across disciplines, Professor Theron will be developing innovative solutions to industrial challenges. This could include protecting manufacturing systems from cyber-attacks, engineering the systems for security by default, improving incident response and disaster recovery in complex engineering systems, and assessing the cost of cyber-security solutions for manufacturing systems. 

Professor Rajkumar Roy, Director of Manufacturing, said: “We are delighted to welcome Paul to the University. His extensive background in cyber systems, risks and governance will help to develop our thinking in this key area of manufacturing and engineering in general. Identifying the engineering opportunities, and the threats from cyberspace now and in in the future, is of particular relevance in many industries.” 

Martin Chalmers, Managing Director for the aerospace, defence, security and technology division of SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, said: “Thanks to the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution, the digital and physical worlds are converging, and cyber is becoming an increasingly critical issue both for our clients and for wider society. Innovation in cyber resilience and the development of the next generation of cyber professionals are both critical. Against that backdrop, it is vital that industry, academia and government work ever closer, taking shared responsibility for the national imperative of cyber resilience. That is why we are forming this close partnership with Cranfield University; a research establishment that is respected across both industry and government. I am delighted to congratulate Paul on his appointment.”

Nick Roberts, President of SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, said: “SNC-Lavalin’s approach to sponsorships is to support initiatives with the potential to stimulate progress and build for the future. By sponsoring this new appointment, we are supporting the next generation of talent.” 

Before joining Cranfield, Professor Theron was the co-director of the Cyb’Air ‘Aerospace Cyber Resilience’ research chair (French Air Force, Dassault Aviation, Thales) and a member of NATO’s IST 152 research group since its inception in 2016. His research focused on the autonomous cyber defence of autonomous and complex military systems and infrastructures. His other posts include being part of the Thales cyber-security unit for over ten years, and working regularly for the European Commission as an expert and researcher. Paul has also held teaching positions at Ecole des Mines de Paris, University of Poitiers, University of Aix-Marseille, University of Geneva and the ESSEC School of Commerce.

Cranfield University is focused on the advancement of manufacturing innovation. Working with industry partners, its expertise in design, technology and management along with research into materials sciences, all with a focus on manufacturing, enables the University to provide postgraduate education, training and research.

Notes for editors

About SNC-Lavalin

Founded in 1911, SNC-Lavalin is a global fully integrated professional services and project management company and a major player in the ownership of infrastructure. From offices around the world, SNC-Lavalin's employees are proud to build what matters. Our teams provide comprehensive end-to-end project solutions – including capital investment, consulting, design, engineering, construction, sustaining capital and operations and maintenance – to clients across oil and gas, mining and metallurgy, infrastructure, clean power, nuclear and EDPM (engineering design and project management). On July 3, 2017, SNC-Lavalin acquired Atkins, one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies, which has been integrated into our sectors.

About Cranfield University

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

Manufacturing at Cranfield

We provide world-class and niche research, education, training and consultancy in manufacturing and play a key role in ensuring that the UK remains at the cutting edge of manufacturing research.

We are unique in our multi-disciplinary approach by bringing together design, technology and management insight. We are a driving force for both the rapid growth of established areas of manufacturing expertise and the development of new research areas.

Research partnerships are undertaken with more than 500 organisations of all sizes and disciplines and industry advisory panels ensure our graduates move seamlessly from the academic world into the world of work and provide skills the sector needs.

Our world-class facilities include the Ultra Precision Machining Laboratory, which houses a range of ultra-precision diamond turning machines and is the UK's national facility for large x-ray optics manufacture.