Home to the nation’s fastest-growing cyber ecosystem, a Top 20 European Digital City, and now a base for GCHQ, Greater Manchester is at the forefront of cybersecurity and innovation. The region is now building on its heritage in scientific advancements with a new £10m Digital Security Hub.
The hub will be a key initiative of the Greater Manchester Digital Blueprint and our ambition to be a top five European digital city region. This facility aims to stimulate economic growth and also help make Greater Manchester a trusted and secure place to live, study and work. It is envisaged the Hub will have a particular focus around health security and supporting economic recovery and resilience over the longer term.
In early 2021, Manchester City Council selected a consortium, headed up by Barclays Eagle Labs, to operate the new Greater Manchester Digital Security Hub (DiSH)
The hub will:
- Be based from Heron House, alongside GCHQ, to bring together companies, universities and the government, providing collaborative space for the sharing of ideas and best practice, placing the city at the forefront of responding to digital threats
- Draw on expertise from the four major universities across the region, and a talent pool of over 86,000 people who work in the creative, digital and tech sector, the Digital Security Innovation Hub will work with everyone from small start-ups to large corporations
- Be a direct collaboration between academia, public sector, industry, start-ups, and SMEs to develop ideas and solutions with real-world application and enhance public and private cyber resilience and digital security. This collaboration should ultimately lead to the development of new capability and technologies which both public sector and industry partners require in order to maintain and enhance their cyber security. There should be a focus on nurturing entrepreneurs and talent within this field to secure the next generation of innovators, critical to economic recovery and future growth
- Incorporate cyber-related activity in its broadest sense, helping to future-proof Greater Manchester. It will bring together key partners and collaborations already underway in the growing local cyber-ecosystem, encompassing a broad range of related disciplines such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, data science, behavioural science. The city’s growing expertise in areas such as Medtech, Edtech and immersive technologies present further opportunities for collaboration
In summary, the intention is that the hub will facilitate a number of activities:
- A secure place where academia, private sector, voluntary community organisations plus public sector and their partners are supported to network, share ideas, identify issues / threats and responses around digital security, with a view to collaborating with those who implement responses to limit such threats.
- A focal point for the cyber and digital security sector in GM, enabling collaboration and commercialisation of new products and services.
- A base for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs which is optimised for collaboration, with a secure accelerator hub and sustainable programme to help develop and scale new businesses.
- A programme of supported training and events covering sector trends and topical issues, where ideas and activities around digital security can be developed.
- A focal point to promote, develop and diversify the digital security sector skills and talent pipeline.
The growing and increasingly complex cyber threat over recent months in relation to Covid-19, and greater uptake in technology use, has demonstrated the scale of the challenges around protecting the vulnerability of organisations, businesses and individuals. Manchester does however have an opportunity to develop its expertise in this field and become and international centre of excellence. One example is that over the last few months there has been considerable innovation within the local health and social care sector, with rapid roll out of new platforms and services to support the most vulnerable residents.
The hub is being set up following funding from Greater Manchester Combined Authority via the Local Growth Fund and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership. Read more on the Greater Manchester Digital Security Hub (DiSH) (external website).
“Through this partnership, we have a great opportunity to accelerate the growth of Manchester’s digital security ecosystem, at a time when the industry is becoming ever more vital.” We’ll bring the full benefits of the UK wide Eagle Labs network, along with the world-leading expertise of our partners Plexal, Lancaster University and the University of Manchester to make Greater Manchester a magnet for regional growth and DiSH an epicentre of digital security innovation.”
Jon Hope, Director of Barclays Eagle Labs