Pioneering University of Bath hub to bridge gap between digital security and society

November 5, 2020

Ensuring that the growing need for cybersecurity matches the needs of society are to be addressed in a ground-breaking £3.5m research hub set up by University of Bath.

The DiScriBe Hub+ will look at how the gap between digital security and society can be bridged in an era of ever-increasing risk of hacking threats to emerging technologies such as driverless cars and smart homes. 

It will focus on the social science side of digital security, linking security engineering challenges with the businesses and people who will implement them.

The hub, led by Prof Adam Joinson of the university’s School of Management, aims to reshape the ways in which social sciences and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) disciplines work together to address the challenges of digital security by design in the 21st century.

Prof Joinson, pictured, said: “Addressing the cybersecurity challenges we face now – as well as anticipating those we might face in the future – is a major undertaking that needs deep engagement and collaboration between social scientists and technical experts.

“This is a ground-breaking initiative that will be instrumental in facilitating this, as well as conducting our own fundamental research on the adoption of new secure hardware.

“We will also be commissioning over £1m of social science research and working closely with industrial partners to ensure that digital security by design works with people, as well as at a technical level.” 

The DiScriBe programme, which brings together social scientists, economists, the arts and humanities to work with computer scientists on the next generation of hardware, is partnering with firms such as Microsoft, Airbus, HP Labs and HSBC.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has provided £1.2m for the hub, with the remaining £2.3m funded from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Digital Security by Design (DSbD) challenge.

This challenge aims to prevent hackers from remotely taking control of digital systems such as autonomous cars, personal devices, smart home security systems, an cyber attacks and data breaches across the online world, meaning people, business, and the nation’s critical infrastructure will be better protected.

The hub is one of two programmes of research and development announced by UK Research and Innovation to prevent the prevalence of damaging cyber security attacks.

Digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman said: “These projects are great examples of our world-class universities working with leading UK businesses to develop cutting-edge cybersecurity products to keep people safe online.

"We are making extra funding available to make sure we continue developing innovative cyber solutions, give consumers and industry confidence and boost our burgeoning digital economy."

The DiScriBe team includes a number of academics from different disciplines, including Dr Joanna Syrda, University of Bath lecturer in Business Economics, who has particular interest in digital security.


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