View all news

Bristol part of new National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity

28 March 2019

The University of Bristol is to work alongside other leading universities and industry partners as part of a new government initiative to position the nation as a world leader in tackling cyber threats.

The PETRAS (privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security) National Centre of Excellence for IoT (Internet of Things) Systems Cybersecurity brings together the expertise of high-end specialists whose research focus will be on emerging opportunities and threats in the digital world.

Specifically, the centre will explore the use of edge computing in economy and society, and how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies will impact on the internet and local IoT networks.

Its focus will be on enhancing productivity and cost savings across a range of sectors including healthcare, transport and construction by bringing together academics, industry and government.

Led by UCL and funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the centre builds on an earlier phase of PETRAS that since 2016, has convened 11 universities and 110 industrial and government user partners in cross-disciplinary collaboration. 

Professor Awais Rashid, an expert in cyber security from Bristol's Faculty of Engineering, said: “Intelligent connected devices, drawing upon IoT technologies and AI, will see increased integration in systems that are critical to functioning of society - ranging from infrastructures that generate and distribute energy, treat and deliver water to our homes through to the supply chains and logistics that ensure the continuity of food supply to our families. The safety and continued operation of these critical systems is fundamentally reliant on their cyber security.

"This is a central focus of our cyber security research at the University of Bristol and we are delighted to be a partner of the PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity to collaborate with other research and industry organisations  to ensure that such critical systems remain secure and hence, safe and undisrupted.”

Alongside Bristol are Lancaster University, University of Oxford, University of Warwick, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, University of Southampton, University of Surrey, Newcastle University and the University of Nottingham.

Professor Lynn Gladden, Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), said:The work of this new Centre is vital for the evolution of the interconnected technologies that will permeate our society in the coming years. We have to build trust and confidence in the security of these systems for them to work effectively and safely. The strength and variety of industry and academic partners involved is evidence of the strength of the PETRAS team and the importance of research and innovation in this field.”

PETRAS is based on a dynamic shared research agenda that addresses social and physical science challenges in equal measure and has worked across a broad range of Technology Readiness Levels.

It will manage a series of open academic funding calls, the first of which will be announced in summer 2019.

Further information

PETRAS has been awarded £13,850,000 as part of the £30.6 million Security of Digital Technology at the Periphery (SDTaP) programme being delivered by UK Research and Innovation through the Strategic MA Priorities Fund. The programme aims to ensure that the Internet of Things systems are safe and secure, particularly as more critical applications emerge meaning there is increased vulnerability to broader, more sophisticated cyber-threats. Effective solutions need to combine cyber and physical safety and security with human behaviour, influence new regulatory response and validate and demonstrate novel approaches. This will build on current investments including the PETRAS Internet of Things Research Hub and other activities supported through IoT UK

As part of the SDTaP programme, Innovate UK is to invest up to £11 million in collaborative, business led research and development (R&D) projects. These projects should result in a new product, industrial process or service.

Edit this page