Case Study

Cardiff University     Back to universities

Airbus Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics: £5 million partnership between Airbus and Cardiff University to tackle global cyber security

  • Airbus Group’s initiative with Cardiff University and Welsh Government aims to boost innovation across Wales.
  • Received more than £5 million in funding from UK Research Councils, Welsh Government and industry.
  • The Centre is the first of its kind in Europe, working across industry, academia and government to provide a focus for cyber security analytics in the UK.

Cyber security is a priority research area at Cardiff University, supported with strategic investment. Since 2012 Cardiff has established an interdisciplinary research team of technical and social researchers. Collaborative projects have received more than £5 million in funding from UK Research Councils (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council), Welsh Government (Endeavr Wales) and industry (Airbus).

The collaboration has led to the development of the Airbus Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics. Cardiff University researchers partner experts from Airbus to carry out world-leading studies into machine learning, data analytics, and artificial intelligence for cyber-attack detection.

The centre works across industry, academia and government to provide a focus for cyber security analytics in the UK. As the first centre of its kind in Europe, the aim is to strategically position the UK as a leader in cyber security analytics. Addressing emerging challenges to cyber security by combining:

  • computational and mathematical methods, drawing on technical expertise in machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data analytics
  • criminological expertise in cyber crime
  • international relations expertise in communication and governance.

Collaboration covers areas of mutual interest to the Cyber Operations Team at Airbus and Cardiff University, including data science, big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. AI and data economy is one of the four grand challenge areas identified in the Industrial Strategy. A significant focus of the work is on the interpretation and effective communication of automated algorithmic data analytics to support decision making and policy surrounding cyber security issues of national importance. Participation in the collaborative program is not limited by the organisational affiliation of scientists and will be determined by individuals’ ability to contribute to the mutual objectives of the participating organisations.

The Centre opened in 2017 and builds on a mutual agreement to develop industry-relevant academic programmes in cybersecurity at the University, to fill the skills gap that currently exists in the field. Knowledge sharing between Airbus and the University is also supported, with opportunities for secondments and industrial placements for researchers and students.

In August 2018 it was named as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, becoming the first institution in Wales to be given this status. The award is in recognition of the internationally excellent research developed at the University over a number of years and will allow academics to feed directly into the UK Government’s strategy of making the UK more resilient to cyber-attacks.