Cyber security training centre extends its reach towards the next frontier

Worth £400m a day to the UK economy, digital infrastructures are at the heart of our daily lives and economic prosperity. They bring water and power to our homes, enable transportation services, banking and financial services as well as online interactions with family and friends

Thanks to a fresh injection of funding from the EPSRC, the Centre of Doctoral Training (CDT) in Cyber Security, a joint venture between the universities of Bristol and Bath, is evolving its capacity and capabilities for the benefit of an increasingly interconnected global society.   A world-class cohort of PhD students is being drawn together to work alongside industry leaders to develop innovative solutions to the world’s growing cyber security needs.

The latest genesis of the CDT is 'Cyber Secure Everywhere: Resilience in a World of Disappearing System Boundaries', an interdisciplinary programme cocreated with industry partners, who will play a pivotal role in training future leaders in the sector.

The new CDT builds on the strengths and successes of the TIPS-at-Scale PhD programme (Trust, Identity, Privacy and Security in Large Scale Infrastructures).  This latest evolution in cyber security training will see the existing student community grow by at least 50 new PhDs, and will offer a challenge-based immersive experience that will ensure students gain the understanding, insight and expertise to fill a critical skills gap.

According to Professor Awais Rashid, Co-Director of the CDT with 20 years experience of leading large, multi-partner, interdisciplinary projects,"Cyber security is fundamental to ensuring the seamless operation of these infrastructure, to allow society to function without disruption. The Cyber Secure Everywhere CDT will develop future leaders capable of anticipating and addressing the cyber security challenges in these infrastructures. They will conceive and lead large-scale programmes to develop innovative products and services that can give us confidence and trust in the digital infrastructures on which we all rely.”

The four-year programme will focus specifically on the cyber security of digitalisation and data in large-scale, intermeshed systems and infrastructures where the boundaries between systems are blurred, leading to numerous, intricate inter-dependencies between service architectures.

As part of an interdisciplinary team and with input from industry, students will gain a broad understanding of core real-world technical, human, organisational and policy challenges. They will learn how to analyse, design and apply suitable methods, tools, techniques and insights to build resiliency and security into cyber security systems.

The trajectory of success established by the existing community and alumni means that graduates of the programme will be highly sought after in pivotal roles across the private, charity and public sectors, such as cyber security specialists, chief engineers, lead researchers, policy and governance leads, and risk analysts.

“Creating the conditions for students to thrive during their time with us and when they make the transition into the professional world is our primary intention,” says Professor Laura G.E. Smith,  CDT Deputy Director and lead for student research training and experience. 

“It’s important that students receive the benefits of a well-rounded experience that gives them a solid understanding of the sector and how to take that knowledge into the real world. This programme does precisely that – not only does it advance the aspirations and capabilities of our students, it positively impacts our rapidly changing world through proactive community engagement and responsible innovation.”

The training also leverages state-of-the-art research testbeds and labs at universities of Bristol and Bath as well as partner industry organisations and international research centres.

Co-Director of the CDT Professor Adam Joinson adds: “Cyber security is hard in any system. It is an even harder problem in these emerging large-scale infrastructures. We are delighted that, in collaboration with our partners, we will be training a world-class cohort of PhD graduates who will tackle this next frontier for cyber security.”

Further information

The Cyber Security Everywhere PhD is a four-year full-time programme starting in September 2024. The programme will close once places are filled on or before 31 July 2024. Early application is recommended.

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security is a joint-university, inter-disciplinary collaboration between the Universities of Bristol and Bath, and is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Professor Laura Smith with CDT student Alex Kopsch
Cyber Security CDT Testbed Facilities
Cyber Security CDT students attending Student Industry Showcase 2023
Students working in the background while a cyber security teaching box is in the foreground.
ICS testboxes in CDT Teaching Room
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