Abertay University has announced the founding partners for its multimillion pound cyberQuarter facility – which include a victim of a ransomware attack.

Weir Group, hit last year by a cyberattack, will be one of 11 partner organisations supporting Scotland’s new hub for cybersecurity research, development and economic growth.

The Glasgow-headquartered company, one of Scotland’s biggest engineering firms, will help support Scotland’s new hub for cybersecurity research, development and economic growth.

Funded by £5.7m from the UK Government and £6m from the Scottish Government through the Tay Cities Deal, the cyberQuarter opened on the university campus in Dundee this summer.

It is now welcoming its new partners having hosted a series of conferences, research activities, industry workshops and learning sessions over the last six months.

The cybersecurity arm of NHS National Services Scotland was first to announce their tenancy in September 2021, prior to the opening of the building.

It has now been joined as founding partners by a stream of other businesses and organisations, including:

  • The Scottish Business Resilience Centre
  • Techscaler (by CodeBase)
  • Accenture
  • Sophos
  • ScotlandIS
  • Cyber Scotland
  • Dewar Cyber Consulting
  • Scotland 5G Centre
  • The Weir Group
  • Scottish Social Services Council
  • The Care Inspectorate

Each of the founding partners will have access to Abertay cyberQuarter’s secure office spaces, with the ability to locate staff in the hub and also to use it as a base for specific activities, projects or collaborations.

The building has a secure cloud-computing infrastructure for provision of teaching, R&D and knowledge exchange, allowing users to develop solutions to cyber threats without risking live business systems.

Operating on a subscription model, the founding partners pay an annual fee which covers use of the newly-renovated centre, but crucially also includes access to the academic expertise of Abertay University’s Division of Cybersecurity and opportunities to work with students coming through the graduate talent pipeline from the institution’s Ethical Hacking and Cybersecurity programmes.

An inaugural networking event for founding partners was held at Abertay cyberQuarter on Wednesday 14 December. 

Professor Lynne Coventry, director of Abertay cyberQuarter, said securing the founding partners was an important step towards achieving the centre’s goals of creating new jobs for the region, driving forward research, knowledge-exchange and innovation activities, producing solutions to real-world cybersecurity problems and addressing the loss of Scotland’s best cybersecurity talent to other UK hubs.

She said: “This announcement marks another milestone moment for Abertay cyberQuarter as we continue to build the community of businesses, organisations and key stakeholders that we will engage with as we move forward.

“It’s hugely pleasing that our founding partners represent a diverse mix; from cybersecurity and tech companies with experience in the sector, to groups working to strengthen Scotland’s networking and resilience capabilities, and also to public sector partners who see the value in basing themselves in the heart of our thriving cyber community here in Dundee.

“On a global level, all organisations are facing an increasingly sophisticated range of cybersecurity threats. Abertay cyberQuarter can help generate solutions to these by providing a platform for collaboration between industry, our academic experts and our students.”

Jude McCorry, CEO of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre and chair of Cyber Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be part of the founding partners of Abertay cyberQuarter and to have a base in Dundee for staff and our team of ethical hacking students to work and collaborate with industry. From a Cyber Scotland perspective, it’s important to ensure we are not concentrating our efforts in just the central belt areas as cybercrime doesn’t have geographic boundaries – it’s an issue for everyone in all parts of Scotland.”

Scott McElney, global chief information security officer at The Weir Group said: “The expertise, experience and talent our partnership with Abertay gives us access to will help us enhance our cyber defences and resilience. In particular, we are partnering on research into how we can reduce vulnerabilities in operational technology, as a direct benefit from being part of the cyberQuarter. Weir is also proud to be a partner of an initiative which highlights, supports and celebrates Scottish talent at the forefront of initiatives to reduce the impact and disruption caused by cyber-attacks globally.”