Abertay University will lead the creation of a £11.7m cybersecurity research and development centre as part of the Tay Cities Deal announced today.

Run in partnership with the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, the ‘cyberQuarter’ will be the focus of academic and industry expertise. Businesses will also be able to benefit from support and advice from Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise.

Abertay was the first university to offer degrees in ethical hacking, where students are trained in ‘offensive cyber security’. The Tay Cities Deal involves the Scottish Government committing £6m to the cyberQuarter project, with the UK Government investing £5.7m.

The cyberQuarter will help position Dundee as a key player in the UK cybersecurity industry – Natalie Coull.

Professor Nigel Seaton, Abertay University Principal, said the Tay Cities Deal investment had the potential to “ignite a major new industry for the area”, following the growth of video games. He added: “Cybersecurity is a sector rapidly expanding across the UK and every year there is high demand for the skilled ethical hacking graduates to graduate from Abertay.

“The Tay Cities Deal announcement is a vitally important step in the growth of this emerging industry and will add yet another area of strength to Dundee’s digital economy.”

Mandy Haeburn-Little, chief executive of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, added: “Today is a milestone day for Scotland.

“I am delighted that our partnership vision with Abertay University has been recognised through this very significant investment which will be of benefit to every citizen in Scotland and of course to a much wider international audience also.”

Dr Natalie Coull, head of division of cyber security in the School of Design and Informatics at Abertay, said: “The cyberQuarter will help position Dundee as a key player in the UK cybersecurity industry and will play a crucial part in retaining the skills talent that we produce here. We are delighted to be leading on this fantastic opportunity for the area.”

The cyberQuarter sits alongside a project led by Dundee University, to establish the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, and together they form part of a regional strategy to create high quality jobs.

The universities and their partners are “committed to aligning of the goals and work programmes of these new centres to fit with the Scottish and UK Governments’ wider ambitions, strategies and action plans on cyber resilience and cybercrime”.

Abertay offers BSc (Hons) Ethical Hacking, MSc Ethical Hacking and Cybersecurity and BSc (Hons) Computing from its Division of Cybersecurity, with students learning about penetration testing, digital forensics, human-computer interaction, usable security, IoT, secure software development, artificial intelligence, and parallel programming.