The new £9 million Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security based at Skylon Park on the Herefordshire Enterprise Zone was officially opened yesterday (6th December 2021).
Erika Lewis, Director for Cyber Security and Digital Identity at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, was joined by a senior representative from the National Cyber Security Centre – a part of GCHQ – alongside partners to cut the ribbon on the new building which has already scooped two prestigious construction awards.
The centre is a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council and is part-funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The £9m state-of-the-art hub supports innovation and industry in the sector, offering a package of tailored security testing, training, Research & Development and sector expertise to businesses and investors.
Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez, said: “This new state-of-art-centre will be a fantastic addition to the country’s booming cyber security industry and offer businesses the support they need to take their ideas to the next level.
“Growing and developing the UK’s technology sector is a crucial part of our mission to level up and we are backing firms with pro-innovation policies and supporting people to get the skills to succeed.”
Professor Prashant Pillai, Associate Dean Research and Knowledge Exchange and Centre Director Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security, said: “Now, more than ever as globally we collectively try to recover following the Covid-19 pandemic, this new centre will be of real value to people who are launching or growing their business.
“The expertise and specialist focus of the new centre will be part of a wider, growing campus of cyber sector companies based within the Cyber Quarter on Skylon Park. The area is already home to a highly regarded cyber economy, and the knowledge, expertise and opportunities that the centre brings will help to establish Herefordshire as one of the capitals of the cyber security sector.
“We are hoping to forge strategic partnerships and relationships with some of the world’s leading expertise in cyber and security, really putting Herefordshire and the Midlands on the international map.”
Councillor David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “Cllr David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “It is wonderful to see the Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security officially open. We have been working jointly with the University of Wolverhampton for several years now and it has been thrilling to see the Centre take shape.
“Herefordshire is already home to a thriving cyber security industry, and the Cyber Quarter will further cement our status as a capital of the rapidly expanding and cutting edge sector. The investment is central to our ambition to attract new hi-tech investment, draw expertise and create knowledge-based, high-income jobs in the county.”
Mandy Thorn MBE, Chair of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “A huge part of the LEP’s decade of success is the fostering of new partnerships between the public, private and academic sectors. The Midlands Centre for Cyber Security is a landmark example of what we can achieve by working together.
“Developed with LEP investment of £3m from our Growth Deal with Government, it is one of a number of Herefordshire projects that the LEP has supported as part of its £18.8m overall investment into the Zone that will deliver innovation, progress and high-value jobs.”
Andrew Manning Cox, Chairman of the Hereford Enterprise Zone, added: “The opening of this building cements Skylon Park, and the wider Herefordshire area, as the natural home for cyber security research and innovation in this country.
“We are already home to a cluster of businesses working within the sector and the centre will be vital to building on this expertise as we develop our cyber campus, helping companies based here to tap into a £64.5 billion global market.”
Supported by the university’s Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute (WCRI), the centre offers space for up to 16 cyber SMEs as well as offering product testing and certification, CPD and short courses and cyber conferences attracting experts from across the globe.
The project, a partnership that included Speller Metcalfe, Hybrid Structures, Associated Architects, Cundall, Ramboll, Gleeds and Couch Perry Wilkes as well as the University’s Estates and Facilities Team, recently scooped a Building Project of the Year Award as well as being announced joint winners for the Integration & Collaborative Working Award at the Constructing Excellence West Midlands Awards held in November.