Lancaster joins groundbreaking digital security drive

Lancaster University is working with a consortium of leading cyber security specialists to create a new Digital Innovation Security Hub (DiSH).

The development will help foster innovation and growth in the North West and the wider UK’s digital and cyber security sectors, with aims to support 500 new start-ups and create more than 1,000 jobs locally.

As lead academic partner, Lancaster University will bring world-class research and teaching into the partnership.

The DiSH will be headquartered in an 11,000 square foot state-of the-art space in Heron House in Manchester, which is due to open in the summer, but will be accessible virtually from anywhere in the country.

The site will include co-working or private office space for businesses and entrepreneurs and provide access to networking opportunities, business growth programmes and mentorship from industry experts.

The consortium of partners appointed by Manchester City Council to create the DiSH also includes Barclays Eagle Labs - in partnership with Plexal - and The University of Manchester.

The project will also provide a range of cyber and digital educational initiatives across the Greater Manchester Combined Authority area.

Professor Louise Heathwaite, Lancaster University pro-vice-chancellor (research and enterprise), said: “We are very excited to be working with our partners Barclays Eagle Labs, Plexal and the University of Manchester on the DiSH to support the growth of the cyber sector in Great Manchester and the broader region.

“For Lancaster University this represents the next step in our pivotal role in collaboration with key regional stakeholders to support the development of the emergent North West Cyber Corridor and the creation of a thriving regional cyber research and innovation ecosystem.

“As the only university in the region triple-accredited by the National Cyber Security Centre, the DiSH will further enable Lancaster to more effectively engage across the entire corridor - from GCHQ’s headquarters in Manchester, at which the DiSH will be co-located, through Samlesbury, as the home of the National Cyber Force, and through to Lancaster and the further north.”

The DiSH development will include training and support for businesses, company owners and employees through workshops and seminars to upskill more than 1,000 individuals in the next five years to help them access opportunities in the growing sector, with a focus on deprived local communities to promote social mobility through innovation.

In addition, DiSH will inspire and educate the future workforce by offering cyber and digital skills workshops working with local primary schools, colleges and employers.

Graham Bastin, MD and North West site lead at Barclays, said: “Digital and cyber security skills are becoming ever more crucial to the function of businesses, government as well as society at large.

“Through the collaborative DiSH initiative, we, along with our consortium partners, hope to find and support talented entrepreneurs in the sector and bring digital and cyber skills to the North West. We believe this will support the growth of a diverse and inclusive digital security industry within Greater Manchester and beyond.”

In the first of a range of growth programmes offered by DiSH, businesses can now register their interest in the dedicated Digital Security Accelerator programme.

The programme will provide bespoke support through a series of business masterclasses, with participating entrepreneurs receiving mentorship and professional coaching from scale-up experts in the sector.

To register interest in the programme or for more information about the Digital Innovation Security Hub (DiSH), visit https://labs.uk.barclays/dish/