RISE – A New UK Hardware Security Institute at CSIT

RISE – A New UK Hardware Security Institute at CSIT

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the Research Institute in Secure Hardware and Embedded Systems (RISE) is one of four cyber security institutes in the UK and will be a global hub for research and innovation in hardware security over the next five years.

This £5 million multi-university Research Institute to improve hardware security and reduce vulnerability to cyber threats was launched at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), Queen’s University Belfast.

RISE will tackle the global problem of cyber threats through four initial component projects, which will be led by UK research partners from Queen’s University, the University of Cambridge, University of Bristol and University of Birmingham. An advisory board will also be created to allow member companies and stakeholders to engage with the research and to inform future funding calls around the Institute’s research challenges.

Following a competitive call by EPSRC and NCSC in March 2017 for a new research institute in Hardware Security, Professor Maire O’Neill, a leading cryptography expert at Queen’s University, was selected as Director. Based at CSIT, Professor O’Neill will work towards increasing the nation’s academic capability in all fields of hardware security.

“There is huge demand for hardware security research and innovation. As CSIT is renowned for its high-quality research in this field, and its emphasis on commercialisation of research, we are delighted to host RISE.

“RISE is in an excellent position to become the go-to place for high quality hardware security research. A key aim is to bring together the hardware security community in the UK and build a strong network of national and international research partnerships.

“We will also work closely with leading UK-based industry partners and stakeholders, transforming research findings into products, services and business opportunities, which will benefit the UK economy.”                                      (Prof. Marie O’Neill, RISE Director)

The Internet of Things has led to increased demand for hardware security research and innovation with growing security needs in embedded and networking devices, as well as in cloud services. An increase in the use of smart devices means that there are now many new attack methods and surfaces for criminals and hackers to exploit. Recent attacks against personal computers, mobile devices, smart meters, home automation devices and network-connected cars have posed serious security and privacy issues.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of EPSRC, hopes the new Research Institute to “increase our understanding of hardware security technology, leading to pioneering new approaches and fostering collaboration between leading researchers, the National Cyber Security Centre and industry partners to make the UK a more resilient nation.”

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CSIT, an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, is based at Queen’s University’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), located in the Northern Ireland Science Park. In 2015, CSIT received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for strengthening global cyber security and protecting the online activity of billions of internet users around the world.