Academic RiSC helping Government solve national security challenges 

Academic RiSC helping Government solve national security challenges 


By Professor Chris Hankin

It is critical that large companies make best use of their supply chains, including SMEs and academia, and in particular follow an open systems design approach, to ensure that best technology in each domain is offered to Government. It is also important that industry and academia collaborate to facilitate this. 

The opening quote is from the White Paper National Security Through Technology which was published in February 2012.  A few months before this, we organised a workshop at the Institution of Engineering and Technology to address the barriers against greater academic involvement in research directed at solving challenges in National Security.  Inspired by the success of the Security and Resilience Industry Suppliers Community (RISC), we proposed the creation of an alliance of universities that would coordinate challenge driven, academic contributions to national security.  We wrote to the Security Minister proposing the development of a more formal mechanism for academic engagement, mirroring RISC (but likely falling under it), that would adopt an open community outlook drawing on the expertise of a network of researchers in universities.

The Government has gradually been implementing the recommendations of the White Paper, including the creation of a Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) to head up a security authority.  At the beginning of this year, the SRO oversaw the creation of a Security and Resilience Growth Partnership (SRGP).  There is a ministerial oversight group, chaired by Karen Bradley MP, and I was invited to join this with a remit to create a mechanism for academic engagement.  That mechanism has become known as Academic RiSC (the Academic Resilience and Security Community).  Its members are universities, rather than individuals, and we currently have 19 university members.  The Academic RiSC Executive has members from Cardiff, Imperial, Manchester, Queens University Belfast, St Andrews and UCL.

As well as sitting on the ministerial oversight group for the SRGP, Academic RiSC is involved in the Steering Group for the Security Innovation and Demonstration Centre, makes input to policy discussions and circulates opportunities/challenges from Government to its university members.

Academic RiSC is an open network and new universities are welcome to join.  Please contact if you would like more detail.

Professor Chris Hankin is Director of the Institute for Security Science and Technology and a Professor of Computing Science at Imperial College London.