University of Kent re-recognised as Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR)

2024 ACE-CSR re-recognition

University of Kent has been re-recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC, part of GCHQ) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of UKRI) as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR). The recognition extends the University’s previous recognition from 2018 until 2023 and will last until January 2029.

The re-recognition was the result of a competitive process which led to 21 UK universities recognised as ACEs-CSR. Kent remains the only one in the South East England region covering Kent, Medway, Essex and Sussex. The new ACE-CSR re-recognition, and the University’s other recognition as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE), makes the University of Kent one of only eight UK universities with double ACE recognitions.

This demonstrates Kent’s excellent research profile in cyber security, represented by interdisciplinary research activities led from the university-wider Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS). Responding to the re-recognition, Professor Shujun Li, Professor of Cyber Security and Director of iCSS, said: ‘We are very glad to see the University being re-recognised as an ACE-CSR for another five years. A unique strengthen of our cyber security research is our work being truly interdisciplinary, drawing on the expertise of over 80 academics from computer science and 13 other academic schools covering a wide range of disciplines in engineering, physical sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. In the next five years, we will work to ensure that our research will make real-world impacts to benefit people, organisations and the whole society, including fostering next-generation cyber security researchers with an interdisciplinary mindset.

Professor Shane Weller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation, said: ‘I am delighted that the University continues to be acknowledged as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research by the Government and the EPSRC. The Institute has been building upon its reputation to deliver high-quality research that is impacting very positively on society in a world where the need for cyber security continues to grow. It is very encouraging both for colleagues in the Institute and for the wider University to see the quality of our research in this area being recognised in this way.

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director Cyber Growth of the NCSC, said, ‘I’m delighted that 21 universities have been recognised as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, including four who have received the award for the first time. These recognitions are testament to the dedication of academics, support staff and senior management who have ensured that cyber security remains high on the university’s agenda. And they demonstrate that the UK has a growing number of world-class universities carrying out cutting-edge research into all areas of cyber security. We very much look forward to working with them over the coming years to tackle the most difficult cyber security challenges.

iCSS was established in January 2021 to coordinate all cyber security related activities of the whole University across all disciplines, with a focus on promoting interdisciplinary research activities. It is the successor of the former Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS) and expands KirCCS’s activities from mainly research into other areas including education, innovation, school outreach, public engagement and wider impact.