Home to the nation’s fastest-growing cyber ecosystem, a Top 20 European Digital City, and now a base for GCHQ, Greater Manchester is at the forefront of cybersecurity and innovation. The region is now building on its heritage in scientific advancements with a new £10m Digital Security Innovation Hub supported by GM LEP.
As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, home to ‘Baby’, the world’s first stored programme computer, and Alan Turing, pioneering computer scientist and war hero – Manchester has a proud history of innovation in science.
From the days of huge computing machines stored at The University of Manchester to the small slimline devices we own today, the city continues to lead the way in cyber and is experiencing a boom in cybersecurity businesses drawn to the region by its cyber expertise and heritage.
With the world becoming increasingly digital, so does the growing threat of cybercriminals and hackers looking to take advantage of weaknesses online. But Manchester is fighting back, and the city is now set to play a major part in the cracking down on cybercrime, with a new base for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) already in the city.
Opened in 2019, the UK government selected Manchester as home to its new GCHQ base, recognising the city’s position as a leading European digital city, with a cluster of technical expertise on hand for innovation and research. GCHQ’s Manchester office will be key to improving cybersecurity and preventing terrorism and is creating hundreds of jobs.
Set to open in early 2021, a new Manchester Digital Security Innovation Hub will be set up within GCHQ to bring together companies, universities and the government, providing collaborative space for the sharing of ideas and best practice, placing the city at the forefront of responding to digital threats.
Drawing on expertise from the four major universities across the region, and a talent pool of over 86,000 people who work in the creative, digital and tech sector, the Digital Security Innovation Hub will work with everyone from small start-ups to large corporations.
The hub is being set up thanks to £5m of funding from GM LEP and Greater Manchester Combined Authority via the Local Growth Fund.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council and GM LEP board member, said:
“This is an exciting project which will help stimulate economic growth and create jobs in this fast-growing sector which is emerging as one of Manchester’s distinctive strengths.”
“Such initiatives are more important than ever as we begin to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and look to the future.
“As the world continues to face cybersecurity challenges, the digital security innovation hub will place Manchester in the forefront of driving creative solutions and responses and help make this a trusted place to do business.”
Greater Manchester continues to build on its reputation as one of the world’s best cities for digital technology and cybersecurity. The new Digital Security Innovation Hub will serve as a leading centre of research and innovation for cybersecurity, taking advantage of the expertise and talent on offer across Greater Manchester.
The hub, alongside major projects like GCHQ’s move to Manchester, are not only important for the national effort to fight cybercriminals, but also attract huge levels of investment from digital companies, creating more than 86,000 jobs and cementing the city as a world-leading cyber super hub.
As second in the world at attracting talent from London (with only New York attracting more), the new Digital Security Innovation Hub will foster the next generation of cyber professionals.
Through the hub, new start-ups will find space to grow, whilst existing cyber businesses will be able to collaborate and access support on the commercialisation of new products and services.
The Manchester Digital Security Innovation Hub joins a city which is also home to the Cyber Resilience Centre, a joint venture between Greater Manchester Police and Manchester Digital, and the Greater Manchester Cyber Foundry, a partnership of four North West universities that helps small to medium sized businesses prepare for the digital future.
Named in the 2020 Tech Nation Report as the fastest-growing major tech cluster in Europe, Manchester’s digital, creative and technology sector contributes around £5 billion to the region’s economy, with around 10,000 businesses including major investors such as Amazon, BAE Systems, and booking.com.