DCMS funding welcomed for UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3)
03:30 Tuesday, 13 July 2021
UK Cyber Security Council
Across the UK, there are 20 cyber clusters under the umbrella organisation that is the UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration, or UKC3, whose launch was announced in June 2021. They’re off to a great start, but to make a difference they need to ramp the number of clusters up significantly, and quickly, in order to gain a critical mass of members and maximise the benefit provided by UKC3. There is also the potential to extend the geographic coverage of the current set of clusters: it has something of a lean to the west right now, with no fewer than nine of the current clusters focused on Wales, one in the Bristol area and one in Cheltenham (the latter two being very much on the left-hand side of a map of England).
The announcement by the DCMS that it is investing £700k in the UK’s network of Cyber Clusters is an encouraging one, then – because we in the industry should soundly applaud anything that makes it possible for those of us in the cyber security industry both to spread the word to those outside the industry and collaborate with those in it. This funding provides a fantastic opportunity to grow the number of clusters around the UK, address the geographic coverage gaps just mentioned and to foster collaboration both locally within clusters and nationally via inter-cluster collaboration. The existing clusters are already on this mission: CyberNorth, the cluster for the North East of England aims to “Make a lot of noise to raise awareness and build belief”, for example; while Wales’s education and training cluster is looking to “bring together businesses, schools, colleges, academia and the public sector”.
£700k sounds like a lot of cash but, in reality, such sums seldom go far, so UKC3 will need to be creative and inventive about how to make the most of it to fund as wide a variety of activity as possible. That work starts with the fundamental – and essential – activity of growing a national network of Cyber Clusters but then by being as inventive as it can with events, communication and innovative mechanisms for collaboration with parties both inside and outside the cyber industry.