£13.8M National Centre of Excellence aims to make UK world-leader in Internet of Things

£13.8M National Centre of Excellence aims to make UK world-leader in Internet of Things

As part of a government initiative to become a world leader in tackling cyber threats, the UK today launches a National Centre to provide a step-change in research associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). The £13.8m PETRAS (privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security) National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity will provide national capability enabling the UK to become a world-leader in IoT and associated systems security.

The Centre's research focus will be on the opportunities and threats that arise when Edge computing is deployed more widely in the economy and society: when Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies move from being centralised systems to being run at the periphery of the internet and local IoT networks.

The PETRAS IoT Centre is led by UCL and includes Imperial College London, Lancaster University, University of Oxford, University of Warwick, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, University of Southampton, University of Surrey, University of Bristol, Newcastle University and the University of Nottingham. David De Roure, Professor of e-Research leads the University of Oxford's participation in the consortium. He says, "We're hugely excited to build on the success of PETRAS phase 1, which delivered a tremendous programme of research through close industrial collaboration and cross-disciplinary working. The PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity is a great opportunity for Oxford researchers and their user partners to engage in key challenges in IoT, AI and cyber security".

David is joined by human-computer interaction and privacy researcher Professor Max Van Kleek (Department of Computer Science) as PETRAS co-investigator, further developing a successful partnership which also includes Cyber Security Oxford. Professor Van Kleek says of the launch, "It is both timely and important to see PETRAS continuing work on aspects of privacy, security, and resilience with a focus on computing at the periphery (a.k.a. "the edge"), due to the increased capabilities being embedded within the world - including within smarter infrastructure and transport systems, in the home, and the workplace. Associated with the tremendous challenges with keeping such systems secure and managed, edge computing also has the potential to bring this computation within users' reach and control, as it becomes situated within the physical and social contexts in which they live and work". 

Funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of the Securing Digital Technologies at the Periphery (SDTaP) programme, this second phase of PETRAS will strengthen an already established and successful platform which, since 2016, has coordinated and convened 11 universities and 110 industrial and government User Partners in cross-disciplinary collaboration. PETRAS has created a dynamic shared research agenda that addresses social and physical science challenges in equal measure and has worked across a broad range of Technology Readiness Levels.

Professor Lynn Gladden, Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), called the work of the new Centre "vital for the evolution of the interconnected technologies that will permeate our society in the coming years". She continued, "We have to build trust and confidence in the security of these systems for them to work effectively and safely. The strength and variety of industry and academic partners involved is evidence of the strength of the PETRAS team and the importance of research and innovation in this field”.

Professor De Roure also chairs the IET ‘Living in the Internet of Things’ conference taking place in May. He says, "It was a privilege to chair the inaugural conference in 2018, organised in collaboration with PETRAS, and we look forward to this year's conference in London on 1-2 May. Our theme is 'realising the socioeconomic benefits of an interconnected world' - this is the only IoT conference to bring together academia and industry, social and technical, horizontal and vertical".


More information

To get in touch with the PETRAS programme or be added to the mailing list, please contact impact@petrashub.org.

Register for the IET Living in the Internet of Things conference, May 2019


Email: impact@petrashub.org

Twitter: @PETRASiot