Digital innovation security hub set to boost invention in Manchester

Lancaster and Manchester universities are among the partners in a project slated to support 500 new start-ups when it opens in the summer

Lancaster and Manchester universities are partnering with a consortium of cyber security specialists to establish a new digital innovation security hub (DiSH) in the north-west.

Based in GCHQ’s Manchester HQ, Heron House, and aiming to boost invention and growth in the digital and cyber security sectors, the project is projected to create more than 1,000 jobs and support 500 new start-ups when it opens in the summer.

BarclaysEagle Labs and Plexal are the other partners appointed by Manchester City Council to create the DiSH.

“For Lancaster University, this represents the next step in our pivotal role in collaboration with key regional stakeholders to support the development of the emergent north-west cyber corridor and the creation of a thriving regional cyber research and innovation ecosystem,” said Lancaster University pro-vice-chancellor (research and enterprise), Professor Louise Heathwaite.

“As the only university in the region triple-accredited by the National Cyber Security Centre, the DiSH will further enable Lancaster to more effectively engage across the entire corridor, from GCHQ’s headquarters in Manchester, through Samlesbury, the home of the National Cyber Force, and through to Lancaster and the further north.”

In related news: £1m boost for University of Bristol’s digital innovation hub

The site will include co-working or private office space for businesses and entrepreneurs, offering access to networking, business growth programmes and mentorship from industry experts.

Plans call for more than 1,000 people to be helped with skills development in the first five years, with a focus on deprived local communities to promote social mobility through innovation.

Businesses and entrepreneurs are being invited to register their interest in the dedicated digital security accelerator programme, offering specialised mentorship and professional coaching from scale-up experts in the sector.

“Manchester is Europe’s fastest-growing tech city and is establishing itself as a centre of excellence for digital and cybersecurity,” said Councillor Bev Craig, leader of Manchester City Council.

“The digital innovation security hub should help build on this and create a wide range of new opportunities in the sector for Manchester and Greater Manchester people.”

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