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A £9m Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security building has been officially handed over by contractor, Speller Metcalfe, outside Hereford. The new centre officially opens in spring 2021 on Skylon Park, Hereford Enterprise Zone. It’s a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council and part-funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Prof Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We’ve seen from the success of our recent Cyber Fringe Festival that there’s an ever growing appetite to ensure that cyber research and skills is a priority for businesses across the globe.
“The university will provide significant resources for research and development through our Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute (WCRI) which is developing and leading an International Cyber Knowledge Hub to tackle threats in cyberspace.
“Focus will be on providing expertise in relation to security for critical national infrastructure – particularly in terms of healthcare, transport and our physical environment including power grids, water networks and the nuclear industry.
“The shared facilities will also allow private sector businesses to benefit from the university’s networks and expertise as well as make use of the centre’s specialist training rooms and laboratory spaces.”
The place will offer product testing and certification, training, and research and development; will be home to 16 cyber SMEs; and host CPD and short courses and cyber conferences like last month’s Cyber Fringe Festival. A Cyber Quarter at Skylon Park is already home to defence and security sector businesses.
Despite work being temporarily halted on the site due to pandemic lockdown in March, Speller Metcalfe carried out a phased return with a reduced workforce, in line with revised protocols and protective measures. The new building, designed by Birmingham-based Associated Architects, has generated 80pc spend locally within 30 miles of the project which includes sub-contractors Folbig Fabrications, Hereford Asbestos Services, Herefordshire Council Building Control and Quickskip, based close to the site at Rotherwas.
Pictured left to right are Andrew Manning Cox, Enterprise Zone Chairman, Adrian Speller, Technical Director Speller Metcalfe, Prof Prashant Pillai, Interim Head of the School of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Wolverhampton, Professor Amar Aggoun, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Wolverhampton, Councillor David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council and Mandy Thorn, Chair of the Marches LEP.