Tackling global challenges through advanced cyber and digital
Digital technology is accelerating the fourth industrial revolution. It involves generating, organising and handling big data (including Internet of things, blockchain, cloud computing) and using it for automation, insights, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Digital transformation also supports research and innovation in health, social and physical sciences, and engineering. And it increasingly plays a role in the creative sector and in improving our understanding of the environment.
But its disruptive nature can threaten jobs, cybersecurity and privacy. It can even have a subversive impact on culture and democracy. We need to meet these challenges if we want to prosper as a society and an economy.
At the cutting edge of technological revolution
At GW4, we are uniquely placed to take a prime role in advancing cyber and digital transformation, from human behaviour to hardware.
The region is home to key national activity at the cutting edge of this technological revolution, including GCHQ, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and CSConnected – the UK’s Strength in Places funded semi-conductor cluster – the bedrock of digital technology.
The wider compound semiconductor cluster brings together EPSRC-funded academic research centres, a UKRI Catapult, and businesses from the complete technology chain. The cluster generates more than £600 million each year and employs more than 2,000 people.
Our region is home to 25% of national activity in cyber and a cluster of defence and security expertise including the Business Cyber Centre in Corsham to support the SME sector in partnership with the Ministry of Defence and University of Bath.
The GW4 universities also play a key role as anchor organisations with a strong base to increase research and innovation, including our strategic partnership with the Alan Turing Institute and the PETRAS (Privacy, Ethics, Trust, Reliability, Accessibility and Security) Centre for Cybersecurity of the Internet of Things.
As well as technical solutions, we need responses to how humans engage with digital systems, especially in cyber-security. Our ESRC Digital Security by Design Social Science Hub+ (Discribe Hub+) is working in this vital field.
Capacity to address wider global problems
We have capacity to address wider global problems through data, digital and artificial intelligence through four complementary institutes across the GW4 region – the Bath Institute for Digital Security and Behaviour, the Bristol Jean Golding Institute, the Cardiff Digital Transformation Institute, and the Exeter Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.
In our GW4 Isambard supercomputer facility, we are leading in key aspects of high-performance computing for the UK – a vital component for digital science and artificial intelligence. Isambard is one of the world’s most comprehensive and diverse multi architecture comparison systems and one of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.
GW4 is home to multiple UKRI centres for doctoral training in this area, including Environmental Intelligence: Data Science and AI for Sustainable Futures; Accountable, Responsible and Transparent AI; and Interactive Artificial Intelligence.
The National Research Centre on Privacy, Harm Reduction and Adversarial Influence Online – the Strategic Priorities Funded UKRI Centre for Protecting Citizens Online – is based in GW4.
We are also working with SMEs through a world-first partnership model, the Cyber Innovation Hub, bringing together multi-national companies such as CGI, Thales, and Airbus, with the SME community.