£20 million cyber security research centre to be built in Wales

Global technology company Thales has joined forces with the Welsh Government to open a £20 million cyber security research centre in Blaenau Gwent.
A key part of the government’s Tech Valleys initiative, the National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) will function as a cutting-edge research and development facility for both small and large businesses.

Gareth Williams, vice president of secure communications and information systems at Thales, said: “We are very pleased to be working  with the Welsh Government, University of South Wales and Blaenau Gwent Council to develop and deliver  the NDEC.

“This will act as a cornerstone of our cyber security capabilities in the UK, providing a test bed for our technology, whilst also providing a catalyst for regeneration in the region.

“This highly technical and accessible facility will be a centre of cyber and digital development and education, and a connection for South Wales to major technology centres across the United Kingdom.”

Supported by the University of South Wales, it’ll also help organisations increase their skills and knowledge to be able to win large regional and national projects.
The university will establish an Advanced Cyber Institute at the Centre, facilitating multi-million-pound research, and operate a digital education centre to help people protect themselves online.
Both the Welsh Government and Thales will invest £10 million into the project. The centre has already begun hiring a small team from the local community.

Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “I am delighted that the Welsh Government is working in partnership with global technology company Thales on a new £20m cyber centre that will be located in Blaenau Gwent and right at the heart of our Tech Valleys project.

“The centre will help ensure that Wales exploits the global opportunities of digital transformation, provide a base for ground breaking research and will equip businesses of all shapes and sizes with the skills and knowledge they need to win a greater share of large regional and national projects.

“I am confident that through our partnership with Thales and the University of South Wales we will work to stimulate and create employment in high value technology businesses – an ambition that is right at the heart of our Tech Valleys project.”

Professor Julie Lydon, vice-chancellor at the University of South Wales, said: “USW is already a recognised expert in cyber security, with our Newport-based National Cyber Security Academy (NCSA) working closely with businesses to give students real-life experience in the sector.

“This expertise in preparing students for a career in industry means we are ideally placed to support the NDEC’s aim of harnessing academic research and graduate education to develop market insight, enhance technological capability, and develop a skilled labour force in Ebbw Vale and the wider South Wales region through its educational outreach, CPD courses, and support for SMEs.

“This project will be a significant step in building the region’s reputation in the ever-expanding global market for cyber graduates and research expertise.”