The £6m Greater Manchester Cyber Foundry (GMCF) initiative reached its three-year and 9 months milestone at the end of June 2022, when project delivery was completed. The GMCF was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and was launched in 2018. The University of Salford (UoS) worked alongside three other institutions in the region – MMU, the University of Manchester and Lancaster University – to make Greater Manchester a top global city for its digital innovation through the adoption of cyber security.
By the end of June 2022, the University of Salford contributed to the partnership project by engaging with 55 SMEs in Greater Manchester. Businesses attended business strategy workshops and knowledge sessions to learn about cyber security and the benefits of cyber innovation to drive business growth. Of these, 14 received further technical support from the technical teams at the University of Salford to drive forward their innovative ideas. The support included security audits, source code reviews, web app development, augmented reality and blockchain research and development projects, data analytics and visualisation.
Working with the GM Cyber Foundry team at the University of Salford ultimately enabled companies to introduce 13 new products, systems or processes in their own businesses and bring 10 new products and services to market and improve efficiencies by automating manual processes or upgrading the user experience of their products, whilst securing digital assets and embedding cyber security in the product design.
Lorena Gomez, project manager confirmed: “The partnership between the 3 major NW universities has opened up new opportunities for the University of Salford to continue working with these institutions and GM partners. It has been used as a model of collaboration by their unique offer and has led to the development of new projects, such as the GM AI Foundry.
By working collaboratively with them and SMEs, businesses have been made aware of the importance of cyber security in their day-to-day operations and in their product development. The technical assists have had a real impact on the businesses’ journeys to introduce and advance their ideas into marketable products, whilst enhancing their security. I am very happy to have contributed to the businesses’ innovation and growth and their successes.”
Three Schools at the University of Salford – Science, Engineering & Environment, Business School, and Arts, Media & Creative Technology, provided advisory support in areas of cyber security and cyber awareness, cyber intelligence, digital innovation, and transformation. This added value to the technical assists delivered. The range of initiatives also led to new jobs and student placement opportunities for the UoS students in different disciplines.
Dr Tooska Dargahi, the University of Salford lead on the project said: “Further collaboration is being explored post-GM Cyber Foundry project with various supported SMEs. We have also had some discussions on the extension of the GMCF for another year and involvement in future partnership activities.
The University of Salford demonstrated the quality of their research as a result of SMEs interventions and that the research undertaken by our teams is aligned with real-world problems. Several technical articles and blog posts have also been created by our academics and technical team to contribute to building knowledge amongst businesses and to respond to the challenges they face.”
To find out more about the work of the GM Cyber Foundry please go to: https://gmcyberfoundry.ac.uk/