Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, partnering with Roll-Royce to address cyber threats, joining Purdue University and Carnegie Mellon in the US; the research network to address cybersecurity across civil aerospace

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February 15, 2022 (press release) –

Rolls-Royce has today announced that they are partnering with Queen’s University in Belfast to address cyber threats.

The Rolls-Royce Cyber Technology Research Network launched in 2020 with the goal of building a collaboration with leading cyber security research universities to help address the growing cyber threats to the systems we produce connect, power and protect society. Queen’s University in Belfast will join two US universities in the network: Purdue University in Indiana and Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.

Bringing a UK facility into the network allows Rolls-Royce to extend the innovative developments already being explored in cyber technology research to an international scale and help to inform cyber security thinking for next generation programmes such as Tempest.

Phil Townley, Director Future Programmes, Rolls-Royce Defence said: “Across Rolls-Royce we are committed to staying ahead of emerging threats and our customers rely on us to defend them against those threats and remain cyber-resilient. To achieve this, we must remain vigilant and agile as we evolve our security systems. This research network will help to keep Rolls-Royce at the cutting-edge of product cybersecurity.

We have already seen proven benefits from the organisations we have collaborated with in the US, and I am looking forward to extending this network within the UK and utilising the expertise that Queen’s University will offer us.”

Professor Máire O’Neill, Director at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) based at Queen’s University, added: “We are delighted to join this prestigious network of cybersecurity scientists working to strengthen Rolls-Royce response to emerging and sophisticated cyber threats. CSIT brings a wealth of expertise to the group which will complement the research projects already underway at Carnegie Mellon University and Purdue University.”

The technology research network is expected to conduct two to three Rolls-Royce funded projects with each school per year.  All three schools have research projects underway with nearly half starting at the beginning of this year. In total, there are currently over ten separate projects that cover four broad topic areas.

The network will not only benefit Rolls-Royce’s Defence business but will also address the cybersecurity challenges across wider business areas including Civil Aerospace.

Alan Newby, Director Aerospace Technology & Future Programmes for Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace business said: “Customers trust Rolls-Royce to design, produce, and service secure products; both today and in the future as global systems continue to become digitally connected and interdependent. The research we are pursuing as part of this network is group wide and will be applicable and provide cross over benefits to all Rolls-Royce businesses from the newly created Electrical and SMR organisations to Civil Aerospace and Power Systems.”

About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

  1. Rolls-Royce pioneers the power that matters to connect, power and protect society. We have pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in our operations by 2030 [excluding product testing] and joined the UN Race to Zero campaign in 2020, affirming our ambition to play a fundamental role in enabling the sectors in which we operate achieve net zero carbon by 2050.
  2. Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces and navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers.
  3. Annual underlying revenue was £11.76 billion in 2020 and we invested £1.25 billion on research and development. We also support a global network of 28 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls-Royce engineers at the forefront of scientific research.

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