MIT and the University of Wales partner to develop cyber-security research and education

Posted on 28 March 2011

MIT Professor John Williams; University of Wales Vice Chancellor, Professor Marc Clement; UW Council Chairman, Hugh Thomas

The University of Wales has today signed an agreement with the Geospatial Data Centre (GDC) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Engineering System Division to work together to develop solutions for cyber security research and education.

The agreement is one of the main outcomes of a major summit of leading academics from some of the world's top universities held in the city of Cardiff this week to discuss key issues in the critically important and growing area.

Professors from institutions such as MIT, Harvard University, the University of Oxford, University of Memphis, Boston University and the University of Central Florida met at the National Museum for Wales for the first ever geospatial cyber-physical supply chain summit, hosted by the University of Wales.

They were joined by representatives from the United Nations, US Department of Defense, Northrop Grummann, Microsoft, IBM and Sonalysts.

Professor John Williams, Director of the MIT's Geospatial Data Centre, said: “The summit has been a tremendous success. All the delegates have been delighted by the wonderful welcome we have received in Cardiff and from the Secretary of State for Wales in London.

“Cyber-physical security is now considered the number one threat to national security, being deemed more critical than conventional nuclear attacks. Last year alone, the US logged over 300,000 virus attacks on their networks and noted that organized crime now makes more money from cyber crime than any other activity.

"The conference has concluded that a multidisciplinary team is necessary to address the problems of cyber security and that the UK and the US would need to produce many thousands of experts in this field over the next few years. That’s why the Geospatial Data Centre at MIT and the University of Wales have signed an agreement to jointly develop solutions for cyber security leadership and training, an agreement that will place Wales at the forefront of developments in this area."

Organized by the University of Wales Global Academy and the MIT's Geospatial Data Centre, the summit discussed specific aspects of the cyber-security threat, including environmental security, supply chain management and high performance computing.

Professor Marc Clement, Vice Chancellor of the University of Wales, believes hosting this unique and ground-breaking event is a major coup for Wales.

"The University of Wales is delighted to have hosted this important conference in partnership with our colleagues at MIT,” he said. “Part of the mission of the Global Academy is about bringing the best of the World to Wales, and we have had a wonderful event over the last two days that will make a real difference to the discourse on the growing importance of cyber security in all aspects of our lives.

“We hope to work closely with many of the participating academics to take forward the agenda identified by the summit and to advance relations between MIT and the University of Wales as we now plan to develop a joint training programme for taking forward educational developments in the field of cyber-physical security, an area that the summit agreed was the overriding issue for government, business, and universities".

As well as academic links, the University of Wales was pleased to be able to show the best of Wales to the delegates.

"Nearly all of the visiting academics had never visited Wales before" said Professor Jones-Evans , Director of Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Wales, who organized the visit on behalf of the Global Academy. “By showing them some of the best that Wales has to offer, including The Celtic Manor 2010 Club House, the Wales Millennium Centre and Cardiff Castle, we hope they gained a great impression of Wales and will look forward to future visits as we develop this joint project.”

The two-day summit has been filmed by award-winning director Professor Thomas Levenson from MIT, and the material will be used as part of the global training programme. Video footage and photographs are available on request.


Media inquiries to: Angharad Neagle or Joanne Hunt on 02920 545383 or via e mail and


• The field of cyber security is becoming a major issue for governments and industry around the World. For example, the US Federal Government recently announced plans to spend more than $13 billion a year within the next five years on protecting its systems. In the UK, cyber crime is costing the economy up to £27 billion every year.


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