NCSC seeks cyber security innovators to help secure UK networks

Posted on 15 June, 2021 by Advance 

Pioneering tech startups will have the chance to join the UK’s cyber security experts in their mission to keep the country safe online thanks to a new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) initiative.


The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Nova South, London.
Image by Simone Flamigni / copyright Shutterstock

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – used the Cheltenham Science Festival to formally open applications for NCSC for Startups, where tech companies can apply to help develop products to defend critical areas of our economy and society.

Tech innovators which are accepted onto the programme, from early-stage startups to established scaleups, will develop and pilot technology to protect the country from malicious activity, including phishing and ransomware attacks.

NCSC for Startups is the successor to the NCSC Cyber Accelerator, a programme which helped more than 40 tech companies raise in excess of £100m in external investments.

While the Cyber Accelerator programme involved startups taking part in 10-week programmes at set times during the year, NCSC for Startups will involve the continual onboarding of companies throughout the year as they apply to work on specific projects. This will create the potential for a greater number of collaborations than ever before.

NCSC for Startups is a collaboration between the NCSC and Plexal, the innovation centre. The programme will be supported by, CyNam, which brings Cheltenham’s cyber community together and  Cheltenham-based coworking space Hub8.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, said: “We want to work with the UK’s thriving cyber security industry to explore new ideas that will make the UK the safest place to live and work online.

“NCSC for Startups offers the potential for even greater collaboration than ever before, and I would encourage startups to come forward and help us in our mission.”

Successful applicants will be onboarded throughout the year, where they will work from the NCSC for Startups HQ in Cheltenham as well as remotely. They will also be eligible to apply for funding to help them develop their ideas.

The chosen companies will receive direct support from Plexal’s cyber innovation team and leading experts from the NCSC and GCHQ. Startups will also gain access to wider technical and commercial opportunities with Plexal’s industry partners across the UK’s cyber security ecosystem. Startups will keep all intellectual property and equity created during the programme.

Saj Huq, Director of Innovation at Plexal, said: “Being at the cutting edge of cyber security is critical for solving the constantly evolving challenges and enabling the many technology-driven opportunities that an increasingly interconnected and digital world creates.

“NCSC for Startups is a unique opportunity for innovative startups to explore new concepts and collaborate with the UK government, Plexal and a broad spectrum of industry and academic partners to develop, iterate and pilot solutions that the UK needs the most.”