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University secures funding to address stress in cyber security

A team at the University of Wolverhampton is creating innovative new technology to help cyber security professionals reduce stress and improve performance.

 Ellen Kay, and Professor Prashant Pillai
Ellen Kay, and Professor Prashant Pillai

The team went through a rigorous selection process and have been selected for the Cyber Security Academic Start-ups Accelerator Programme aimed at supporting the commercialisation of cyber security research.

The programme is funded by DCMS (the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK and Knowledge Transfer Network.

Led by visiting scholar Ellen Kay and Professor Prashant Pillai of Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute, based at the university, the team has been awarded £31,000 to develop a market proposition and carry out market validation of their technology. The team also consists of Prof Maria Uther, Professor of Psychology and Head of Centre for Psychological Research and Dr Sadiq Ali, Lecturer at the School of Mathematics and Computer Science and Member for WCRI.


The project, ‘CyberMIND: An AI based platform to help Cyber Security professionals manage, predict and reduce stress’, is due to run until the end of July.

Professor Pillai said: “This is an excellent source of funding and it will help us bring our innovative idea to reality. Apart from the monetary support, the accelerator programme is delivering training boot-camps and activities that are helping us build our commercial model. We hope to win funding for Phase 2 which will then help us build and test our MVP. Our aim is to take the product to market.”

Ellen Kay said: “Cyber professionals, like frontline soldiers in a war zone, are protecting our organisations and critical infrastructure. And due to cognitive overload, increasing sophisticated attacks and shortage of skilled staff, mental stress is now at an all-time high. 95 per cent of cyber professionals are working beyond their contracted hours (Nominet Stress Survey 2020). CyberMIND can help with this growing issue in the cyber sector and we are very excited by the level of positive feedback so far.”

Throughout Phase 1 the team have had to present to a panel of industry experts, investors and government representatives to achieve a level of excellence at each stage.

Anyone working in cyber security can take part in the stress survey.

Work is currently underway on the £9 million new Cyber Quarter - Midlands Centre for Cyber Security in Hereford. The trail-blazing project on Skylon Park, Hereford Enterprise Zone, is a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council and part-funded by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

WCRI will deliver a wide range of cybersecurity Continuous Professional Development training designed to help people and businesses understand the best way to defend their products, systems and network.

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