Cyber Security Ireland Cluster Established

(Published on ecoRIS3 – Interreg Europe, 08/02/2019

IDA Ireland is supporting the establishment of a National Cyber Security Cluster, to connect the cyber ecosystem in Ireland. Based on industry feedback from a cyber security industry forum event held in Cork in 2017, the establishment of a national cyber security cluster was called for by industry, which would address the following objectives:

  1. Skills – Sustainable generation of a critical mass of talented information security professionals 
  2. Innovation – Enhanced information security research and innovation between industry and academia
  3. Promotion – Stronger national industry sector branding
  4. Internationalisation – International & business development supports
  5. Collaboration – Explore opportunities for cross-industry collaboration

Cyber Ireland forms a key part of the ecoRIS3 Action Plan for Ireland and is based on cluster-style initiatives (operating across Europe & internationally). Dr John Hobbs ecoRIS3 project co-ordinator in CIT suggests “examples such as the Latvian High Value Added and Healthy Food Cluster, the Laser and Engineering Technologies Cluster LITEK and the Gaming Cluster in Kainuu from the ecoRIS3 project serve as good practice for the development of Cyber Ireland. Clusters are seen as an important element of the Interreg Europe Policy learning platform and examples such as Cluster Excellence Denmark Lower Austrian Cluster program and TCI Network have proven extremely successful in enhancing innovation, growth and competitiveness of regions, and linking industry and academia that are part of the cluster.” 

Whilst Cyber Ireland has a national remit, it will be hosted in the Cork Institute of Technology which has best practice cluster development expertise and a strong core of in-depth cyber security expertise among its faculty.  

Image: Dr Eoin Byrne with key members of the Faculties of Science and Engineering and Business and Humanities CIT supporting Cyber Ireland.  

Welcoming the initiative Minister Richard Bruton, Dept. of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment whose department holds responsibility for Ireland’s national cyber security strategy said, “Today’s announcement of a National Cyber Security Cluster is a really exciting opportunity. This initiative will greatly advance the sector in Ireland, by facilitating greater collaboration between the companies involved. There are already more than 6,000 people employed in Cyber Security here, but there is considerable potential for further growth, particularly with the potential of areas like cloud computing.” 

Martin Shanahan, CEO IDA Ireland said, “Ireland has become a significant base of international technology and cyber security companies thanks to a growing, well-educated and flexible workforce with a rapidly increasing graduate output. The cyber security industry in Ireland is growing at an unprecedented rate and we believe Ireland is uniquely placed to benefit from increased global investment to position itself as a world class cyber security cluster.” 

Cyber Ireland is also supported by a number of leading cyber security and technology firms in Ireland, including Johnson Controls International, Dell EMC, IBM, McAfee, Trend Micro and McKesson. 

Donal Sullivan, VP & General Manager, Johnson Controls International, sees the importance of Cyber Ireland and the benefits of the cluster, “We are seeing a profound transformation in our digital lives and environment. The security of connected objects and cyber-physical systems, advances brought about by artificial intelligence or data-centric security are three examples of major challenges and opportunities. To ensure the continued growth, sustainability and international competitiveness of cyber security firms in Ireland, there is a need to support industry and address certain challenges. Cyber Ireland provides a unique opportunity to co-ordinate the many organisations involved and position the country as a global leader.” 

Dr Eoin Byrne, Cluster Manager who will lead and manage development of the cluster said, “For Cyber Ireland to be successful, it needs to be industry-driven, supported by third level education and Government. Without the co-operation of these three pillars, the cluster cannot reach its full potential. Industry must be at the core of the cluster, which needs to be championed by passionate and dedicated leaders. Academia is also critical in addressing the skills and training needs of industry. We look forward to engaging with industry and academia across Ireland to develop a programme that is in line with international best practice in cluster development based on key learnings from successful cluster initiatives across Europe.” 

Image: Dónal Travers, Head of the Enterprise Technology Group, IDA Ireland; Dr Eoin Byrne, Cluster Manager, Cyber Ireland and Victoria MacKechnie, Technology Group Manager, IDA Ireland. 

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