The Cyber-SHIP Lab was awarded funding by Research England (part of UK Research and Innovation) in November 2019, and will bring together a host of connected maritime systems currently found on an actual ship’s bridge.
Once the build phase of the project is complete, it will complement the University’s world-leading maritime facilities, and enable researchers to improve global shipping security while providing training for those working in the sector.
A key element of the project is its extensive collaboration with industry, and there are 18 commercial partners working alongside the University to bring it to fruition.
They include ship operators as well as companies involved in the supply of hardware and software, the construction of ship’s bridges and the training and management of personnel who work in the commercial shipping industry all over the world.
Professor Kevin Jones, executive dean for Science and engineering and principal investigator for the project, said: “This project has the potential to be a real game changer for the shipping industry. Cyber-attacks are a Tier1 National UK threat and the need to protect our maritime operations has never been more crucial, or more challenging.
“As such, the industry involvement in this project is vital, as it is only by working with those in the sector that we can develop the solutions that can be applied in the real world.”
The Cyber-SHIP Lab has been funded for three years with a view to it becoming self-sustaining, and will address a number of complex and interlinked issues affecting the maritime industry. It will take into account both technological and human behavioural aspects in order to effectively mitigate threats, especially considering the huge variation in vessel types.
It will take into account both technological and human behavioural aspects in order to effectively mitigate threats, especially considering the huge variation in vessel types, which can be subjected to cyber-attacks in differing ways for differing motivations.
The University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Information Risk Management in late 2017, and that partnership will continue through the Cyber-SHIP Lab project. Charles White, CEO of Information Risk Management, said: “IRM’s established research and innovation relationship with the University of Plymouth enabled us to offer a letter of support for the Cyber-SHIP Lab. As a global engineering R&D company, Altran recognises that cyber security is now at the core of safety criticality for maritime companies. We look forward to working further with the University of Plymouth to explore best how these fantastic facilities can be used to further advance the industry whilst protecting critical national infrastructure.”