Irish software research centre Lero selected for €15m EU cybersecurity project

28 Feb 2019

Dr Liliana Pasquale, Lero researcher at UCD. Image: True Media

Science Foundation Ireland-backed software research centre Lero has been selected to participate in a €15m European Commission cybersecurity project.

Irish software research firm Lero has been officially selected to participate in a €15m European Commission cybersecurity research project. Two researchers from the company, Dr Liliana Pasquale of University College Dublin (UCD) and Prof Bashar Nuseibeh of University of Limerick (UL), will oversee an Irish team for the CyberSec4Europe project, which launched in Brussels today (28 February).

The 42-month project, a Horizon 2020 initiative, will see a number of elite research centres pool their resources and bring together their expertise in an interdisciplinary manner. The collective will then develop a governance model for the future European Cybersecurity Competence network. The project aims to strengthen the cybersecurity competences of member states so that they are better armed to rise to challenges in the future.

The project has identified key demonstration cases in different industrial domains, including finance, healthcare, transportation and smart cities. The project hopes to also develop a cybersecurity skills framework model to be used as a reference by educators, employers and citizens.

“Cybersecurity has become one of the key challenges of our time,” said Nuseibeh. “The EU wishes to ensure that it retains and develops essential capacities to secure its digital economy, infrastructures, society and democracy.”

Pasquale said: “This development will give researchers based in Ireland the chance to be part for the first time in a major international research programme in cybersecurity. It will help to place Ireland as one of the leading EU countries in cybersecurity research.”

She added: “The EU has recognised that cybersecurity research, competences and investments are spread across Europe with too little alignment. There is an urgent need to step up investment in technological advancements that could make the Digital Single Market more cyber-secure and overcome the fragmentation of EU research capacities.”

Lead project co-ordinator Dr Kai Rannenberg of Frankfurt’s Goethe University thanked the European Commission for the opportunity to explore “one of the most exciting initiatives in the area of multidisciplinary, cross-sector cybersecurity research and innovation in Europe”.

Rannenberg added: “We are very excited to be at the forefront of efforts to address the challenges in developing a common European approach to cybersecurity while protecting core European values such as privacy and the rights of smaller market players such as consumers and SMEs.”

Lero hit headlines in January 2019 when a report released by UL estimated that the research centre has made an economic impact equivalent to more than half a billion euro between 2005 and 2018.

The European Commission contract begins with immediate effect and will extend into July 2022.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic