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London cyber innovation centre opens and welcomes CSIT

A new cyber innovation centre, which will be partly delivered by the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen's University Belfast, has been officially opened.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Matt Hancock, oopened the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA). It will be run by Plexal in the East London Innovation Centre, which is located on the fast-growing Here East digital and creative campus developed and owned by Delancey’s DV4 fund.

The centre is being delivered in partnership with Deloitte’s cyber team and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast.

The centre’s opening coincides with specially commissioned research by LORCA that reveals more than half of large businesses have suffered a cyber-security attack in the last 12 months, and almost a quarter of UK businesses (24 per cent) do not think their cyber security solutions are fit for their needs.


As the business threat of cyber crime increases, the new study of 500 UK C-level executives also reveals that more than half (53 per cent) do not have a formalised protocol in place for cyber-attacks.

Most breaches or attacks are via fraudulent emails – such as attempting to coax staff into revealing passwords or financial information or opening dangerous attachments.

Despite this, the majority of businesses (70 per cent) surveyed said they haven’t purchased a cyber security solution from a startup company or SME in the last two years. The reasons why they might not seek external specialist help depend on the size of the company: the largest proportion of SMEs (37 per cent) chose awareness of the solution as the key challenge when implementing a new and innovative solution to cyber threats. This contrasts to larger companies surveyed, where integration concerns were considered the most significant barrier (47 per cent).  

The government-funded centre for cyber security innovation will help position the UK as a global leader in the growing field of cyber security and keep the nation safe from online threats.

LORCA will help some of the UK’s brightest cyber security stars across all stages of growth address business challenges and achieve greater impact with their innovative solutions. It has also announced the ten organisations that will make up its first cohort, including B-Secur which specialises in using biometric heartbeat solutions as a means of authentication, as well as for health and wellbeing purposes.

LORCA has also announced that Lloyds Banking Group will be the first founding partner. As part of their mission to ensure the financial services sector is sufficiently prepared for cybercrime, Lloyds Banking Group will be closely involved in selecting and supporting innovators, over and above Government funding, with a specific focus on cyber security in the financial industry. 

Technical skills

Plexal, which operates London’s largest innovation space and specialises in helping high-tech startups in artificial intelligence, augmented reality and the Internet of Things, will run the £13.5m innovation centre in Plexal City at Here East, on the site of London’s Olympic Park. LORCA will be delivered in partnership with Deloitte’s cyber team and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast in a cross-disciplinary team with strategic, entrepreneurial, engineering and cyber security technical skills. 

Lydia Ragoonanan, Director of LORCA, said: “The threats posed to businesses by cyber-attacks are continually changing. We’re proud to be working with industry to understand their needs, with investors who can help develop the solutions scale at pace, and with incredible innovators who are helping secure UK’s position as a world leader in cyber security. By bringing all these things together in our new centre we will stay ahead and help British businesses grow and succeed.”

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: "Britain’s future prosperity will be based on its digital technology and no technology can work without cyber security so expanding this sector is critical to our future.

“It’s fantastic to open this new centre where some of our most talented entrepreneurs and innovative companies will develop the cyber security technology of tomorrow. This will boost London's booming tech sector and benefit businesses across the country.

“We are investing £1.9 billion to protect the nation from cyber threats, have introduced new laws to strengthen our defences, and developed a wealth of free help and guidance for businesses available through our National Cyber Security Centre.”

Louise Cushnahan, Innovation Programme Manager at CSIT, said: “CSIT is delighted to be a partner in LORCA. We will replicate our unique innovation model to assist the startup community within the new centre. This will be achieved through our dedicated engineering support and delivery of an academic engagement and thought leadership programme. This is a strategically important initiative and we are excited to start working with the next wave of UK cyber innovators.”

Stephen Wray, Director of Cyber Innovation at Deloitte, said: “We are supporting clients solve cyber challenges in over 150 countries. LORCA will connect innovators with these global market opportunities. We look forward to bringing our domain expertise to help amplify the impact of LORCA Members for the benefit of the UK economy.”


Media inquiries to Emma Gallagher at Queen’s University Communications Office T; +44 (0)28 9097 5821