The Centre for Secure Information Technologies

About CSIT

Researchers working at CSIT – the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre for cyber security – are working to protect the privacy of personal and sensitive data.

From bus tickets to banking, most of us rely heavily on the internet. But with 3.8 million cyber-attacks in the UK in 2016, our world-leading researchers are playing a leading role in cracking down on cybercrime for both today and the future. We encourage collaboration among academics, researchers, engineers, industry and government to accelerate the results of cyber and physical security research through to commercial application.

Find out more about CSIT

Principal Investigator

Maire O'Neill

CSIT Principal Investigator

Professor Máire O'Neill

Professor O’Neill was the youngest ever professor to be appointed at Queen’s University at the age of 32 and was also the University’s first female professor in electrical and electronic engineering. She was instrumental in the creation of CSIT at Queen’s which has established strong links with global security organisations. Her research involves designing security solutions for communications applications, including email, cloud and mobile technologies. Professor O'Neill is now Principal Investigator at CSIT - “Here at CSIT, we work closely with experienced engineers who help in the commercialisation of our research through the development of proof-of-concept designs and product prototypes that meet industry requirements. We are one of the only UK university groups specialising in cryptographic algorithms and architectures for system-on-chip and we are now regarded as European leaders in this field.”

Learn more about Prof O'Neill

Our Innovative Research

Pioneering Research

The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) brings together complimentary research clusters to carry out research focused on market informed grand challenge areas.

The four research groups in CSIT are:

•           Secure connected devices;

•           Networked security systems;

•           Industrial control systems; and

•           Security intelligence


The videos below show the cutting-edge research projects that we are working on. 


Sarah McCarthy has proposed the first practical Identity Based Ecryption (IBE) design that is resistant to quantum attacks.

Sarah's research looks at the automotive industry. She aims to make the more secure forms of cryptography sufficiently lightweight and practical for IoT devices.

Learn more about Sarah's research in our video.


Professor Sakir Sezer, Head of the Networking Systems Security Group, explains that despite the evolution of new cyber security technologies, the cyber space is still a place where crime regularly occurs.

Human beings are often the weakest link and unknowingly allow cyber attacks to happen. Sakir's research explores how we can use machine learning intelligent software to look after the end user and how mobile phones can actually assist people in being more secure in the cyber space.

Learn more about how we are tackling cyber crime in the cyber space in our video.

Collaborate with CSIT

CSIT Membership

To develop the next generation of disruptive secure information technologies, it is becoming increasingly essential for companies and universities/research institutes to come together in research collaboration. This relationship is critical in aligning corporate and research roadmaps and in ensuring effective commercialisation and knowledge transfer.

Firm believers in the 'Open Innovation model CSIT recognise the importance of having appropriate partners to help shape and direct our research agenda. It is to this end that a Membership Model has been constructed and that we have both government stakeholders and industry member companies on the CSIT Board. Membership of CSIT is currently available at two levels. You can find a list of our member companies and organisations here:

Find out more about our membership here

Academic Collaboration

CSIT has developed national and international academic partnerships to further bolster the research agenda and is heavily engaged in collaborative research and commercialisation projects.

Research partnerships have been established with Universities and Institutes that have internationally recognised and complementary expertise in Computer Security and Cryptography respectively.

Academic Partners


Centre for Doctoral Training

CSIT's Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) PhD program is for four years and comprises a taught element in the first year involving six modules over two semesters (alternatively students can opt not to do the taught component and do a traditional 3 year PhD).

Students will then embark on their PhD in Cyber Security research project for the reminder of the four year period. At the end of Year 2, or 3, students will be afforded the opportunity to undertake an internship, either in the UK or abroad, with one of CSIT’s many industrial, academic or government partners in order to broaden their wider expertise.

2019 PhD projects

MSc in Applied Cyber Security

The world’s online security depends on you. Step up to the plate with this fascinating Master’s course, taught by experts at one of the world’s leading cyber security hubs.

This innovative programme is at the forefront of technical advances in cutting-edge cyber security topics such as cryptography, computer forensics, malware, networking, software development, as well as investigating the increasingly important legal and ethical issues in cyber security. This is an applied course, which mixes theoretical skills with practical work in the lab to give you hands-on experience. The MSc course has NCSC/GCHQ full certification.

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