UofG cybersecurity projects win funding support

University of Glasgow researchers have won a significant share of £3.6m in new funding which aims to tackle cybersecurity at the edge of the internet.
A total of five of the 18 new projects supported by funding from the PETRAS National Centre for Excellence are headed up by researchers from the University’s School of Computing Science and James Watt School of Engineering. Each project will also benefit from the expertise of partners from the public and private sectors.
These new research projects add to the Centre’s portfolio of work and look to answer social and technical cybersecurity challenges of edge devices and systems, whilst considering issues such as privacy, ethics and trust in these technologies.
The five University of Glasgow projects which will receive funding from PETRAS are:

FARM, led by Dr Michele Sevegnani of the School of Computing Science, will addresses challenges in the adoption of agritech by defining a new ‘digital twin’ framework based on models enabling multiscale runtime analysis, dynamic forecasting, and process optimisation. Use cases include an automated turmeric farm and a smart collar system for cow monitoring. FARM’s industrial partners are Quanta Computer Inc. and Afimilk Ltd.
MAISE, led by Dr José Cano Reyes of the School of Computing Science, will investigate the resilience of artificial intelligence and machine learning models on internet-of-things-scale devices. MAISE’s research will be assisted by STMicroelectronics S.r.l. and the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA).
PRISTINE, led by Dr Lei Zhang of the James Watt School of Engineering, will establishing a sustainable data sharing and trading ecosystem for massive, low capability and wireless connected heterogeneous IoT devices in a privacy-preserving and secure manner. Smart contracts will be adopted in distributed ledger technology (DLT, or blockchain) to underpin access, quality control, trustworthy and high throughput transactions between data providers and consumers. Industrial support comes from Toshiba Research Europe, Medicalchain, and Nakamoto and Turing Labs.
P.T.HEAT, led by Dr Mohamed Khamis of the School of Computing Science, aims to prevent the users of thermal imaging cameras from using them maliciously. The team will develop methods to detect user interfaces, such as keyboards and touchscreens, in the feed of thermal cameras and prevent users from viewing heat traces on said interfaces. The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) are partners in the project.
TRuSDEd, led by Prof Dimitrios Pezaros of the School of Computing Science, will address how to enable in-situ and trustworthy cybersecurity provisioning for resource-constrained information and communication technology (ICT) deployments against local and Internet-originated cyberattacks. The project also involves North (Boston Networks), Craft Prospect and Illuminate Technologies.
Professor Dame Muffy Calder, head of the College of Science and Engineering and co-investigator on the FARM project, said: “It’s fantastic that so many of the projects supported by this round of funding from PETRAS are from the University of Glasgow, and that they bring together researchers from many different areas of expertise.
“Cybersecurity is a perpetual challenge as our digital world continues to expand and develop, and each project announced today is setting out to find new solutions to key aspects of that challenge.”
Jeremy Watson, PETRAS Director and Professor of Engineering Systems at UCL STEaPP, said: “IoT, AI and machine learning technologies present society and the UK economy with great opportunities, but to realise their full potential they must be developed and adopted safely and securely.
“I am delighted to announce eighteen new research projects that look to tackle cybersecurity challenges through collaborative research excellence between academia and the public and private sectors.”
PETRAS is part of the Securing Digital Technologies at the Periphery (SDTaP) programme funded by UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund.

First published: 9 June 2021

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