Cybersecurity continues to be a growing priority for businesses all over the world, and an academic from Edge Hill University will be conducting research into the use of novel technologies such as ‘Block Chain’ to address the security threats particularly in smart devices.

Dr Chitra Balakrishna, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for BSc (Hons) Computing (Network Security & Forensics), has been awarded a grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to work with the University of Bahrain on a year-long research project.

This relationship will create a synergy between the two institutions’ academic and research activities around cybersecurity, which will lead to them offering world-class training and joint MSc and PhD supervisions resulting in high-quality joint-publications.

The collaboration came about when Chitra delivered a keynote speech about her research at a UK-Gulf cybersecurity workshop last November, and an academic from the University of Bahrain approached her and suggested a partnership.

As well as building a network of experts in cybersecurity between the UK and Bahrain, and updating and exchanging information on future developments, this collaboration will also benefit staff and students.

“I’m looking to recruit third year students to investigate cybersecurity in healthcare, and not only will it help the research project, it will also help develop students’ skills and boost their employability,” said Chitra.

“This project is so important as when a business is experiencing cybersecurity issues, they come to a complete standstill. With new threats appearing constantly and attackers continuously evolving their techniques, more research needs to be done to generate advances that can help keep up with the growing cyber risks.”

Dr Chitra Balakrishna leads the Networking, Security and Forensic Pathway at Edge Hill and in 2015, she secured HEA funding for gamification of cybersecurity education.

She has also successfully designed and managed a Master’s programme on Mobile Telecommunications Management, and has been part of two European and ERDF funded research projects.