L Andy Walker, Lancashire County Council’s Head of Business Growth R Lieutenant General Tom Copinger-Symes CBE, Deputy Commander, UK Strategic Command

Lancashire announces new strategic partnership to maximise County’s ‘once in a generation’ cyber opportunity

Lancashire has announced the formation of a new collaborative initiative, The Lancashire Cyber Partnership (LCP) which will shape, support and promote the County’s world-class cyber strengths and fast-growing cyber ecosystem.

The Partnership’s members: Lancashire County Council (LCC); the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP); the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan); Lancaster University; BAE Systems; and the National Cyber Force (NCF); will also maximise the County’s once in a generation cyber opportunity, and all the benefits a thriving cyber economy will bring to Lancashire.

The LCP was officially launched at the County’s first ever Lancashire Cyber Festival this week. Hosted at the University of Central Lancashire, the event brought together a wide range of participants, including businesses owners, local authority leaders, academics, and representatives from national government. Over two days, delegates took part in discussions and workshops which explored how Lancashire’s ambition to create a high-value, high-skilled, and inclusive cyber economy, could be realised. 

In addition, pupils from Lancashire primary schools took part in specially designed activities, including trying to solve cyber-themed puzzles based on famous fairy tales. Students from local colleges, and Lancaster University and UCLan, were also involved, taking part in a high-tech cyber escape room challenge held in a specially converted shipping container on UCLan’s University Square.

By bringing together both public and private sector partners together, the Lancashire Cyber Partnership’s members have developed a shared vision of Lancashire as a world-leading destination for cyber businesses, investors, careers, training, academia, and innovation.

To help achieve that vision, the LCP will work collaboratively to implement initiatives and strategies which will facilitate and boost cyber-led economic growth across the County’s digital industries, technology supply chains, and broader disciplines.

The LCP’s mission is also to ensure that all of Lancashire enjoys the positive social, cultural and educational benefits set to be generated by a rapid increase in cyber-related jobs, and significant inward investment, over the coming years.

In addition, the LCP will enhance and support the North West Cyber Corridor: a growing cluster of cyber businesses; specialist centres of excellence; governmental agencies; digital innovation hubs; hi-tech co-working spaces; and critical infrastructure providers, which are based across the North West.

Each LCP member (see notes to editors) will bring unique expertise, insights, and resources to support the LCP’s aspirations.

The National Cyber Force, which will be opening its new home in Samlesbury, Lancashire, in 2025 is a partnership between Defence and intelligence. It carries out cyber operations daily to counter and contest those who would do harm to the UK or its allies, to keep the country safe, and to protect and promote the UK’s interests at home and abroad. NCF’s presence will help stimulate growth across Lancashire’s technology, digital and defence sectors.

Lancaster University - a UK top ten university, home to internationally significant research and ‘gold’ standard teaching - recently announced a £19m flagship investment into cyber security and protection science. Lancaster will use its global expertise to drive cyber innovation and R&D across Lancashire, the North West Cyber Corridor, and beyond.

The University of Central Lancashire, which has specialisations in combating international cyber crime, and the industrial application of cyber technologies in sectors such as future flight and space, will also utilise its academic expertise, and R&D resources, to support the LCP’s mission.

Further, both universities also offer a wide range of cyber and cyber-related degrees, and post-graduate courses, which will help ensure Lancashire maintains a strong pipeline of graduate talent to support the growth of its cyber economy. 

BAE Systems, which has around 10,000 workers in Lancashire, and supports thousands more jobs across the local supply chain will bring a world-leading advanced aerospace and defence technology perspective to the LCP.  The company, renowned for its work on the Typhoon, F-35 and Tempest military aircraft programmes also leads digital defence solutions and enterprise cyber security provisions, through its Digital Intelligence business.

With over a decade’s experience of working in partnership with both Lancashire’s private and public sectors, The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will use its convening power to bring the voice of business, and other local partners, to the LCP. This will include sharing views from the LEP’s industry-led Sector Groups, many of which feature SMEs who will directly benefit from growth in the cyber, digital, and technology sectors.

Lancashire County Council, working with partners, will help to ensure  that the sub-regional social and economic priorities of Lancashire’s local authorities, and the communities they represent, inform the work of the LCP, including embedding the inclusive growth principles of the Lancashire 2050 strategy - which is supported by all Lancashire’s 15 county, unitary and district councils - into the LCP’s approach. . 

Commenting on the formation of the Lancashire Cyber Partnership, Andy Walker, Lancashire County Council’s Head of Business Growth, said: “Lancashire has recognised that by combining our commercial, industrial, academic and political strengths, we can become one of the world’s leading destinations for cyber jobs, R&D, and investment.

“The Lancashire Cyber Partnership is a testament to that partnership approach, and we are relishing the opportunities which a thriving and inclusive cyber economy will bring to all of Lancashire’s communities and stakeholders.”  

Air Vice-Marshal Tim Neal-Hopes OBE, Commander of the National Cyber Force, said: “I am immensely proud that the NCF is set to play a pivotal role in the development of Lancashire’s cyber ecosystem, and the far-reaching benefits that the cyber sector will bring to the whole of the County.

“This partnership, and opportunity, will ensure that Lancashire is uniquely placed to further establish its role as a national leader for cyber and security related capabilities, delivering enduring security, resilience, and prosperity for the nation. Working alongside our colleagues in the region, the LCP will further support the development of an integrated and collaborative North West Cyber Corridor, helping us to achieve the objectives outlined in the Government’s National Cyber Strategy.”

Sarah Kemp, Pro-Vice Chancellor at Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University has been at the forefront of cyber and cyber security research and teaching for over a decade. As one of a handful of UK Universities whose education and research is recognised by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), we are excited about the opportunities we can bring to Lancashire and the wider region.

“Our existing partnerships with the National Cyber Security Centre, GCHQ, other government agencies and industry partners, will enable the LCP to bring significant benefits, and prosperity to Lancashire and beyond.”          

Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, said: “I’m delighted that the Lancashire Cyber Partnership chose to use the inaugural Lancashire Cyber Festival, which was hosted at UCLan, to announce its formation.

“Being a member of the LCP will help support UCLan’s commitment to widening participation in cyber, technology, and wider STEM disciplines, through both undergraduate courses and degree apprenticeships. It will also allow us to highlight the many non-technical pathways which we offer, open to students from all backgrounds, which could lead them to a high-value cyber career."

Dave Holmes, BAE Systems FalconWorks® Managing Director, said: “BAE Systems is proud to be at the heart of the county’s advanced manufacturing, digital technology, and defence capability, with thousands of colleagues in the region. We’re proud of the role we play supporting the wider Lancashire economy and community, especially promoting STEM-related careers to Lancashire’s young people. Being part of the Lancashire Cyber Partnership will help us build on that work, and we are looking forward to supporting Lancashire, and all its regional and national partners.”

Debbie Francis OBE, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “The LEP was very closely involved in bringing the NCF to Lancashire, and throughout that process we ensured that the needs and priorities of all of Lancashire’s different business communities, and sectors, were represented.

“Through our industry-led sector groups, our Digital Strategy, and our Innovation Board’s new five year Innovation Plan, the LEP will continue to act as the voice of business as the Lancashire Cyber Partnership moves forward. This is genuinely a once in a lifetime opportunity for the County, and we now need to all work together to maximise the benefits set to be generated for all of Lancashire.”  

Notes to editors

Picture caption: Lieutenant General Tom Copinger-Symes CBE, Deputy Commander, UK Strategic Command, and Andy Walker, Lancashire County Council’s Head of Business Growth, at the launch of the Lancashire Cyber Partnership as part of the first Lancashire Cyber Festival.

For more information on the Lancashire Cyber Partnership, contact Richard Bond at Bond Consulting on 07568 967729, or email  bondconsulting@fastmail.com.

For specific enquires regarding National Cyber Force, contact pressoffice@gchq.gov.uk , copying in Ranald.Dinsdale100@mod.gov.uk

About the Lancashire Cyber Partnership

  • The Lancashire Cyber Partnership (LCP) is a strategic collaboration between Lancashire County Council (LCC), the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Lancaster University, BAE Systems, and the National Cyber Force (NCF).
  • It brings to together expertise, resources, and key influencers, from across both the private and public sectors to ensure Lancashire maximises the opportunities set be offered by cyber as a fast-growing, globally significant, and multi-faceted, domain.
  • The LCP’s vision for Lancashire – and the wider North West Cyber Corridor it anchors – is to be one of the world’s leading destinations for cyber businesses, support agencies, careers, training and research.

About The LCP Members

BAE Systems

  • BAE Systems employs around 10,000 people across Lancashire and supports almost 1,000 further jobs in the local supply chain. Its work on the Typhoon, F35, and Tempest, aircraft programmes aerospace it has developed some of the most advanced aerospace technologies in the world.
  • Through its Digital Intelligence offer, BAE Systems have also developed leading-edge and proprietary digital defence solutions, and enterprise-level cyber security provision.
  • More information at www.baesystems.com

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

  • Established in 2011, The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a strategic collaboration between business, universities, and local councils, which directs economic growth and drives job creation across all of Lancashire.
  • As Lancashire’s voice of business, it has also established six industry-led Sector Groups - made up of business leaders and SMEs - which helps to inform economic strategy, determine commercial priorities, and recommend interventions, to help support growth across the County.
  • More information at www.lancashirelep.co.uk   

Lancashire County Council (LCC)

  • Lancashire County Council is committed to improving the quality of life for everyone in Lancashire, helping to narrow the gaps that exist between different parts of Lancashire’s communities, and improving the quality of life of those who have less advantages, or are in danger of poor outcomes.
  • It will also help to ensure that the social and economic priorities of Lancashire’s local authorities, and the communities they serve, are represented via the Lancashire Cyber Partnership.
  • This will include embedding the inclusive growth principles of the Lancashire 2050 strategy, which is supported by all Lancashire’s 15 county, unitary and district councils, into the LCP’s work. 
  • More information at www.lancashire.gov.uk

Lancaster University

  • Within the discipline of cyber and cyber security, Lancaster is one of the UK’s most accredited and respected higher education institutions with regards to both teaching and research.
  • It is home to the Cyber Security Research Centre, The Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST), and the Data Science Institute. It has further helped to develop the DiSH digital security hub in Manchester, is the lead university for the new North West CyberCom knowledge exchange programme, and is a member of GCHQ’s North West Security & Trust Partnership.
  • It has developed a new Data Cyber Quarter, providing cutting-edge cyber technology facilities for academics and business, and has committed a further £19m investment in Security and Protection Science.
  • One of only 12 Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACEs-CSE) in the UK accredited by National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Lancaster offers an extensive range of graduate and postgraduate cyber courses, including UK’s first NCSC-accredited Cyber Security Executive MBA
  • More information at www.lancaster.ac.uk/cybersecurity

The National Cyber Force (NCF)

  • Established in 2020, the NCF is a partnership between defence and intelligence comprising GCHQ, the Ministry of Defence, MI6, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
  • It carries out cyber operations to counter and contest those who would do harm to the UK or its allies, to keep the country safe, and to protect and promote the UK’s interests at home and abroad.
  • In 2025, the NCF will open its new home in Samlesbury, Lancashire. As well as helping to create jobs across the technology and digital supply chains, the NCF’s presence in Lancashire will also support and enhance other cyber-related investments, R&D assets, and key sub-sectors.
  • This will not only bring benefits to the conurbations and communities adjacent to the NCF such as Preston, South Ribble, Ribble Valley, Blackburn, and Darwen - but far beyond.   
  • More information at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/national-cyber-force.

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

  • UCLan is home to the Security and Forensic Research in Computing Group (SAFeR), one of the UK’s leading cyber-focused research groups, and the Cybercrime Research Unit (UCRU), which specialises in all areas of cybercrime.
  • UCLan also offers degree, degree apprenticeship, and postgraduate cyber security courses, as is leading on a widening participation strategy to ensure all students get the chance to pursue cyber-related learning pathways.
  • In addition, UCLan’s flagship Engineering Innovation Centre, and its Civic Drone Centre, are both supporting the development of leading-edge cyber applications for Industry 4.0, working with sectors such as automotive, future flight, and space.
  • More information at www.uclan.ac.uk