€7m Cyber Innovate investment to supercharge Ireland’s cybersecurity sector

A new chapter in Cyber Innovation

Ireland’s cybersecurity landscape is to be dramatically transformed with a €7 million investment into Cyber Innovate, a bold initiative designed to ignite innovation, stimulate job creation, and inspire new startups.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Simon Coveney will launch MTU’s Cyber Innovate on February 23rd at Cork City Gaol, heralding a new chapter in digital defence and innovation.

Funded by Enterprise Ireland Innovators’ Initiative: Pioneering Smart Futures training programme, the €7m initiative is part of the wider €30M funding from Enterprise Ireland in cluster development. It is designed to boost cybersecurity innovation and entrepreneurship in Ireland over the next six years and will spur new company formations and see more job growth in the sector. It will also create a stream of cyber-security innovation graduates to strengthen this industry and make Ireland a global player in cyber-security innovation.

Marina Donohue, Enterprise Ireland’s Head of Research and Innovation and Prof. Maggie Cusack, President at MTU will be speaking at the event. Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Kieran McCarthy will open the event and welcome attendees, and Anton Savage will be the MC.

What is Cyber Innovate?

Cyber Innovate is designed to increase innovation and entrepreneurship in cyber security in Ireland. Each year Cyber Innovate will provide 12-15 participants with the necessary skills to evaluate, select and validate ideas for new products and services which will contribute to the creation of new cybersecurity startups and university spin-outs nationally. The initiative is grounded in industry needs and backed by academic rigour from MTU. Participants will will be supported with a tax-free €38,000 stipend, and graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma in Cyber Security Innovation.   

Cyber Innovate will run over six years and each intake will work intensively over 10 months to identify problems and develop real world cybersecurity solutions. Participants will have the opportunity to work with researchers in MTU and other universities to develop their solutions through the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation funds.  

Not only will innovative services and products be created, each year a new elite group with cyber security innovation expertise will graduate and it is hoped these graduates will create their own startups. The programme features the Cyber Innovate Immersive Environment (CIIE) for hands-on, real-world problem-solving.

Ireland as a cybersecurity leader

The Cyber Innovate approach is similar to Bio Innovate, an existing funded initiative based in University of Galway (UCG). Bio Innovate has contributed to innovation in  Medtech nationally, this sector has seen acquisitions and investments to the value of over €400m in the past decade. Bio Innovate focuses on the medical device and digital health sector while Cyber Innovate focuses on cybersecurity. Both initiatives have a “needs led innovation” approach, focused on all stages of innovation from needs identification to designing and prototyping viable solutions as well as securing funding. The long-term expectation is for dozens of new cyber security companies and 100s of new jobs to be created.

As Chair of Cybersecurity in MTU, Dr Donna O’Shea is a key figure in the Cyber Innovate programme

“The Cyber Innovate initiative isn’t just an investment in MTU becoming a truly great and globally competitive university, it’s an investment in making Ireland a global leader in cyber security innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Dr Donna O’Shea, Chair of Cybersecurity in MTU.

MTU Enterprise & Innovation Manager Josette O’Mullane added: “We are delighted to be working with Enterprise Ireland and our industry partners to deliver this exciting new entrepreneurship training programme. This programme complements our existing suite of enterprise development programmes. Participants will be co located with many other entrepreneurs in the Rubicon Centre here in MTU” said Josette O’Mullane, MTU Enterprise & Innovation manager.

Ireland’s flourishing cybersecurity sector

Cybersecurity in Ireland is already a vast sector and employs over 7,300 people. Figures from Cyber Ireland show there are over 170 cyber security companies and 470 cyber security related companies, generating €2.1bn in cybersecurity-related revenue, and €1.1bn in GVA (gross value added) to the Irish economy. The median salary for a cybersecurity role in Ireland is €75,000. Indigenous Irish cyber security startups have seen over €129 million invested in them in the past five years.

A recent report conducted by Cyber Ireland and Cyber Skills showed there is an opportunity to position Ireland as a global leader in cyber security and to grow the workforce to over 17,000 by 2030. Cyber Innovate will see new technologies created to further this goal. In 2023 alone over $8 billion was invested globally in cybersecurity companies. Ireland is already a global leader in medtech, pharmaceuticals and technology — and now it’s the turn of indigenous cybersecurity companies to go global.

Event details

For further information, please contact Catherine Wilson at catherine.wilson@mtu.ie.

Cyber Innovate is supported under Innovators’ Initiative Programme, and co-funded by the Government of Ireland and European Union through the Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-2027.

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