"Engineering innovation is vital to the development and success of many sectors in the UK, including the intelligence, security and defence communities."
Four very different pieces of UK technology and research “vital to the development and success of the intelligence, security and defence communities” have been developed that could provide answers to some of today's biggest security-related issues.
- calculus of privacy, the study of real-life user behaviour (Dr David Haynes, City, University of London)
- environmentally-stable rechargeable batteries for wearable electronics (Dr James Robinson, UCL)
- quantum and optical sensors, designed for airport security (Dr Jonathan Silver, National Physical Laboratory & City, University of London)
- stored energy detection, for use in security screening more powerful than current x-ray images (Dr Fabio Alessio Vittoria, UCL).
The four developments have been brought to wider attention after their developers became the first-ever holders of UK Intelligence Community (IC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. Offered by the Government Office for Science, the initiative has been created to provide a link between academia and the intelligence community.
The calculus of privacy examines the interactions and risks people take when online; the rechargeable batteries addresses issues related to durability, longevity and safety of the portable power sources; Dr Silvers’ work with sensors has created hyper-accurate chip-sized sensors that can be used for trace gas sensing; and Dr Vittoria’s energy detection technology brings together two types of x-ray collection that gives more detailed information than existing x-ray equipment.
The fellowships have been created to enable cutting-edge developments in topics relevant to the intelligence community, while providing mentoring to a new generation of engineers that it’s hoped will improve the state of the UK’s security protocols. Providing the resources to help further the successful applicants work, the award provides funding for at least two years, allied with mentorship from a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and an advisor from the intelligence community.
Commenting on the fellowships, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s president, Professor Dame Ann Dowling, said: “Engineering innovation is vital to the development and success of many sectors in the UK, including the intelligence, security and defence communities.
“These four awardees reflect the very best of what the UK’s excellent researchers have to offer and recognise the crucial role engineering plays in shaping the UK’s security future.”
The fellowship’s 2018 scheme is due to begin this month, according to the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Programme website.
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