Looking back at the Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival, the days all roll into one. I have to look at the photographs to remember what kind of a day it was. On day two I was wearing long pants and so rain must have been threatening, not that Northumbrian Water would have been too worried by that. I do recall that on day one the queues for lunch had been snaking around the exhibition hall and I was determined to get a good start when the time arrived. Men and their stomachs.

Day two was all about ‘Innovation across the NE regional Catapults’ and the cyber security opportunities that exist within and between them. By way of background, the Catapult Network supports businesses in transforming great ideas into valuable products and services. It is a network of world-leading technology and innovation centres established by Innovate UK, that delivers impact across the UK economy, enabling businesses to thrive in global markets. We have four in our region: Digital; Space, Offshore Renewables and Advanced Manufacturing. 

The first two joined us for the day, starting with Ashmita and Lucy giving us an explanation of what they do and the opportunities that exist. This was followed by a talk by Owain and Hannah from SeerBI (we have met them before at one of our Coffee, Cake and Collaboration events) on how space data can be used for widespread applications, for example on monitoring the growth of seagrass as an indicator of water quality.

After lunch (I made it to the queue) we separated into tables to address some questions around cyber security in offshore renewables:

  • What are the key areas of focus for cyber security within this space that are the most important to address?
  • What are the skills needed to address the key innovation challenges in this space? How do we need to develop them?
  • How do we change company culture around cyber security?

In many ways, day two carried on with the themes we raised on day one. What is cyber security, what is different about different industries and what makes a good cyber security person? It became clear, however, that each sector has its nuances and these need to be understood. Thinking about offshore industries made us realise how much the cyber security sector had to learn from them. 

Nothing says resilience like being on metal stilts in the middle of the North Sea, miles away from additional support.