London: Oxford and Bristol are among eight universities recognised as centres of excellence in cyber security research by GCHQ, one of Britain`s three intelligence agencies.
The eight universities conducting world class research in the field of cyber security will be awarded `Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research` status by GCHQ in partnership with the Research Councils` Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Besides Oxford and Bristol, the other universities recognised are Imperial College London; Lancaster University;Queen`s University Belfast; Royal Holloway, University of London;University of Southampton and University College London.
Minister for Cyber Security Francis Maude said: "We want to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business, by?investing in the best expertise to keep pace with technological change.
"That is why promoting academic excellence is at the heart of the Government`s Cyber Security Strategy. These first eight Centres will play a vital role in boosting research, expanding our cyber skills base and fostering innovation in the field."
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "Britain has one of the largest online economies in the world and a growing cyber security sector. Supporting universities to carry out more research and training skilled graduates to work in the cyber-security industry will help build further confidence in doing business online".
The eight Centres of Excellence are expected to benefit the UK by enhancing the UK`s cyber knowledge base through original research; providing top quality graduates in the field of cyber security; supporting GCHQ?s cyber defence mission; and driving up the level of innovation.
The centres will open for business on 1 July 2012 for a period of five years.
During this time GCHQ will encourage further universities to develop their capabilities in order to meet the stringent criteria for recognition.
This will position the UK cyber research community as the pre-eminent environment in which to conduct leading edge research and in turn attract the best academics and research students in the UK and from overseas, a university release said.