GCHQ, the UK’s intelligence and cyber agency, is looking for five ambitious businesses to join its pioneering innovation programme to apply trailblazing technologies to national security challenges.
The GCHQ Innovation Co-Lab, developed in partnership with HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology, based in Media City, Salford, is aimed at UK-based digital companies or a consortium of companies with innovative approaches to technology and analytics, or a vision to reach alternative markets for their products or service.
Businesses can apply to take part in specific challenges as part of the Co-Lab. These include:
- Dealing with uncertainty: Products and services which utilise open-source information to help people make sense of current events and plan for the future; and
- Re-imagining morse code: Technology that will help improve automated translation and transcriptions, supported by advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – re-thinking traditional morse code technology for the future.
Another challenge is a wild card option, where businesses will have the rare opportunity to showcase to GCHQ an innovative and unique approach to technology that helps shape the future for the better.
While applications are open to all, they are particularly welcome from entrepreneurs in the North West, who are from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.
Kate, GCHQ, Head of Research and Engineering in Manchester, said:
“We’re excited to be collaborating with the thriving technology ecosystem in Greater Manchester, connecting diverse entrepreneurs and creative technologists with the mission of GCHQ to bring fresh perspectives to our challenges.”
Mo Isap, CEO of IN4.0 Group, operator of HOST, said:
“As a dedicated innovation partner of GCHQ, we are privileged to continue to support founders with this specialist programme, ensuring innovation is inclusive and accessible for businesses and individuals across the region and the UK.
“The Co-Lab offers emerging technology businesses access to technologists and innovators from GCHQ as well as valuable innovation and business growth support from the HOST community and its industry partners.”
The programme will be delivered in a hybrid style, both in-person and virtually over five months with companies benefitting from collaboration with technologists and innovators from GCHQ and invaluable mentoring from innovation hub HOST and its investor networks.
This follows two previously successful innovation programmes that involved participants such as Bellrock Technology, which was included in the G-Cloud 12 framework as a data analytics supplier for the UK government. As well as Journey Protector, a developer of technology that helps prevent cargo theft and human trafficking in the logistics industry, led by CEO Anne Lawlor, which has secured significant funding since completing the programme.
Cyber security is among the strengths of Greater Manchester’s fast-growing £5bn digital ecosystem, influencing GCHQ’s decision to open a base in Manchester city centre.
The Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy and Economic Vision include plans to build on Greater Manchester’s position as a leading European digital city-region, building assets in cyber security and other sub-sectors of the digital economy.
The deadline for applications is 13 September, with successful applicants being announced by the end of October, and the programme beginning in November. For further information, visit: https://www.hostsalford.com/programmes/the-gchq-innovation-co-lab-2021/
This programme does not offer a specific solution or product validation, or cyber security solution expertise or validation. We encourage applications to the NCSC-led NCSC for Startups for companies looking to gain traction in the cyber security sector or seeking cyber security expertise.