Behind-the-scenes @ Institute for Security Science and Technology

Wednesday 24th April 2013 @ 18:15

Professor Chris Hankin, Chair of Computing Science, Director Institute for Security Science and Technology

The Institute for Security Science & Technology (ISST) was founded in 2008 as one of four Imperial College Global Institutes. It seeks to focus on new science, technology and innovation applied to national security, defence and resilience.

This event is a unique opportunity for Members to visit laboratories which bring together interdisciplinary teams from across the College to respond to challenges in four broad areas: a) Security in cyber space; b) CBRNE [chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive] threat reduction; c) Infrastructure protection; and d) Bio and environmental security.

ISST provides a trusted interface for government and industry sponsors, translating capability requirements into academic research programmes. 

The Institute has a programme of engagement with the public through lectures and other events, and contributes to the national security policy debate through engagement with government officials as well as other UK universities and think tanks.

Behind-the-Scenes @ ISST will comprise three lab visits:

1.  Energy harvesting (Electrical Engineering)

 The Optical & Semiconductor Devices Group have been researching ambient RF energy harvesting based on extracting energy from TV, Wi-Fi and mobile phone transmissions in the atmosphere.  The purpose of the research is to enable the powering of remote devices such as unattended sensors, without the need for regular battery replacement. 

The lab visit will be hosted by Mr Manuel Pinuela, a 3rd year PhD student who has been responsible for much of the hardware design and testing.

The Optical & Semiconductor Devices Group webpage 

2.  Chemical air sensing (Physics)

Senior Teaching Fellow Dr Mark Richards will host a demonstration of research and technology developed for measuring and modelling airborne chemical dispersion.  Mark was co-founder of DUVAS Technologies, an Imperial spin-out company specialising in wireless air sensing networks for real-time pollution mapping.  Mark is also the Departmental Head of Outreach.  Although originating in an urban pollution measuring project, the technology has relevance for security and defence, having capability to detect chemical threats as well as explosive vapours.

DUVAS company website:

3.  Cyber security (ISST)

The UK government announced in 2012 the £650M national cyber security programme.  Part of this funding has been directed at UK universities.  Imperial is one of 11 ‘Centres of Excellence’, recognised in a joint scheme run by GCHQ and EPSRC.  Two Research Institutes have since been established, each funded to the tune of £4M, and both of which include projects submitted by the College.  A significant (almost £1M) project is managed by ISST, and is focused on the application of Game Theory to the defence of computer systems against malicious attackers. 

The research will be described by Dr Andrew Fielder, a junior post-doctoral research associate employed on the project by ISST.

EPSRC press release launching the cyber institute 


Venue: Electrical Engineering Building (reception area), Imperial College London