Skip to content
Shutterstock Royalty-free stock vector ID: 1095727148
Shutterstock Royalty-free stock vector ID: 1095727148

News -

NCC Group sponsors aviation security research project at Cranfield University

We’re proud to be sponsoring a new ‘Secure Access Control in Smart Airports’ PhD project with Cranfield University, focusing on advancing cyber security research in this area across the UK aviation industry.

As digital innovation and automation continues to drive the advancement of the connected airport in order to enhance and improve passenger experience, both physical and cyber security remains a number one priority for airport operators.

Through the development of intelligent algorithms, data analytics and machine learning, the PhD research project will aim to improve the access control security posture of smart airports using advanced detection techniques.

The project will aim to identify new approaches and best practice in developing novel detection solutions that can be adopted by UK airports, including the establishment of an agreed framework for the disclosure of vulnerabilities.

With a dedicated Transport Assurance Practice, we have extensive experience in digital aviation security and, over the years, have developed bespoke tools to test and improve the security of the transport industry, working with many of the world’s largest manufacturers.

As part of the sponsorship, our aviation specialists will provide knowledge, expertise and guidance to including methodologies and techniques for reviewing, modelling, assessing and testing of hardware, networks and system control.

Lawrence Baker, Aerospace Technical Lead, NCC Group comments: “This is one of many academic outreach programmes that NCC Group has championed across the transport sector. Through programmes such as these, we work to understand how technology could be used and abused by adversaries looking to disrupt critical national infrastructure or networks and how we can get ahead of the game by way of defensive measures, and/or provision of guidance to legislation and regulation.

“Collaboration between the cyber security industry and academia is vital to help advance research. We’re extremely proud to be partnering with Cranfield University, and look forward to working with them on this project as we help the aviation sector to identify and manage the cyber risks facing the industry today.”

Dr Saba Al-Rubaye, Senior Lecturer leading the project in the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing at Cranfield University adds: “The combination of our range of specialist research facilities including the Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) and Cranfield Airport with the knowledge and experience of NCC Group’s transport team makes this an exciting project to be part of. We are looking forward to seeing how we can work together to advance aviation cyber security research and make a difference to the future of the industry.”

The research project is part of the Future Aviation Security Solutions (FASS) programme - a joint initiative between the Department for Transport and the Home Office which offers funding to universities through Industrial PhD Partnership (IPP) grants.

For more details, please visit

About Cranfield University

Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university and a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management. With over 50 years’ experience in transport, including the aviation, automotive, motorsport, military and marine sectors, it is one of the few universities in the world to have its own airport offering a unique environment for transformational research. Its education and award-winning research covers all modes of vehicles and transport across technology, engineering and management, including sustainable transport and intelligent mobility. Its world-class facilities include high-performance wind tunnels, an off-road vehicle dynamics facility, a crash impact test centre (one of just two FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) approved test centres in the world) and its accident investigation laboratory, which is dedicated to its work in aviation, marine and rail safety and the only accident investigation laboratory of its type outside the United States. A new £65 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre is being built at Cranfield to spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology. In 2018, Cranfield Airport became the first in the UK to have an operational digital air traffic control centre, replicating what can be seen through the windows of a traditional air traffic control tower via a live feed using HD cameras and sensors.

To find out more, please visit:


Press contacts

NCC Group Press Office

NCC Group Press Office

Press contact All media enquires relating to NCC Group plc +44 7824 412 405

Related stories

NCC Group exists to make the world safer and more secure

In today’s threat landscape understanding the risks organisations and customers are exposed to is more important than ever.

Understanding the impact and how to be more resilient is key to protecting brand, reputation and sensitive customer information. Building a cyber-resilient organization can be a complex process but it’s not impossible.

With our knowledge, experience and global footprint, we help assess, develop and manage cyber resilience posture.

NCC Group Newsroom
XYZ Building, 2 Hardman Boulevard, Spinningfield
M3 3AQ Manchester
United Kingdom