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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y036344/1
Title: TROCI: Towards Resilient Operation of Critical Infrastructures - application to water and energy systems
Principal Investigator: Ahmed, Dr H
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Nuclear AMRC
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 March 2024 Ends: 28 February 2027 Value (£): 295,163
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fundamentals of Computing Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Critical infrastructures are necessary for a country to function and upon which daily life depends. Recent geopolitical events have highlighted the importance of protecting these infrastructures from various threats to ensure national security and citizens' wellbeing.

Instrumentation and control (I&C) systems are widely used to collect data through sensors from various nodes, make decisions and ensure smooth operation through remote and/or autonomous control of these infrastructures. The recent adoption of digital I&C makes these infrastructures vulnerable to cyber-physical attacks due to the increased number of attack surfaces.

Cyber security infringements targeting I&C systems are a growing concern worldwide. If unmitigated, the attacks can have dangerous consequences. Traditional I&C systems were designed for a time with centralised data-processing for analytics and control purposes. This approach is no longer fit for purpose owing to the system complexity and the emergence of new threat actors and vectors.

To fill this void, we envision to develop a comprehensive hybrid hardware-software security and privacy solution for the critical infrastructure resilience enhancement. Realisation of this vision will require system-level thinking, multidisciplinary expertise, and effective industrial end user engagement. By adopting a fundamentally new approach in designing the I&C systems, the proposed solution will be co-designed with emphasis on:

-optimising the hardware-software interaction

-minimising the information flow

-reducing the risk of hardware fault through redundancy and smartification

-lowering the number of intrusion attack surfaces through minimum sensor placement

-safeguarding the data from poisoning through local processing

-enhancing energy-efficiency through innovative software platform design.

The results will be developed with our industrial end users and will be deployed in advanced use cases involving water distribution systems and nuclear power plants.

The scientific and technical breakthroughs sought through this project will open new research opportunities in critical infrastructure resilience enhancement, promote objective benchmarking, develop skilled manpower and accelerate industry adoption.

Key Findings
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk