Abertay University is to lead a new £11.7 million project to create a cyber security research and development centre as part of the Tay Cities Deal.

Based on the Abertay campus in Dundee and run with core partners the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, the city's new 'cyberQuarter' will be a cluster of academic and industry activity.

It will offer expertise in applied research and access to a range of public sector support for local businesses and public bodies.

Abertay was the first university in the world to offer degrees in ethical hacking, where students are trained in offensive cyber security and taught to think like hackers.

The project will tap into this sector-leading expertise while linking up with the digital industries ecosystem of Dundee and offering wider business-focused engagement through key partners.

The signing of the Tay Cities Deal this week saw the Scottish Government commit £6 million to the cyberQuarter project, with the UK Government investing £5.7 million.

Businesses in the new centre will benefit from bespoke support and advice from Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise.

Abertay University principal, Professor Nigel Seaton, said the Tay Cities Deal investment has the potential to ignite a major new industry for the area, following the hugely successful growth of the video games cluster.

"Cyber security is a sector rapidly expanding across the UK and every year there is high demand for the skilled ethical hacking graduates to graduate from Abertay," he added.

"The Tay Cities Deal announcement is a vitally important step in the growth of this emerging industry and will add yet another area of strength to Dundee's digital economy."

Mandy Haeburn-Little, chief executive officer of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, said: "Today is a milestone day for Scotland.

"I am delighted that our partnership vision with Abertay University has been recognised through this very significant investment which will be of benefit to every citizen in Scotland and of course to a much wider international audience also."

Part of a regional strategy to build high quality jobs for the future, the cyberQuarter sits alongside a project led by the University of Dundee to establish the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science.

Together, these projects provide a nucleus for a cluster of expertise in cyber security and digital forensics which has the potential to accelerate company growth.

Both universities and their partners are committed to fit with the Scottish and UK Governments’ wider ambitions, strategies and action plans on cyber-resilience and cybercrime.