German-Israeli accelerator speeds up cybersecurity innovation and collaboration

A new initiative to accelerate cybersecurity innovation and collaboration between Germany and Israel has been launched in Jerusalem.

The Hessian Israeli Partnership Accelerator for Cybersecurity (HIPA) brings together top talents in cybersecurity from Israel and Germany to jointly work on cybersecurity projects in areas such as network technologies, internet infrastructure and software security. The overarching goal is to trigger the creation of innovation and businesses in cybersecurity in Israel and Germany.

HIPA connects the participants with entrepreneurs, researchers, mentors, customers and influencers, and the in-depth technical and business training provided is expected to give the start-ups emerging from HIPA exceptionally high chances of succeeding in the market.

The accelerator program began with one week of in-depth entrepreneurship and cybersecurity training in Jerusalem (October 29 to November 5, 2017), which will be followed by two months of targeted research and development activities. The results will be reviewed and finalized in one week of technology training in Darmstadt, Germany, and presented in team pitches at a conference in Berlin, Germany (January 2 to 9, 2018).

HIPA is organized by the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT in Darmstadt, Germany, and the Cyber Security Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's School of Computer Science and Engineering. This partnership connects one of Europe‘s leading cybersecurity research centers with Israel‘s vibrant start-up scene to develop a new generation of cybersecurity researchers and to foster collaboration between Germany and Israel.

Almost half of the researchers at the Hebrew University's School of Computer Science and Engineering are currently involved in various aspects of cybersecurity research. Israeli scientists in general, and researchers from the Hebrew University in particular, have always played a major role in securing the Internet and ensuring its robustness.

Fraunhofer SIT is the leading institute for applied cybersecurity research in Germany and one of the oldest research institutions for IT security in the world. Fraunhofer SIT conducts world-class applied research with the aim of bringing new technology to the market. Together with its partners, the institute works on innovative new methods and procedures, creates prototypes, develops customized IT solutions and tests existing products and systems.

In 2015, the Hebrew University and Fraunhofer SIT initiated the Fraunhofer Project Center for Cybersecurity in Jerusalem (press release). The joint Project Center is part of the Hebrew University's Cybersecurity Innovation Center, a leading institute for applied cybersecurity in Israel.

German and Israeli thought leaders and industry experts attended the launch reception on Thursday, November 2 at the Hebrew University's Edmond J. Safra campus. Participants included Boris Rhein, the Hessian State Minister for Higher Education, Research and the Arts; Yigal Unna, Head of Cybersecurity Technology Unit, Israeli National Cybersecurity Directorate; and Iddo Moed, Cybersecurity Coordinator, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The event was opened by Prof. Danny Dolev, head of Hebrew University's Cybersecurity Innovation Center, and Prof. Michael Waidner, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT. The accelerator programme was presented by Dr. Haya Shulman, Division Director at Fraunhofer SIT and Managing Director of the accelerator.

"Cyber-attacks are a constant threat to state and financial entities, as well as to each and every one of us," said Prof. Danny Dolev, the Berthold Badler Chair in Computer Science and head of the Cyber Security Research Center at the Hebrew University. "As is proven daily, the communications infrastructure of the Internet and the many services that rely on it are most vulnerable to  such attacks. At the Hebrew University we are researching many aspects of cyber protection, including protection of Internet data routing, cloud computing, Bitcoin, the smart grid, and more. Our collaboration with Fraunhofer deepens the research into these issues and will enable researchers from both countries to collaborate on the creation new tools for dealing with cyber-attacks."

"The establishment of a joint project center with Fraunhofer is a vote of confidence in the Hebrew University's scientific excellence and in Israel's position as a global innovator in cybersecurity," added Prof. Yair Weiss, head of the Rachel and Selim Benin School of Computer Science and Engineering at the Hebrew University.