Thales cyber expert loving the challenge at University of Surrey

Adrian Waller, a cyber-security expert at Thales, has been working at the cutting edge of our understanding of information security and its future while holding a visiting position at a leading UK university.
Adrian Waller, Research Technology & Innovation
Adrian Waller, Research Technology & Innovation

Adrian Waller has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey since 2014, working within the Department of Computer Science, and the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS) – a UK government recognised Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research. His Visiting Professor appointment has also been extended for another three years.

Professor Waller is an expert in security research and innovation, having published numerous papers and holds several security-related patents.

At Thales, he works as part of the Research Technology & Innovation team while fulfilling his academic commitments. The role of this team is to extend the influence of Thales within the scientific and technical communities, offering a platform for innovation and knowledge sharing, and attracting talented science graduates to build on our acquired expertise.

Adrian said: “It’s been a fascinating and rewarding experience to date. Surrey has been a very stimulating environment academically and I’ve enjoyed being part of two innovative cultures which both strive to better our understanding of information security.

“It’s interesting that in the last three to five years, the buzzword ‘cyber-security’ has entered more into the public consciousness and people are aware that it could impact them in some way. To some, it seems a very ‘new’ subject that has recently emerged.

“I think it’s actually a natural progression of information security development that goes back 20 years or more.

“But I think the digital transformation will have an increased influence on our day-to-day lives as technology advances. Connected vehicles is a massively importance subject and will continue to grow as industry will need to protect and secure cars. We’re seeing the same in the civil aerospace industry and in digital railways – the momentum is growing.

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Professor Waller graduated from the University of Surrey with a BSc in Mathematics, before completing his PhD in London.

Reflecting on his return to the university, he said: “I’ve always enjoyed working with people who live and breathe the technology. My role includes giving lectures and seminars, but we’ve also produced some academic papers, which has been satisfying.

“The students are absolutely immersed in the subject and I think my background has allowed me to share my experience of working both in academic and industry circles. It’s very stimulating to go from a lecture to a common room, still having conversations with people who have a deep understanding of the subject.
“Industry and academia can learn from each other. Ideas come from talking, listening and being prepared to think from a fresh perspective.”

Professor Steve Schneider, head of SCCS, said: “We have worked with Professor Adrian Waller over many years, and have always valued his strong support for SCCS, his active contribution to our research activities, and his participation in projects.
“We highly value the industrial connection with Thales as it provides a test-bed for our research and a source of fresh real-world challenges, and Adrian’s deep understanding of the alignment of our research interests means that both Thales and SCCS gain maximum benefit from his position with us.”