A development project

There is an old joke that goes along the lines that if you are offered a development role it means more work and no more money. I guess it’s like offering a freelancer exposure in exchange for their labours.

I was somewhat dubious therefore, when I was told that the ORCANE project had been earmarked as a development project by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. Would this mean what I expected?

The plan to develop a cyber security innovation centre has been somewhat in limbo. COVID gave it a bit of a hammering as it delayed the new National Cyber Strategy by a year. I had hoped that money would be in the new document to invest in other centres across the country but this wasn’t the case. Whilst it is a good read and an interesting strategy it was short of the funding I had hoped for. 

Even though the announcement was made a month or so ago it wasn’t until last week that we finally got to meet and talk about what being a development project meant. As I suspected it means no more money and more work for me, not that this matters. Working with the NELEP is important for CyberNorth. It is essential that it is positioned well with the relevant local, regional and national government bodies and clearly the LEP is one of them.

Being a development project does mean a significant amount. It means that the LEP believes that it is a project worth developing (the clue is in the name). It is prepared to throw its not inconsiderable weight behind it and offer me support in helping to knock it into shape. 

It does need some rework. The green book outline business case was prepared in time for the end of the 2020/21 fiscal year and another twelve months have gone by. So much policy change has occurred and the funding landscape is different. We have also got Northumbria University interested in being part of the consortium.

I’m looking forward to the NELEP’s help but I’ve told them that I am not starting work on the revision until May, yet that’s only a few weeks away now.

Firstly, I’m going to print it out. Well, it’s a start.

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