Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced a £500,000 investment in a Global Centre for Cyber Security and Capacity Building that will be based at the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford.

The centre will act as a research hub that aims to help the UK and other nations better understand how to adequately protect themselves from cyber attacks. Hague has previously claimed cyber attacks are one of the biggest threats to the UK.

“The new Global Centre for Cyber Security and Capacity Building in Oxford University's Martin School will coordinate global work on cyber threats and cyber policies which will help protect the UK's security,” said Foreign Secretary William Hague. “We are dedicating £500,000 per year to this centre to be a beacon of expertise and put the UK at the forefront of cyber policy development.”

As well as working with the UK and other governments the centre will also coordinate with private organisations and other international groups. One of those groups is IBM, whose Institute for Advanced Security Europe will be working alongside the new Global Centre in Oxford.

“The Cyber Security Capacity Centre initiative is an exceptionally timely and important contribution to the activities of the global community seeking to secure cyber space,” said Martin Borrett, director of the IBM Institute for Advanced Security Europe. “The IBM Institute for Advanced Security Europe and our international operations look forward to working with Oxford and their partners to ensure a safe and sustainable cyber space for all.”

The development of the new centre is part of the UK's National Cyber Security Strategy, a multi-million pound project aimed at improving the way the UK is able to deal with evolving threats in cyber space.

Francis Maude, minister for cyber security in the Cabinet Office, said this latest initiative will help improve the UK's cyber defences. “‘Capacity' includes having comprehensive national programmes and the policies, cooperation, skills and workforce, technology and expertise to tackle online threats and reduce harm, while ensuring cyber space supports innovation, economic growth and social benefits,” he said.

“The range and depth of capacity required here and in other countries is considerable,” Maude added.

The announcement comes ahead of the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting on 10 and 11 April 2013, being held in London, where further details are expected to be revealed.