The UK government has handed the management of its latest security forum to the recently part-privatised security and technology outfit QinetiQ.

The Cyber Security Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), funded through the Department of Trade and Industry, has been set the task of providing a “single national platform for drawing on security expertise from across industry, academia and government,” in the words of the official release.

The DTI has already set up 17 other Knowledge Transfer Networks in technology fields as diverse as grid computing, bio-processing, materials and resource efficiency. Between them they will consume £40 million of tax-payers money over the coming three years.

It is not clear by what criteria the success of the Cyber-Security KTN will be judged, but the government will be interested in its expertise to feed into large-scale and controversial schemes such as identity cards (watered down but still contentious), e-government (judged by critics to have been a resounding failure so far) and border security.

It will also be expected to come up with new thinking to tackle the general malaise around cyber-crime as well as ID management and biometrics, which the government is known to find attractive.

“By providing a focus for collaboration and delivery this Knowledge Transfer Network should establish British industry as the world leader in this area and, ultimately, help in our collective goal of reducing cyber crime and making the digital economy a safer and more attractive proposition for investors," commented Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury.

Funding for the new KTN has been set at £1.8 million for individual projects, and the body will advise on how a further £10 million seeded to the Network Security Innovation Platform - announced last November, - should be spent.

The management committee will be overseen by BT's Robert Ghanea-Hercock, with representatives from Aviva, BP, Visa, British Airways, Cisco, Microsoft, the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence, leading universities, and the DTI being given a chance to have their say.