MALVERN-based technology company QinetiQ is the major sponsor of a new exhibition at London’s Science Museum.

The exhibition, Top S*ecret: From ciphers to cyber security, celebrates 100 years of GCHQ, the national security organisation now based at Cheltenham.

QinetiQ and its predecessor organisations have had close connections with GCHQ over the years.

Building on previous work developing email communications, QinetiQ, along with University College London, was in 1978 the first non-US organisation to collaborate with the US Department of Defense designing, developing and building the initial version of the Internet.

This culminated in 1981 with a demonstration of communications via the early internet from Malvern to a ship sailing in the San Francisco bay. This research influenced the design of internet protocols.

The Science Museum exhibition explores communications intelligence and cyber security over the course of 100 years.

Through never-before-seen objects, interactive puzzles and first-person interviews, the exhibition explores the challenges of maintaining digital security in the 21st century and the unique technologies used throughout the history of one of the UK’s intelligence agencies.

James Willis, QinetiQ’s managing director for cyber, information and training, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the Top S*cret exhibition which will inspire the next generations to develop their skills in areas such as cyber security. Ensuring that we are investing in the next generation is important to ensure that we can continue to make advances.”

The exhibition was officially announced by the Queen in March when she posted for the first time on Instagram, having previously sent her first email during a visit to the QinetiQ site in Malvern in March 1976.