The University of Melbourne and Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University (ECU) have received a $1.9m grant from the Federal Government as part of the Australia-first Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence (ACCSE).
The funding, which the two universities will share over a four-year period, will help them deliver enhanced cybersecurity training and produce highly skilled graduates.
It is expected that there will be a shortfall of more than 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals by 2020 – a challenge that the universities are eager to address.
ECU vice-chancellor, Professor Steve Chapman, said the university is ready to continue to lead in the field of cyber security.
“This announcement further recognises ECU as a leader in cyber security research and teaching nationally,” he said in a statement.
“Since 2001, more than 1,000 cyber security professionals have graduated from ECU’s cyber security program – one of the longest running undergraduate cyber security degree programs in Australia.”
In a statement, Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, said the centres would help meet the unique challenges we face in the digital age by preparing a new generation of graduates to boost the cybersecurity workforce.
“Graduates from the successful centres of excellence will be equipped with the best knowledge to meet the needs of the cyber industry, business, and government,” Minister Birmingham said.
“What's more, the centres will encourage the commercialisation of their cybersecurity research and benefit Australia's small and medium-sized industries.”
The development comes as Australian businesses prepare for a potential repeat of the May 12 WannaCry ransomware attacks, which impacted 230,000 computers in more than 150 countries.
Assistant Cyber Security Minister, Dan Tehan, said that preparing for a potential second wave of ransomware attacks is crucial.
“We may have dodged a bullet this time but rest assured there will be another bullet we'll have to dodge in the future,” he said, adding that cybercriminals attempt to hijack hundreds of computer systems and data every couple of weeks.
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