Keeping Australia cyber-safe: what unis want

The feds asked for advice for the 2020 Cyber Security strategy – the HE community obliged 

Submissions from academics, universities, plus HE lobbies and industry-groups addressed all sorts of issues in the brief, from creating a skills base to the importance of community consultation. The comprehensive responses should shut-up suggestions from government agencies that universities are not across dimensions of the cyber-security challenge (September 10).  Among all the detail, themes emerge;

Government should help HE: “Universities are an attractive target given their research across a range of fields and the intellectual property this research is likely to generate. … More focus is required on assisting Australia’s higher-education institutions to ensure they have the necessary cybersecurity controls and practices in place to protect against cyber-attacks,” UWA submits

More research is needed: Swinburne U calls for government to “support cyber awareness and education but also support fundamental research by Australian researchers on the system approaches to protect both hardware and software from malicious cyber-attacks.”

More, more research: QUT calls for cyber security, “centres of excellence”

Plus, more money for courses: Australian Catholic U proposes national standards for cyber-security qualifications and funding for “additional places for cyber-security related qualifications at various levels, from micro-credentials through to research degrees.”

And a curriculum: Uni Queensland suggests a cyber skills curriculum from k to post-compulsory and offers to, “to contribute to the development of draft curricula with other stakeholders in the skills pipeline” But who will teach it? “It would be ideal if the government introduced grants or schemes which would enable the university sector to match the remuneration of cyber security lecturers to close-to-market rate,” Uni Queensland suggests.

UNSW can help: “Strategic investment in cyber security education is the only way to address workplace skills shortages … universities such as UNSW are well-placed to deliver cutting-edge courses that create world-class professionals.”

So can the Cyber Security CRC: “Government has a continuing role in supporting industry-led research and development so that Australia can continue to play a significant role in innovation and collaboration in cyber security. The Cooperative Research Centre programme is a tried and tested mechanism for facilitating research collaboration. The programme has been repeatedly reviewed and each time it has proven that it provides the Australian taxpayer value for money and significantly adds to Australian innovation.”


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