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Queen’s cyber centre

by Mark Rowe

Queen’s University Belfast has been named as one of the UK’s first Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE) by the National Cyber Security Centre. NCSC, a part of GCHQ, awarded Queen’s silver. That covers cyber security education on campus and promoting cyber skills in its community.

While London and around Malvern and Cheltenham are main places for cyber work and firms, Northern Ireland aims to grow the number of cyber security professionals in the region to 5,000 by 2030. Founded in 2009, the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s was recognised as one of the first Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research by GCHQ in 2011.

The ACE-CSE programme developed by NCSC and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) aims to develop an influential and growing community of cyber security educators, to shape and support cyber security education and to engage with industry, government, educators and students. Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, said: “I am delighted we can now recognise the first tranche of universities as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Education, complementing our existing programmes which recognise high quality cyber security research and degree courses.

“It is a testament to the continual efforts of academics, support staff and senior management that cyber security remains high on their agenda. We very much look forward to working with them over the coming years and strongly encourage other universities to work towards achieving similar recognition in the future.”

Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s said: “I welcome this recognition of Queen’s by the NCSC as one of the first Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Education highlighting our commitment to rolling out cyber security awareness and knowledge across all education pathways, operational areas of the institution and the wider community. I congratulate the ACE-CSE team led by Dr Sandra Scott-Hayward, which has secured this recognition.”

Dr Sandra Scott-Hayward, the University’s ACE-CSE Director, said: “We are delighted to have the ACE-CSE recognition of the strength of cyber security education and promotion of cyber security right across Queen’s. This is being delivered by a diverse team of academics and professional services staff supporting multiple disciplines. We have exciting plans to further develop awareness and knowledge of cyber security within and beyond Queen’s, which we believe is fundamental to addressing the societal challenge of cyber security.”

David Crozier, ACE-CSE Deputy Director, added: “Northern Ireland has an ambitious target of growing the number of cyber security professionals in the region to 5,000 by 2030. This ACE-CSE recognition for Queen’s will help us further build that talent pipeline for this strategically important industry for the region and nation. It also builds on CSIT’s previous successes in being recognised as one of the first ACE-CSRs and having our Master’s degree in applied cyber security also certified by the NCSC.”

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