UNSW is pleased to announce that Professor Debi Ashenden has been appointed as the new Director of the UNSW Institute for Cyber Security (IFCYBER).

Professor Ashenden previously held the Defence, Science and Technology Group-University of Adelaide Joint Chair in Cyber Security.  She is also a visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London and completed her PhD at University College London.

Professor Ashenden has worked extensively within the cyber security industry and UK Government, including a significant tenure at Cranfield University at the UK Defence Academy.

UNSW Canberra Rector and Dean Professor Emma Sparks congratulated Professor Ashenden on her appointment and was confident she would bring strong leadership to the IFCYBER team.

“Debi has built a wealth of knowledge and experience from an impressive career in cyber security,” Professor Sparks said.

“IFCYBER and the broader university will greatly benefit from her appointment as director, particularly from her expertise in carrying out interdisciplinary research to address real-world cyber security problems.

“Her experience working at the UK Defence Academy and alongside government positions her well to develop and deliver initiatives that strengthen our cyber programs, but also respond to the increasing need within industry and UNSW’s drive to support lifelong learning through professional education and short courses.”

Professor Ashenden said she was excited to take up the role with IFCYBER.

“I am looking forward to joining the academics and staff at IFCYBER and helping to further the world-class research the institute is known for,” Professor Ashenden said.

“The recent launch of the Australian Cyber Security Strategy has demonstrated not only the importance of cyber security for national security but also the complexity of the cyber security ecosystem. 

"As Director of IFCYBER I am very much looking forward to being able to work with my UNSW colleagues to develop innovative solutions to cyber security problems, underpinned by research and pulled through into education for the next generation of cyber security professionals.”

UNSW Engineering Dean Professor Julien Epps also welcomed Professor Ashenden and said he was certain she would carry on the university’s history of excellence in cyber security.

“Our research at UNSW balances the technical, practical and human aspects of cyber security,” Professor Epps said.

“From examining the possibilities and pitfalls of artificial intelligence, to identifying cyber threats and exploring the human influences on cyber security, we’re building cyber capability for the future.”

IFCYBER is an active community with more than 100 members across several UNSW faculties. It is helping to position Australia as a world leader in interdisciplinary cyber security research, education, innovation, and commercialisation. The institute represents the significant commitment and investment UNSW is making to support its Defence and government partners to meet the growing challenge posed by cyber threats.

Its mission is to use interdisciplinary and cross-faculty research and teaching to protect Australia’s sovereign interests and address complex cyber security problems. IFCYBER is achieving this goal by attracting leading researchers and educators to grow the largest academic cyber security workforce in the Asia Pacific region and educating future cyber security professionals to meet the demand of industry, government and Defence.