Media contact

Penelope Bergen
UNSW Canberra Creative Media Unit
0423 800 109

An international workshop next week will encourage Australians to learn from the United States and China regarding radical new measures for cyber security education.

The Acting Director of the Australian Centre for Cyber Security at UNSW Canberra, Professor Greg Austin, says the global education scene has moved quickly.

"China is building a national cyber security college which will train 10,000 students a year in short courses to address its cyber skills deficit of 700,000 people," Professor Austin said. "At the same time, China has seen a marked decline in PhD completions on cyber security in the past five years, as clever people turn away from classic university studies in the field in favour of early entry into the private sector."

Next week's workshop will be the first of three annual conferences focusing on cyber security education being held at UNSW Canberra.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, "Realigning Cyber Security Education" has attracted experts from around the world, including the Director of the United States Army Cyber Institute, Colonel Andrew Hall, Director of the Oxford University Doctoral Training Centre, Professor Andrew Martin, and author Jane Frankland from the United Kingdom.

The conference will host discussions on the challenges faced in cyber security education, including rapidly changing technologies, a worldwide shortage of scholars, and low technology levels in student facilities.

Professor Austin said UNSW Canberra was a world leader in promoting formal education in cyber warfare, with the first Australian degree program on that subject, but he called for national-level strategies for a sovereign cyber security knowledge economy.

He said UNSW Canberra offered one of the best suites of cyber security degrees in the country: "Two of our courses exist nowhere else in Australia, including cyber war and peace studies – a course which has few peers anywhere in the world, but there is still no single researcher in Australia who specifically researches cyber security education full time. This has to change."

UNSW Canberra is also well ahead of the national average for new enrolments in cyber security courses at tertiary level, achieving 100% growth from 2015 to 2016. (The national average in the same period was 55%.)

The discussions on 27 and 28 November include a day of academic workshops, which will be opened by Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan, and a day of policy workshops with keynote speaker Gai Brodtmann, Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security.

Media Contact: Penelope Bergen, UNSW Canberra Creative Media Unit, 0423 800 109.