Australian National University join forces to boost cyber security workforce

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The Department of Defence has announced $12 million in funding for a new purpose-built facility at the Australian National University (ANU) to shore up Australia’s cyber security.

The joint project would be funded from the existing Defence budget.

Once completed, the building will house 70 students, academics and staff from Defence’s cyber agency, the Australian Signals Directorate.

The investment will allow ANU and Defence to collaborate on research in areas including high-performance computing, data analytics and cyber security.

Defence Minister Marise Payne said while the partnership was “unusual”, she hoped it would encourage students to pursue science and technology courses.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for those young Australian men and women who see a future for themselves in the STEM space, in science, in technology, in engineering, in mathematics,” she said.

“Those jobs of the future which will be part of the modern, 21st century economy.”

Highly skilled workforce needed

ANU vice-chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the new facility would be crucial to producing a highly skilled workforce capable of solving future cyber security issues.

“We have one of the best computer science departments in the world, one of the best mathematics departments in the world,” he said.

“They’re coming together in this new area of cyber security that is going to affect everyone, every bank transaction almost anything you can imagine is going to be related to this over the future.

“I think it’s really important that we’re going to be able to work with the Federal Government with our expertise and do something that’s great for the nation.”

Ms Payne also said raising awareness about the community’s role in cyber security was essential to tackling the issue in the future.

“Defence will be very much involved with that along with the attorney-general’s department and other intelligence agencies, to make sure that industry, their staff and the community inform themselves and equip themselves to avoid possible cyber security attacks and threats,” she said.

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