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Defence key partner in new CRC

ecu crc opening
Senator Michaelia Cash at the opening of new CRC. Image via @EdithCowan.

Perth is set to become one of the world’s leading centres in the fight against cyber criminals, with a new co-operative research centre (CRC) set to open in Perth.

The federal government announced funding for a $50 million Cyber Security CRC last September and has now confirmed the centre will have its head office at Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) Joondalup Campus in Western Australia.

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The CRC will haves nodes in all mainland states and the ACT, and will look to recruit a significant number of international postdoctoral researchers, as well as PhD students, master's students and Honours students, all of whom will be embedded in industry.

The CRC was officially opened by Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash and Cyber Security CRC chair David Irvine AO at an event at ECU on 5 April 2018.

They were joined by ECU vice-chancellor Professor Steve Chapman CBE, Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor, WA Minister for Innovation and ICT David Kelly, Cisco public sector account manager Adam Georgiu and representatives from the 25 industry, research and government partners.

The CRC will operate for seven years and will leverage a further $89 million from its partners, which include the AFP, ATO, Attorney-General’s Department, ActewAGL, Aarnet, CERT, Cisco, Datacomm, Department of Defence, Data61, Jemena, Penten, Quintessence Labs and Singtel Optus.

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The CRC will focus on three key areas:

  • Ensuring the security of critical infrastructure by developing innovative solutions to predict, prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats from nation states and individuals;
  • Ensuring industry and the community can access online services with confidence. This will grow Australia’s reputation as a safe and trusted place to do business; and
  • Address the skills shortage by training the next generation of cyber security professionals.

Professor Chapman said the establishment of the CRC will look to find solutions to some of the biggest cyber challenges facing Australia.

"We welcome the establishment of the Cyber Security CRC, headquartered at our Joondalup Campus," he said. "ECU is committed to research with impact and one of the biggest challenges facing business and the community is the security of our digital infrastructure. We look forward to working closely with industry to both neutralise cyber threats and to train the next generation of cyber professionals."

Irvine added cyber security is crucial not only for Australia's national security but also businesses and individuals.

“Cyber security is a strategic priority for Australia’s national security, including for its critical infrastructure," he said. "Beyond national security, cyber security also impacts increasingly upon Australian businesses, governments and private individuals. We aim to deliver systems, architecture and software solutions to ensure the security of crucial infrastructure including energy, water, communications and finance based on industry imperatives."

ECU – which is home to the Security Research Institute, which regularly works with Interpol, WA Police and the WA Auditor General's Office  has a strong reputation for cyber security research, with the federal government naming the university as one of just two Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence last year, worth almost $1 million in funding. In December last year, the West Australian government also announced that ECU would co-host the first Innovation Hub, with a focus on cyber security, as part of its $16.7 million New Industries Fund initiative.

Defence key partner in new CRC
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