More Australian women will get the opportunity to participate in the growing domestic cyber security sector, with the establishment of the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre Scholarship at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.
The means-tested scholarship will be offered for the first time in semester one 2020 and will be available for one year to fund an award of $10,000 for each of the two female recipients this year.
Edith Cowan University (ECU) will also offer the successful applicants a 20 per cent fee reduction for the first year of study.
Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) CEO Rachael Falk said improving gender equity in the cyber security sector is crucial to its growth.
Falk explained, "Currently, we are finding the proportion of women working and learning within cyber security in Australia is low, and this initiative is aiming to bolster those numbers to get more women involved."
It is well-documented that the cyber security sector is facing a massive skills shortage. It is expected that over the next decade, Australia will need more than 60,000 skilled professionals to fill the looming employment gap in the cyber security industry.
"Australia’s external spending on cyber security products and services grew to $3.9 billion in 2018, and the global market is projected to be worth almost US$250 billion by 2026, so there’s a need for more Australians to get involved in this thriving sector, particularly women," said Falk.
ECU is considered one of the world’s leading universities for training and research in cyber security.
ECU vice-chancellor and president, Professor Steve Chapman, said the scholarships are a first for the university’s successful cyber security program.
"We all have an obligation to ensure Australia remains innovative and globally competitive, as a result we need to continue to support our best scientists, researchers and innovators, both female and male," Professor Chapman said.
Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews, a mechanical engineer, welcomed the new partnership as part of a broader push for the research sector to get more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"This issue is particularly close to my heart and something I’m very passionate about supporting. The government is committed to ensuring that there’s a greater representation of women across STEM, including within the cyber security sector," said Minister Andrews.