In the hope of improving Australia’s cyber security through education and research, the federal government has announced it will be launching Academic Centers of Cyber Security Excellence.

The AU$4.5 million investment will help address Australia’s shortage of skilled cyber-security professionals. In a joint statement, the Education Minister Simon Birmingham and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan said the centers will produce work-ready graduates to increase Australia’s cyber security workforce and “world-leading” research on cyber security, as well as providing executive education programs for both industry and government.

As there is a growing demand for cyber security professionals, Australia needs to work harder to encourage future employment in the sector. “Australia also needs talented cyber professionals to help protect our national and business interests online and to encourage innovation,” Tehan said.

“The Centers of Excellence extends the government’s work encouraging young people into cyber careers through the Australia Cyber Security Challenge and Women in Cyber networking event.”

Birmingham said the government wants to ensure that the funding for cyber security is being directed as strategically as possible.

“In an important next step we will also appoint a working group to review the courses currently on offer at universities and the eligibility and selection criteria for establishing the Academic Centers of Cyber Security Excellence,” Birmingham added.

“Ultimately, our Academic Centers of Cyber Security Excellence will help ensure our students are ready to enter the workforce, that we can up-skill executives and government professionals, and that our research highlights Australia as a leader in the field.”

As part of the government’s AU$1.1 billion National Science and Innovation Agenda (NSIA), Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull has previously pledged AU$30 million during 2019-2020 that will establish a new industry-led Cyber Security Growth Center.

Earlier this year, Turnbull launched the country’s cyber security strategy, aimed at defending the nation’s cyber networks from organized criminals and state-sponsored attackers.

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