The federal government is getting ready to hand out $1.91 million and its official badge of approval to a handful of Australian universities who will host the first nationally accredited cyber security education centres.
The program forms a key tranche of the national cyber security strategy’s campaign to build up skills and education in Australia.
Under the scheme, the Department of Education and Training will hand out the “Australian government endorsed title of Academic Centre of Cyber Security Excellence” (ACCSE) to “several” universities who can demonstrate excellence in terms of their coursework, student retention, research outcomes, and industry engagement.
It will provide “recognition to Australian universities that successfully demonstrate high level cyber security education and training competencies, research capability and strong connections to government and the business sector,” according to the program’s guidelines.
The successful unis will also receive a slice of the $1.91 million funding to help pay the start up costs of building a central cyber education and research hub within their institution.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s assistant secretary for cyber policy, Sandra Ragg, said ACCSE accreditation will only go to institutions that can maintain high standards of training and research.
“Institutions assessed as Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence will need to meet strict guidelines, and there will be a competitive process to determine accreditation," she said blog post.
“To apply for the program, universities must provide a detailed plan outlining how they will develop and deliver a sustainable set of teaching, training and research initiatives."
Applications are currently open.
Universities will be assessed on their ability to:
- Retain undergraduate and postgraduate students with study pathway options
- Deliver workplace training and business mentoring opportunities
- Maintain a strong completion record and employment outcomes
- Make cyber security units available to a broad range of students from non-IT disciplines
- Foster participation by underrepresented groups such as female and indigenous students
- Produce graduates with the attributes sought by business and government
- Maintain research outcomes that are highly regarded by national assessors
- Maintain strong commercialisation outcomes
- Offer technical and non-technical training programs for executive development, and more.
The government hopes the program will “increase the number of tertiary graduates with the ability to apply their knowledge and skills to the advancement of cyber security capabilities in Australian business and government”.
Accredited universities will be required to report back to the department annually on how they are tracking against the scheme’s intended outcomes, in order to maintain their endorsement.
However the government has also warned that the money dries up as of 2019-20 and centres will need to become “self-sustaining” beyond that point.
Applications close on April 13.